BCG Consultant | MBA Stern | 100% interview success rate (8/8 incl BCG, A.T. Kearney, Strategy&) |Personalized interview prep
Book a coaching

9yrs of experience hire - atypical journey - Worth trying MBB?

Paul asked on Apr 16, 2019 - 5 answers

Dear all,

I have 9 years of experience, incl. 3 in operations consulting at EY (TMT & Public sectors), 3 in internal audit for EU's largest media group and then 3 in corporate strategy for this same group. I'm currently VP Strategy but have to move to Switzerland due to my wife's landing her dream job. Was thinking of applying to McKinsey, probably pre-EM anyway.

I speak FR, EN, DE. Have not graduated from a top school but attended several INSEAD executive education courses through my company's talent management program.

Is there any chance to swing an interview? I might have a referral (working on that).

Thanks for any thoughts, positive or negative.

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
replied on Apr 17, 2019
BCG Consultant | MBA Stern | 100% interview success rate (8/8 incl BCG, A.T. Kearney, Strategy&) |Personalized interview prep

Hi Paul,

Absolutely you have a shot. Speaking just in regards to my time at BCG, we have a significant number of lateral hires. However, it should be noted that you will likely experience a step "down". For example, a colleague with equivalent work experience (though +2 years work experience compared to my MBA) was hired as a junior consultant while I was hired as a consultant. Similarly, I was hired as a consultant with 4 years work experience and an MBA, while I know people who needed 4 years work experience (no MBA) just to come in as an Associate.

So, you certainly can get into MBB, though I echo the concerns from other commentors around whether it is worth it (a common career path is to go from MBB to the very role you have). If you come in as an expert, you may need to go down a rung.

Hope this helps!

Serhat replied on Apr 20, 2019
BCG | Kellogg MBA | 50% discount | 350+ coachees | 5+ year consulting | 30+ projects in ~10 countries

Considering your experience and potential for a referral, a simple answer to your question would be YES you have a significant chance.

updated his answer on Apr 17, 2019
I will get you an offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire specialist

Hi Paul,

With your background and possible referrals, I think you have a fair shot at MBB despite not having graduated from a top school. Realistically, you will start as a Senior Associate. I know McKinsey is hesitant to make you begin as an EM since there is a steep learning curve associated, which is different from what you will experience in industry (e.g., gettin alignment from all stakeholders in PS sessions, having a week 1 answer, etc.). Having said that, you could get an accelerated bump to EM (6 months-1year) if your first couple of studies go very well.

Based on your comment that you would want to eventually transition into a role that enables you to run your own P&L, an expert track is not the right answer here.

PS - Even if you start as a Senior Associate, you should still be able to negotiate your salary significantly :)

Hope this helps!



Vlad replied on Apr 16, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


I think with your experience you can be considered for a Manager role or an experts role. In the first case, I believe your experience will be more diverse and it will be in line with your overall goal of changing the sector. The second option will give you the brand but less diverse exit opportunities.


Guennael updated his answer on Apr 16, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

I think the first question you need to ask yourself is where you want to go. Is strategy your long term goal, or are you thinking of moving back to Finance or Operations as most Strat guys end up doing ("I want to run a P&L")? And is the MBB brand such a significant appeal that you would be willling to start as a consultant (pre-EM)? As a VP Strat already, this will definitely not be a career accelerator.

Once you decide what you really want, then we can thinik of what companies to join. France puts a premium on the school, Germany puts a premium on the degree... I think Switzerland is somewhere in the middle, but could be wrong. Either way - not having an advanced degree from a brand name will be a negative. Is MBB right then? You may have better odds at a Tier2, unless you are open to join an expert track perhaps.

Based on what little you tell us, my gut feel is you should stay in a big group and hire the MBB folks to work for you instead. :)


Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

0 Comment(s)

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 29.7k times
4.5 5 823
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you a ... Open whole case