Am I too old to apply to MBB?

Application MBB
New answer on Nov 30, 2022
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 28, 2022

Hi all, 

I am 38 years old. I spent most of my career in the healthcare industry (medical sales) and would like to move to consultancy. Last year, I applied to Mckinsey for a senior knowledge analyst healthcare role; I had five interviews and reached the final round with no luck in receiving an offer. 

Since then, I've been applying to other firms, but usually screened out, although I've refined my CV and cover letter several times under professional recruiters' supervision. 

-  AM I too old for MBB? or Big 4?

Thanks

(edited)

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Florian
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Definitely not!

McKinsey invited you to the interviews and you progressed until the final round. If they would have considered you too old, they would not have interviewed you in the first place.

Regarding your resume, it is hard to say why others rejected you at the screening stage (without seeing it).

In any case, I would suggest you start networking before applying (LinkedIn, events) to get referrals, which can significantly boost your chances to pass screening.

All the best!

Florian

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Dennis
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replied on Nov 29, 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

I can echo the responses here so far. In a nutshell, I would see the following scenario:

  • From a consulting standpoint, you are still a beginner and you will have to acquire the consulting skill set like every new joiner straight out of college
  • This also means that you will likely not be as “productive” during your first months as more experienced consultants in the team setting - which is normal though
  • Your strength needs to come from your industry expertise that you can bring to the table. This is likely the area in which the consulting firm will also want to position you with respect to client interaction and perception

So make sure you already position yourself that way because this is where you can make a difference. If you do get invited to interviews, it means you have a shot. Consulting firms are not in the business to waste time on candidates whose written profile does not meet their requirements.

Best of luck

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Francesco
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replied on Nov 29, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: I am 38 years old. Am I too old for MBB? or Big 4?

The short answer is no. You can still break into consulting, most likely if you focus on specific roles. I helped candidates older than you to make the transition.

The long answer is that you can break into consulting but you have a few disadvantages compared to younger applicants. This could make it more difficult to pass the screening. Specifically:

  • You need to be okay with having managers much younger than you
  • Colleagues at the same level may have more “stamina” (no family constraints, more energy, etc)

If you reach the interview stage, in theory you should be evaluated solely based on your interview performance – indeed getting the interview seems to be your bottleneck at the moment.

The best way to reach the interview stage is:

  • Apply for positions related to your specialization (healthcare in your case). In fact, this seems to have worked for McKinsey
  • Optimize your application material (CV, Cover, referrals). You can find some tips here: How to Get Consulting Interview Invitations

Good luck!

Francesco

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Rushabh
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
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Hello,

I understand this situation as I have seen some people around me not getting to the offer because of similar reasons.

I think you should 100% position youself as a Healthcare specialist. This could be via the Specialist track (coming it at an Associate/Consultant position but exclusively for Healthcare projects), or applying as an Experienced professional (coming it at a higher position) - depending on the firm you apply to.

It's not just about getting in, but also surviving and enjoying the journey. My concern is that even if you join as a Consultant, people around you will be 5-10 years younger, less settled in life (thus looking to party more) and you will have less things to relate to. So, if you come in at a senior level, it will help alleviate some of these social issues too.

All the best!

Rushabh

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Ian
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

First, you're not alone in this concern :) See below for a number of other Q&As on this topic

Now, in my view, you're never too old! (If it's the path you want)

It really depends on your career trajectory and what you're hoping to do. I knew plenty of people in their mid-30s during the MBA and they went on to MBB as Consultants/Associates. 

If you reached the final round and had 5 interviews at the #1 firm then clearly it's possible! You need to:

  • Network extensively
  • Improve/tailor your resume to consulting
  • Apply to lots of firms (not just MBB/Big4)

 

Other Age-Related Q&As

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-old-is-too-old-before-considering-a-strategic-management-consulting-role-within-a-mbb-2633

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/too-old-to-bother-about-mbb-i-am-37-today-pursuing-a-part-time-mba-with-interviews-at-mbb-7950

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/i-am-planning-to-join-mba-next-year-when-i-will-be-34-will-finish-at-35-and-my-aim-is-to-join-mbb-is-35-too-old-6862

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Ankit
Expert
replied on Nov 28, 2022
BCG I Strategy& I 12+ years of professional experience

The short answer is No. 

But you have to remember that a lot of consultants start fresh out of college and then grow within the firm to become partners/MD at a young age. Sometimes it is hard to fit when you decide to make a transition with your level of experience and a lot of people do not survive and transition out in a few months. Unless you bring a specific expertise and skill set, it will be hard to make a move. My advise would be to network with senior people within the firms you are targetting and try and understand where you can fit in (potentially an expert/advisor for a specific field or practice) 

Reach out to me offline if you would like to discuss more. 
 

good luck ! 

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Udayan
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 29, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Objectively, MBB is a young person's game. This is not because of age but more because at 22 or 25 you usually have minimal family responsibilities and are more malleable to working a certain way as it is the start of your career and you have yet to build your working habits etc. It also is when you have much more energy to dedicate to work which MBB is all too happy to use up :)

At the end of the day age by itself does not matter (my mentor joined McKinsey at 38 and was immensely successful). It may thrown off recruiting but can be explained away with the right logic. In order to get interviews you will need to network your way in, simply applying online is highly unlikely to get you anywhere.

Best,

Udayan

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Emily
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replied on Nov 30, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

Absolutely not! You’re going into an expert role where your job is to provide expert advice - which can only be built up over time! They’ve asked you to apply for that reason. Go for it 

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Adi
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Its not about the age..its about the mutual FIT at this stage of your career - your skills, the role, values (personal & professional) and risk apetite. 

Please have a look at this article for more guidance-https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-do-i-know-which-career-is-right-for-me

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Pedro
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

No, but you are at a disadvantage. You really have to bring some industry knowledge at this point.

Mckinsey considered you, meaning that they liked your CV and profile and age was not an issue.

Of course, when there is a strong lack of talent, like in the past 18 months, consultancies are more likely to look into less traditional profiles. When recruiting is slowing down, like right now, the chances of an older profile even making it to the interview stage are much lower.

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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