Advice on transitioning to another consulting firm after being counselled out of MMB?

consulting MBB performance tier2 transition
New answer on May 15, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 14, 2020

Hi all, would really appreciate some advice on how to position myself to potential employers and recruiters on why I left the MBB?

For some context, the role I was in was a 1-year role, in which I had to show steep performance trajectory to get promoted. Unfortunately, I did not make the cut for a variety of reasons - short case staffings and that the job only "clicked" for me on my last case. It was acknowledged that I did indeed have potential and that with a little more time, I would've made it.

Any tips on positioning and how to frame this in a better light? Am still passionate about the industry and personally think it's too soon to give up on it.

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Emily
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replied on May 15, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

Sounds like you already left? If so, are you in a different job now (non-consulting) or are you just taking a break?

If it is the 1st scenario, you can focus on telling the pull factor of your current non-consulting job (what attracted you etc), and also why you want to go back to consulting again now. Focus on the positively stuff about consulting and your learning. No need to mention about the counselling out part.

If it is the 2nd scenario, then it is harder to get away from the question why you exit MBB. Be honest and focus on what you learn from the experience, and how you get yourself more ready to go back to the field again.

Good luck,

Emily

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Clara
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replied on May 14, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

It´s a great question that probably appliest o a lot of people.

Try not to worry too much, since people leave MBBs all the time. At the end, the average stay is between 2 and 3 years!

In any case, when looking for the next opportunity, try to focus your pitch on:

  • What you learned while in MBB
  • How did you get better:
    • Skillset adquired
    • Particular projects/stories that you can tell
  • Why you are a better and well-rounded professional after this experience
  • etc.

Regarding whether to say the truth about you being counceled out... depends. Some people are pro-truth, but the right is that is your choice. You can also build a credible story about how it was not the right fit for you.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Francesco
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replied on May 15, 2020
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Hi there,

as mentioned by Emily, it is not clear whether you are working for another company or not now, which makes a difference in terms of the answer.

If you are taking a break and you want to apply to another MBB or a Second Tier, it will be pretty obvious that you have been counseled out. I would not voluntarily talk about that, but if they ask, I would recommend being transparent doing the following:

  • Explain which was the main challenges you faced
  • Keep a humble attitude and take full responsibility for not being able to meet the requirements (saying there was short case staffing and that you did not click with projects it is not taking full responsibility and the interviewer will feel you are hiding the real reasons)
  • Show how you worked on the areas of improvements after you discovered them

If you are currently working for another non-consulting company, it is easier to structure an answer. You can mention what attracted you first to the other company and how you understood consulting is the right path for you, motivating your answer with specific reasons and focusing on the positive aspects of your previous experience.

Best,

Francesco

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Udayan
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replied on May 14, 2020
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

Hi,

This happens to people and it is totally okay. A few thoughts on what you could do

1. Position it as a 1 year role/internship and you can talk about what worked and what did not and how you will utilize the learning for the new role

2. Be honest about the 1-year target and then about why it did not work out given the staffing challenges and steep learning curve

3. Reach out to partners in MBB that you worked with who you clicked with and ask them for a referral to jobs in the industry. That way you come recommended and there is less explaning to do

All the best with your search

Udayan

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Anonymous replied on May 14, 2020

Hi there,

It happens - sometimes people can't find their place in the company they work in.

I would recommend the following:

1) Be honest about why you left your first company (because if you hide it, it will re-appear in the future) - You joined, you weren't able to find your place, you weren't in a position to show your full potential, and by the time you caught up, it was too late given the competitiveness of the up-or-out system.

2) You are looking for a fresh start that would help you further develop the momentum you have built - Position this as a new challenge; you are trying to prove to yourself that you are competent consultant, that you have the potential to excel in this industry and that life is about trial and error; you can't always crack it from the first attempt

3) Be very clear on why the new company would be a better fit for you - is it because they have a stronger position in the industry you are interested in? or is it because you find the culture to be a better fit? or is their another reason...do your homework.

I hope this helps,

Best of luck!

Khaled

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Vlad
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replied on May 14, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Don't do the formal recruiting but rather leverage MBB network to get the job. There are many companies hiring ex-consultants and if you search through the network it will be more like a Pull vs. Push approach

Best

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Ian
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replied on May 14, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

A few tips:

1) Don't mention you were counselled out

2) Always talk about the experience positively - not negatively

3) Talk about why you joined, what you hoped to get out of it, and confirm that you got that (i.e. exposure, training, etc.)

4) Make it a story - You can say it was always a stepping/stone or short term goal to reach your ultimate dreams...i.e. being the company you are now interviewing at

I personally left after 1.5 years. This wasn't a problem at all and I found the next role easily. I positioned it (honestly) as: "It was always a stepping stone. I wanted to pair my technical expertise with strategy. Now I feel capable to drive technological and analytics solutions/work while also deeply understanding commercials, which has always been my dream"

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Anonymous replied on May 15, 2020

Dear A ,


This is a pretty common situation for many ex-consultancy in MBB when they are outplaced. So, best way to do that would be to find the reason why you want to move to that specific firm, may be because of the competence and due to the match. You can also mention that your story was just 1-year program and you have treated as an internship, you have figured out that you are still very enthusiastic about consulting, but you simply require more time. So, be authentic and I wish you best of luck.

If you need any help, feel free to reach out



Best,

André

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Emily gave the best answer

Emily

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