Any suggestions for a cover letter to McKinsey, BCG, Bain ?

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Recent activity on May 15, 2020
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Chi asked on May 07, 2020

Dear all,

It is me again. I am trying to revise my cover letter. I have a few questions to ask:

1. All of my achievements have been listed down in my CVs. Should I include them again in my cover letter? What are the differences between the achievements included in a cover letter and those which are mentioned in a CV?

2. My main motivation to work as a consultant is that I can have a lot of opportunities for career advancements and knowledge and skills improvement. Is it a too simple reason? People say that we need to include a specific reason why we chose this company (for example McKinsey)

3. I read several cover letters. Most of them include the introduction part where people tell a story of how they come across the opportunity (meet sb from McKinsey, being inspired by some articles or some Mckinsey's people..) Is it essential to include this part in a cover letter? I am afraid that I have not had such a good story.

4. How long is it for an ideal cover letter? ( 1 pg, 2 pgs..)

I appreciate your opinions and recommendations.

Thank you.

2.

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on May 07, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello, haha, it´s also me again. ;)

Here are my toughts:

  1. No! The two docs are precisely meant to complement each other. They need to tell a different song, but in sinthony with one another.
  2. No, for sure not. And this is the kind of information that should go in the CL, place to put all the "personal" reasons behind. Would be good to complement it with good examples from your past to illustrate.
  3. No! Just tell why you believe their value prop is unique, and unique to you.
  4. Never more than 1 page, same for CV.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Chi on May 08, 2020

Hi Clara, it helps a lot. Thank you.

Anonymous replied on May 08, 2020

I think this is a great question - I received interview invites for almost every consulting firm I appilied to for B-school summer internships, and I think the power of networking and your cover letter is undervalued.

I'll answer your specific questions below in my thoughts on how to write a killer cover letter.

1/ Logistics:

Your cover letter should never be more than 1 page (brevity is best) and should address a specific person, such as your school's Recruiter, by name if possible. Use bullet point and bolding to make your cover letter quick and easy to digest.

2/ Content:

Your achievements should not be re-listed on your cover letter, since you cover letter should add new information and compliment your resume.

You should include:

Why you're interested in consulting? This is what attracts you to consulting specifically and can include the logic of your journey from your current industry. This should feel authentic and if possible include more information than simply the excellent exit strategies from MBB. Perhaps you can talk about how you love to learn and would love to be exposed to multiple industries quckly; or perhaps you enjoy cases and problem solving. There are many things you can point to beyond the exit opportunities.

Why you're interseted in this firm specifically? This is very important to showcase that you understand the nuances between each firm such as culture, clients, and areas of expertise. For example, McKinsey has an Operations practice that differs from Bain and BCG.

What networking activities you have done to learn about the firm? Perhaps you have attended a few networking events and enjoyed speaking to Partner X about his/her work in the retail industry in Asia. Definitely mention specific names of individuals you have connected with as data points for your commitment to this firm. Highlighting your ability to network also helps the firm to see that you have the social skills necessary to survive MBB.

What transferrable skills do you have? Assuming you are not currently a consultant, it is critical to showcase that you not only want to be a consultant, but that you can be a consultant and have the skills to be successful. For instance, transferrable skills can be stakeholder (i.e. client) management, analaytical thinking, etc. These could be determined by discussing your background and resume.

I hope you found this helpful, and best of luck to you!

Best

Melanie

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Chi on May 11, 2020

Hi, Melanie. Thank you very much for giving me a very detailed guide. It helps me a lot!

Anonymous on May 11, 2020

You're very welcome! So glad it was helpful.

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 07, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

1. No, not all. Furthermore, how long is your resume? You may consider not listing ALL achievements in your resume (too many will detract from your bigger accomplishments, and some can actually look bad). A cover letter should tell more of a story, highlight your big achievements, and be tailored to what the company wants.

I wrote a seperate cover letter for McKinsey, BCG, and Bain, because they ask for/want different things. However, I used a technique that allows for re-usability of paragraphs/sentences. Feel free to PM me for more details/examples.

2. That's not a bad reason. But, you just need to frame it right. I.e. you're driven, extremely curious, love learning, having always been a go-getter, want to influence big companies/decisions, what to have an impact on the world, etc. Also, think about the reasons they want you to have

3. It's not essential, but ideally you've done some networking. You should be able to put a name or two in (even if they didn't actually inspire you). If you can't add a name or two, this indicates you haven't done your networking right.

4. 1 page. Remember, in consulting (and life) succinctness is key. Get to the point in everything you do. Be short, sharp, and to the point. They will spend 30 seconds skimming over both your resume and CV...make the big lines stand out.

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Chi on May 08, 2020

Hi, Ian. Thank you very much. Will PM you for more details.

Anonymous replied on May 07, 2020

Hi there,

1. Cover letter should complement your CV, not repeat your CV. Summarise the key qualities or your key strengths that you want to bring forward to show why the company should hire you, intead of listing down your achievements which are already in CV.

2. Beside motivation, it is better to also add on Why company X. Do some homework on each company and tailor a bit.

3. No it doesn't have to be a story. Cover letter is not a novel, so it is okay to be "plain" as long as you get the key points across. But if possible, you can show that you have put in effort and you are serious e.g. you have done networking etc.

4. Keep within 1 page.

Overall cover letter is not super critical compared to your CV, so I wouldn't over index on it.

Best,

Emily

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Chi on May 08, 2020

Hi, Emily. Thank you very much for your answers.

Anonymous replied on May 08, 2020

Hi Chi,

1) Think about this way: CV is about what you achieved - the cover letter is about why you did it. For example, in your CV you can list that you studied abroad and got good grades, while in the cover letter you might talk about your love for adventure and exploring new cultures which guided you to study abroad and learn a new language.

2) Dig a bit deeper. To survive as a consultant you need to stronger drive, something juicier than the cold logic of career progression. What excites you about working as a consultant?

3) No need to go very specific about being inspired by a specific consultant - just make sure that in your last paragraph you highlight what you like about the company (all MBBs have similar core qualities) and let the reader know that you did your homework about the company's values and how it matches with your ambitions.

If you need any specific tips, feel free to reach out!

Best regards,

Khaled

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Chi on May 11, 2020

Hi, Khaled. Thank you very much for your advice.

Anonymous replied on May 15, 2020

Dear Chi ,

It's hard to judge based on your question. Could you please share your cover letter with me to get specific feedback.

Good luck,
André

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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