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After MBB rejection - Job experience for an experienced hire in some years?

Anonymous A

After months of preparing and many interviews, I did not get an offer from one of the big management consulting firms in the german area, which bugs me a lot. Often they told me that I should try again in 1-3 years when I have gained some more professional experience. So this is my plan.

My question now is, what kind of jobs and firms should I aim at that qualify me the most for MBB & Co in some years and higher my value for them.

?? Jobs in big global comapnies / Jobs in business development or strategy / Traineeships / ... - or is it better to start in a smaller consulting firm, or in consulting of one of the big four accounting firms ??

Are there any job areas that put me even further away from a MBB invitation (like marketing)?

I know that there is no single correct answer, but I would highly appreciate your opinion! Thank you

(edited)

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Ignacio
Expert
replied on 02/17/2017
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First of all, consulting is a career accelerator but it is definitely not the only one. In my opinion, some real alternatives that will help you prepare for MBB are:

  1. Consolidated tech companies (e.g. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn)
  2. New, fast-growth tech companies (e.g. Uber, Deliveroo, Tesla)
  3. Entrepreneurial programs (e.g. EntrepreneurFirst, Rocket Internet)
  4. Entrepreneurial adventures (e.g. joining a 10 person start-up in Shangai, and really taking ownership for its development)
  5. Investment banking (e.g. Goldman Sachs)

On another note, work experience isn't the only thing that will help you get an MBB offer. You can focus on some of the following things which should help strengthen your intrinsic skills and your performance in consulting interviews:

  • Deepen a genuine personal/professional interest that allows you to be more interesting/credible. Your passion will attract people towards you and make you someone they want to work with (i.e. extend you a job offer).
  • Find more leadership role within your community that really makes a difference. Really learn what it means to lead/be part of a group of people towards a challenging common goal.
  • Broaden your knowledge/understanding with a range of completely new and relevant topics. Deepen your understanding by being able to logically develop a personal perspective on any topic instead of regurgitating what you have read or heard.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to send me a message.

Francesco replied on 01/28/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (900+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

in order to find the ideal company to start with, you may probably want to look at the skills you would develop with that company and how they would relate to consulting. Consulting companies normally look for people with a mix of analytical and people skills, as these would be also the ones you would need for the job (at the following link you can find a full list of the skills you would develop as a consultant, which are also those that they would look for, at least in terms of potential development, in successful candidates:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-can-you-learn-from-being-a-consultant-355 )

As a consequence, the easiest way to transit to MBB after 1-3 years is joining another strategy consulting firm (ideally an internationally recognized brand such as Roland Berger, Oliver Wyman, ATK, etc.). This would also have the additional benefit to let you start in the environment you would like to move later, allowing you to (1) clarify if consulting may be the right path for you in the medium/long term and (2) potentially stay with that company if you find a great environment/growth opportunities.

Another option may be a strategy role for a major brand, although in this case you may need to add a good referral to get an interview (in this case, when you will reapply, they will probably ask you why you didn't join another strategy consulting firm from the beginning).

Anything that is not allowing you to develop the skills in the previous list would make more difficult for you to receive an invitation. However, even for "unrelated" jobs, you may still have the opportunity to be invited if you would join an MBA program after some years and then reapply.

The ideal company to start with may also be different according to the geography you are applying for. There is a simple method to verify which may be the best profile in a specific country, that is, looking at the profile of people on LinkedIn currently in MBB for your target office and check what they did before. That should give you a more complete overview.

Hope this is helpful,

Francesco

(edited)

Francesco replied on 01/29/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (900+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Maarten,

thanks for your comment; I personally don’t think that joining a consulting company will make more difficult to join MBB on the base of the mentioned reasons about credibility and difficulty.

As for 1) Credibility, you mentioned:

The interviewer will wonder why you are changing from consulting to consulting. With this background, the question will be, why didn't you join 1~2 years ago? Or why are you leaving your consulting firm now, don't you have a career built up yet?

I don't think MBB companies will ever wonder why you are moving from a smaller consulting company to MBB. McKinsey, BCG and Bain are the top in the sector, thus it’s pretty usual for ambitious consultants in other firms to try to apply or reapply for them. As for the questions:

  • why didn't you join 1~2 years ago: you can be honest and say you did not manage to receive an offer at the time, and then explain how you improved since then. They actually already know that, since they track every candidate application;
  • don't you have a career built up yet: you can say that being in a good career track in a firm is not in conflict with moving to a more prestigious firm.

As for 2) Difficulty, you mentioned:

Most interviewers will expect a better performance from you in the interviews, just because you have been in consulting before. No more free points for clarifying the clients objective up front, and one badly structured conclusion can wipe out your chances immediately.

Consulting experience may indeed be beneficial for a better performance in cases, at the bare minimum for the fit part. I do not see a clear reason to avoid to be better prepared just because they may expect better preparation. Also, although they may expect better skills in certain areas, for most of the areas involved in the case expectations would be the same. In general, you will not pass an interview as experienced hire if you do not clarify the objective or do not structure in a proper way a conclusion, whether you are coming from consulting or not.

Best,

Francesco

Maarten replied on 01/29/2017

Hi Anon,

From personal experience I can recommend you to join a large corporation, that is leading in its industry. Think ABInbev, Exonn, Coke, P&G, Amazon, Google, Beiersdorf, Toyota...

This will teach you how businesses work, operate, think and will give you an edge as a consultant when you are serving them. You can work in a management role in any function to prepare yourself, wether it's planning, marketing, sales, operations, finance or engineering... Working at such a company, the MBB firms will call you to come back to their interviews after 2-3 years.

It's unfortunate that you didn't get the job this time around, but having been at an mbb interview means you will have a background and track record that will relatively easily get you a very interesting and rewarding role somewhere else.

Consulting and strategy rules, as Francesco suggested, can also certainly prepare you for coming back to the mbb interview process. Having said that, I do feel consulting would mostly make it harder for you, for two reasons:

1. Credibility. The interviewer will wonder why you are changing from consulting to consulting. With this background, the question will be, why didn't you join 1~2 years ago? Or why are you leaving your consulting firm now, don't you have a career built up yet?

2. Difficulty. Most interviewers will expect a better performance from you in the interviews, just because you have been in consulting before. No more free points for clarifying the clients objective up front, and one badly structured conclusion can wipe out your chances immediately.

Cheers