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Ian

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Should I apply for McKinsey's Generalist Associate or a Specialist Fellow role?

Hi everyone, thanks for all your hard work to make this community great.

I am an advanced degree candidate who has been prepping for generalist consultant roles at MBB. A few days ago, McKinsey posted a specialist fellowship role in my exact field of study. My interest is to eventually specialize in the practice area where the fellowship is located. However, I know I can't apply to two roles at McKinsey at once and I was already gearing up to apply to the associate role that's due in two days.

My question is, which role of the generalist associate or specialist fellowship do you think I should apply for?

Here's some relevant background info, organized in the form of pros and cons for the associate role:

Pros for Associate

- I have a referral from a Senior Partner and was invited to a selective McKinsey info session for the associate position, thus I feel there's a good chance I will get an interview

- I've been practicing cases and fit questions extensively and have received feedback from people who have already got offers. Some current McKinsey associates have also offered to help me prep, so I'll at least be well prepared for the associate interview (but could still fail that stage, of course)

- the fellowship will be open for a few more weeks, so I may still be able to apply for the fellowship if I don't make it past round one of associate interviews. This is a risky decision, but I could also drop out of consideration for the associate role if I really wanted to switch my application later on - this seems like a bad look

- the associate role has a faster promotion path, likely much higher pay, and is more valued by the firm. I've never been focused on prestige, but I feel that turning down a financially 'better' opportunity wouldn't be good for my goals to support my extended family

- I would be applying for the full-time associate position in 2021, whereas this fellowship is a one-year, part-time role to start now with the intention of converting to a full-time position

Cons for Associate

- multiple people on the specialist team have recommended the fellow role to me and said it is easier to get than the associate role. I might be making things harder for myself for no reason, but I wouldn't want to think I could only succeed on 'easy mode'

- the people I've met on the fellowship team are amazing and I would really look forward to working with them

- there's still a path to client work on the fellowship side

- the role may have a better work-life balance and less travel

- there's less of an up-or-out structure with the fellowship, and people currently working there like the culture of this team more than other teams at mckinsey

- I would start working at the firm earlier in this role

- the limited exit opportunities I've seen from this team interest me, so there's still a chance to move to interesting work if I wanted to leave

I know it's ultimately my decision, but the community here knows more about the inner workings of these companies than I do. I'd love to hear some different perspectives. Thanks for your input!

Hi everyone, thanks for all your hard work to make this community great.

I am an advanced degree candidate who has been prepping for generalist consultant roles at MBB. A few days ago, McKinsey posted a specialist fellowship role in my exact field of study. My interest is to eventually specialize in the practice area where the fellowship is located. However, I know I can't apply to two roles at McKinsey at once and I was already gearing up to apply to the associate role that's due in two days.

My question is, which role of the generalist associate or specialist fellowship do you think I should apply for?

Here's some relevant background info, organized in the form of pros and cons for the associate role:

Pros for Associate

- I have a referral from a Senior Partner and was invited to a selective McKinsey info session for the associate position, thus I feel there's a good chance I will get an interview

- I've been practicing cases and fit questions extensively and have received feedback from people who have already got offers. Some current McKinsey associates have also offered to help me prep, so I'll at least be well prepared for the associate interview (but could still fail that stage, of course)

- the fellowship will be open for a few more weeks, so I may still be able to apply for the fellowship if I don't make it past round one of associate interviews. This is a risky decision, but I could also drop out of consideration for the associate role if I really wanted to switch my application later on - this seems like a bad look

- the associate role has a faster promotion path, likely much higher pay, and is more valued by the firm. I've never been focused on prestige, but I feel that turning down a financially 'better' opportunity wouldn't be good for my goals to support my extended family

- I would be applying for the full-time associate position in 2021, whereas this fellowship is a one-year, part-time role to start now with the intention of converting to a full-time position

Cons for Associate

- multiple people on the specialist team have recommended the fellow role to me and said it is easier to get than the associate role. I might be making things harder for myself for no reason, but I wouldn't want to think I could only succeed on 'easy mode'

- the people I've met on the fellowship team are amazing and I would really look forward to working with them

- there's still a path to client work on the fellowship side

- the role may have a better work-life balance and less travel

- there's less of an up-or-out structure with the fellowship, and people currently working there like the culture of this team more than other teams at mckinsey

- I would start working at the firm earlier in this role

- the limited exit opportunities I've seen from this team interest me, so there's still a chance to move to interesting work if I wanted to leave

I know it's ultimately my decision, but the community here knows more about the inner workings of these companies than I do. I'd love to hear some different perspectives. Thanks for your input!

