Application sequence?

New answer 13 hours ago
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Oct 14, 2021

Hi, I am planning to complete the application / interview process of all MBB firms before Feb, 2022. I am planning to apply to one MBB firm in every two months. The rationale is that taking a longer time frame approach enables me to have more time to prepare and I can focus on one firm at a time. 

My questions are:

(1) Is “focusing on one firm at a time” a good approach? (I'm worried about being burnt out, but at the same time my current job is quite busy so it would be tough for me to interview multiple firms together).

(2) Should I place second tier firms in between MBB firms, just so that I could have more “practice”? Or, I should place all second tier firms after MBB applications as a backup choice?

Thank you!

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CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Oct 14, 2021
McKinsey / Oxford grad / ex Firm mock interviewer & internal training faculty / top 25% best consultants in the Firm

Great question!

A few thoughts:

  • It's indeed tough to prepare for interviews while working at the same time. The most important thing is for you to remain comfortable and calm throughout this process so don't take on more than you can swallow so you blow up. 
  • In your case, (for Q1) applying one firm at a time could be a good approach. Perhaps you could manage two at a time since they are usually quite flexible with the scheduling. I'd aim to do top preference tier 1 and top preference tier 2. If they don't work out, you go to the next set. 
  • (for Q2) Putting second tier in between MBBs is a good strategy to create a fall back option for you. Timing here is key. I was in the same situation as you, got an offer from second tier and forced to provide an answer in a short timeframe because they knew I was also interviewing with MBB. 
  • Happy to discuss the application strategy with you and tailor it specifically. The most important part is that regardless of how you set it up you should feel confident that it's the right thing for you. Mindset is they key beyond the preparation. 

Good luck!

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CoachingPlus Expert
updated an answer on Oct 14, 2021
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT Interview | Principal Former Head Recruiter | Launched EY-P Lisbon Office

You need to change your mindset. It seems you are assuming that you will not go completely prepared for the first few companies you interview with (which will be your preferred ones), and you'll improve as time goes by.

You will therefore waste your chances of getting the job you want in the companies you want the most.

Regarding using Tier 2 as “practice”, I would also advise against it. If you fail, you lose the job offer. If you pass, will you take the offer without looking back? And honestly, there are cheaper and valuable ways to get practice than wasting a chance for a job offer (e.g. coaching session).

My advice is that you start interviews fully prepared, and you divide them in groups which you order based on your preference (no, I don't think you should apply to 6-7 companies at a single time, but 2-3 every month would make sense).


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 14, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

1) It's unconventional/atypical but if it works for you it works for you! It sounds like you've thought this out and you'll only be able to handle one at a time. You then want to allow yourself time to improve. I'm ok with this!

That said, you're assuming that when you apply to x firm, you will get x interview. Just be careful with these assumptions…odds for interviews are just that…odds!

2) Whatever works for you. I do think you're overengineering this a bit and assume the world works perfectly (are you an Economist by any chance? :P). Remember, not all firms will get back to you. Period. Not all firms will invite you to interview. And not all firms will invite you to interview you right away - or stick to the interview dates they initially propose…

You'll need to flexible with the plan!

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 14, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews


1) I think a good approach might be to try with one company at first and see the response (i.e. whether you pass the screening stage), but then apply to all of them. You need to prepare in the same way for all companies.

2) It depends on different factors: your interest in those companies, time available, etc.

Hope this helps.



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CoachingPlus Expert
replied 13 hours ago
#1 CoachingPlus Expert | 100% no-nonsense | BCG Dubai PL | 2021 Real MBB+ Cases | Case/PEI/Fit/CV | 6+ years Consulting

Hey there! Some observations from my end:

  • Focusing on 1 firm at a time vs all at once is a personal call. Some people can handle the rush. Some people like to take it step by step.
  • Typically the recommended approach is to become 90% ready and apply to anything and everything.
  • Tier 2 and MBB are all equally good firms! The Tier 2s are tier2s because of what society says. Apply to firms that you would like to join regardless of what sequence you get the offer. If you join a Tier 2 and are determined to join MBB later in life - that is very much on the card.
  • Don't keep Tier 2 firms as a back-up. They are not distinctively easier to get into compared to MBB. One might argue that MBB is easier than Tier 2 because MBBs accept a very wide range of profiles.
  • If you are desperate to join consulting then still the above points apply
  • Try to get referrals as much as possible

Hope this helps!

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Cristian gave the best answer


CoachingPlus Expert
McKinsey / Oxford grad / ex Firm mock interviewer & internal training faculty / top 25% best consultants in the Firm
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