MBB: Should you apply for an internship only where you 100% hope to work full time, or is it more open to try different locations? Are chances better in different locations?

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Kimberley fragte am 10. Okt. 2022

Firstly, it is really nice to see all of these experts taking time to answer applicant questions, I have found a wealth of information by searching the forum and really appreciate it. 


Now to the Question..

Educational/Firm Context: I am especially interested in McKinsey but would like to learn more about all 3. I would be applying for an internship as a PhD candidate (Associate-intern) if it makes a difference and would like to start as a generalist until I learn more about projects and the industry. My PhD is in Business and Socioeconomic Science from a small university. 

Geographical Context: I study in Austria but am from Canada and am extremely tied to both (partner in one, family the other and friends split between both) so my top choices  for the long-term (roughly in order) would be Vienna, Calgary, Toronto. 

Language: My German is only B1, I have time to improve but am quite doubtful I will be fluent (or professionally acceptable) by the time I defend my dissertation. In my ideal situation I would complete an internship the last summer of my PhD and then take a few months to focus on language classes before working full-time


Question: Should I apply for an internship only where I 100% hope to work full time, or is it more open to try different locations? 

As a short-term internship I would really be happy to go anywhere as getting a good grasp of the work itself and proving myself worthy of a full-time offer would be most important to me. I am just not sure if a full-time offer would be directly tied only to that place or if the office location impacts decisions for a full-time application later on.

sub-question: Are chances of success better for internships in certain places? 

For example, I would ultimately like to work in Vienna at least for part of my career but perhaps by starting my career in Canada I would be more successful with the culture/language of the home office and my application might be stronger where PhDs are not as prevalent.

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Content Creator
antwortete am 11. Okt. 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Kimberley,

So glad to hear we've been helpful!

If your goal is to just get that internship experience on your resume: You can apply to any office

If your goal is to work FT at that firm after the internship (i.e. convert into a full-time offer), you need to apply where you ultimately want to be.

If you're ok being in x country that isn't as ideal, because you think your odds of success are better, ok. But understand that where you intern is going to be where you end up working full-time at least for 1-2 years until you can transfer.

Good luck in your efforts!

P.S. As you get started on the journey, make sure you read the following to make sure you're doing things right!

Case reading: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-to-shift-your-mindset-to-ace-the-case

Fit Reading: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/tell-me-about-yourself-interview-question


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antwortete am 10. Okt. 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

Hi Kimberly,

you raise some valid points. There have been quite a few questions on location transfer in the forum so good thing you are factoring this into your decision-making upfront. Below are some comments based on my own experiences. This may vary depending on company size and management structure of the specific firm but hopefully gives you some directional guidance

  • Consulting firms usually have different management teams with own P&Ls that are in charge of their various regions/geographies - recruiting is typically done at these regional or often even country levels
  • Say you interned in the Toronto office and received a return offer for a full-time position there, it would typically not be that difficult to change your office location to Calgary (assuming these offices are under the purview of the same managment/HR team that gave you the offer)
  • If you interned in Vienna, however, and wanted to change the return offer to Calgary for your full-time start, this is a different story and pretty much a long shot
  • There may be exceptions of course depending on how closely connected individual partners between these offices are, but generally speaking, each region (or office) is responsible for their own recruiting (incl. budget, entry level requirements, desired candidate profiles) so that offers are not just interchangeable
  • An international transfer is much easier once you have been with the firm for a while (e.g. 2 years) and you can position yourself as a consultant with the kind of skill set that is demanded at your desired office location
  • Another factor to consider when thinking about office locations is that there might be different focus areas at play that are prevalent in different offices/regions - some might be selling a lot of due diligence work to PE firms while others could be focused on projects in the financial services or healthcare sectors, etc - so it also depends on what you are interested in

In any case, if you land an internship at MBB and also receive a return offer, you are well positioned for a great career start. Then it really depends on your personal preferences and the stage of your life planning you are in at that point.

I hope this was somewhat helpful

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Content Creator
antwortete am 20. Okt. 2022
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hi there, 

It makes most sense to be applying for the office that you would like to be part of long-term. Usually the full-time offer comes as an extension of the internship and it's done within the office itself. Plus, it's useful to be already developing your network in the firm starting with the office that you'll be part of. 



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Content Creator
antwortete am 11. Okt. 2022
430+ consulting offers | Highest rated coach for sessions | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of "The 1%"

Hi Kimberley,

I would definitely go for the internship interview for three reasons:

1. You get 2 chances at the job

  • If you fail your internship application, you can re-apply after 12-18 months for a full-time position
  • If you fail your full-time application the ban period is longer
  • Whenever you fail an interview, you need to demonstrate significant progress on your resume, which is harder at the end of your studies

2. You see if you actually like the job

  • If you manage to get an internship, you see how you like the job and if this is something you want to do in the future
  • Any internship with a top-tier consultancy improves your value on the job market for other top-tier firms

3. Top-tier firms have great mobility

  • Once hired, you can work wherever you want depending on your performance and networking skills 
  • You can go via engagements, short-term office transfers, or permanent moves

In short, do not wait but apply now!



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Content Creator
antwortete am 10. Okt. 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 300 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

I'd recommend applying for an internship where you want to work full time. One of the benefits of an internship is that it's a stepping stone to getting a full time offer, and you don't want to find yourself either living in a place that you don't want to, or going through the process of trying to transfer the offer to a different office. 

That being said, normally you can list a few different offices and so it's worth listing a few places below your first choice which are a bit less competitive. 

Good luck!

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antwortete am 24. Okt. 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger |Former Head Recruiter | Market Sizing

If you intern in one place, you will be asked to stay there full time for a few years. So you should apply where you expect to work.

Of course, firms allow you to flag multiple offices (in a ranked way), meaning that you can let them know your preferences. They will only assign you for your 2nd option if for some reason they don't see you working in the 1st one.

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antwortete am 10. Okt. 2022
Ex-Manager @Bain | 100+ Interviews | 100% 5-Star Reviews |Case designer | Former univ' recruiting captain

Hi Kimberly,

first of all respect - you already made a quite compelling “life-plan”.

To your questions:

Locations: MBB generally offers you the opportunity to transfer to other offices when being with them for some time (mostly 1-2 years). To experience the culture I would advise you to apply for an office without being 100% sure to take the full-time position (if offered) in this office. Even though the regular offer will be formally tied to a certain office (or DACH space), you will have some negotiation room in case of the offer. Otherwise, you will at least be able to discuss on a flex or permanent transfer with HR right from the start.

Language: Indicate in your application that you would prefer working on an international case / english speaking. some clients in the DACH space still require proficient German skills. 

Application success-rate: as always, very hard to tell and fully made up by supply and demand. At least in the DACH space MBB have significantly increase internship positions in the last years (increasing supply). This depends on the business context.


Hope this helps.

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Content Creator
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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