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Coaching mit Ian vereinbaren

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66 Meetings

3.824 Q&A Upvotes

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You've listed all the pros and cons.

You've thought about this endlessly.

You've pretty much covered it all.

There's only one thing I can add....

Can you please do the following things? One by one. In order. And without reading the next step ahead?

1. Take a coin

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2. Heads means you go for the Generalist Associate role, tails means you go for the Specialist Fellow role.

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3. Heads = Generalist Associate

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4. Tails = Specialist Fellow

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5. Absorb that. Think of what each means. Remember your pros and cons.

Heads = Generalist. Tails = Specialist.

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6. Flip the coin. And look at the side it's on.

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7. That's the role you'll take.

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8. What side did it land on and what was your immediate, visceral, gut reaction?

I it landed on a side where you immediatedly felt good/relieved, take that role.

If it landed on a side where you felt a sinking feeling, take the other role.

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Trust your gut in life. It's your subconscious. And it oftentimes can't get out admist all the noise (and pros/cons lists). This "game" helps you realize what you truly want.

You've listed all the pros and cons.

You've thought about this endlessly.

You've pretty much covered it all.

There's only one thing I can add....

Can you please do the following things? One by one. In order. And without reading the next step ahead?

1. Take a coin

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2. Heads means you go for the Generalist Associate role, tails means you go for the Specialist Fellow role.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3. Heads = Generalist Associate

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

4. Tails = Specialist Fellow

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5. Absorb that. Think of what each means. Remember your pros and cons.

Heads = Generalist. Tails = Specialist.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

6. Flip the coin. And look at the side it's on.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

7. That's the role you'll take.

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8. What side did it land on and what was your immediate, visceral, gut reaction?

I it landed on a side where you immediatedly felt good/relieved, take that role.

If it landed on a side where you felt a sinking feeling, take the other role.

-

-

-

Trust your gut in life. It's your subconscious. And it oftentimes can't get out admist all the noise (and pros/cons lists). This "game" helps you realize what you truly want.

(editiert)

Thank you very much for this, Ian! I heard of this game but didn't apply it to my situation here. It makes sense, of course, to go with which one I want and not which is "right". I appreciate your perspective! — Anonym A am 2. Jul 2020

Happy to be of help :) — Ian am 3. Jul 2020

Coaching mit Clara vereinbaren

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Hello!

Overall, I would say you have higher chances to succeed in your interviews if you are specialized. For starters, there will be less competence than for a generalist role.

Furthermore, all that you have achieved until now in terms of referral, etc. would still apply.

Finally, you cannot open to two roles at once, so I would advise you to talk to HR -particularly if you had started the process already- and see whether they can change the application target. You should also touch base with your referrer.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

Overall, I would say you have higher chances to succeed in your interviews if you are specialized. For starters, there will be less competence than for a generalist role.

Furthermore, all that you have achieved until now in terms of referral, etc. would still apply.

Finally, you cannot open to two roles at once, so I would advise you to talk to HR -particularly if you had started the process already- and see whether they can change the application target. You should also touch base with your referrer.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Thank you very much, Clara! I will check in with them now. — Anonym A am 29. Jun 2020

Coaching mit Andre vereinbaren

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2.922 Q&A Upvotes

219 USD / Coaching

Dear A,

You already know all the pros and cons, so it's your choice. And as Clara said, it mostly matters when you're specialized.

Anyway, wish you goodluck in any choice you take.

Best,

André

Dear A,

You already know all the pros and cons, so it's your choice. And as Clara said, it mostly matters when you're specialized.

Anyway, wish you goodluck in any choice you take.

Best,

André

Thank you very much, Andre! — Anonym A am 10. Jul 2020

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