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Application Strategy

Recent activity on Aug 01, 2023
5 Answers
1.2 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 21, 2020

Hi, all, I'm just wondering for consulting application,

what would be a realistic number to apply for?

Also, have anyone tried preparing for consulting and another different role (such as

investment banking) at the same time?

I am trying to find a balance between being focused but also expand my career


Thanks for the advice.

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Best answer
replied on Aug 01, 2023
BCG 1st & Final Round interviewer | Personalized prep with >95% success rate | 7yrs coaching | #1 for Experienced Hires

Hi there,

great question, thanks. 

In general, and in especially in the current recruting environment suggest you cast your net wide and apply to at least 5-7 firms (Tier 1 and 2).

Also, pay attention to the sequencing - your chances to land the job you want most will be best, if you put those firms at the end of your recruiting period. 

  • Helps you play the odds - while not every firm may work out, if you're well-prepared, at least some of them will
  • Gives you good opportunity to have real case interview experience, before you tacke the priority firms
  • Esp if you aim for MBB, expected standard there will be hightest, so you can gradually build up your foundations

Hope this helps.

Regards, Andi

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 21, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


I would suggest to apply for as many Tier-1 and Tier-2 company as you can. Apply as soon as you have an idea of your timeline.
You should consider the following point:

  • Once that HR contacts you, you can ask to postpone the first round because you want to refine your preparation.
  • It's important to practice with some real interviews before starting the process with Tier-1
  • You can negotiate the date of the 2nd round according to your needs. They will try to push you but you should not worry: first of all they want you to do interview, so you are in a position of strength
  • You can leverage on an offer from tier-2 to accelerate the process of a tier-1 company

The perfect agenda would be to have Round 1 of Tier-2 --> Round 1 of Tier-1 --> Round 2 of Tier-2 --> Round 2 of Tier-1.

Feel free to write me for any needs,

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Anonymous A on Jan 21, 2020

Thanks! So do you mean applying all firms at the same time frame? Also, what would all the big 4 consulting be in "tier 2"? Not sure which companies are in "tier 3"...

Luca on Jan 21, 2020

Not Big 4 in general but just their branches like Monitor Deloitte, EY Parthenon or Strategy&


Content Creator
replied on Jan 21, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


This is the classical question everyone askes themselves when starting, so don´t worry:

  1. MBB companies > 3
  2. Tier 2 Consulting > ~4
  3. Tier 3 / Big4 > just to get some practice

Since you cannot control when they will get back to you, it´s best to apply to all at the same time and postone the T1 to the end, in case they are the 1st ones to respond.

Hope it helps!



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replied on Jan 21, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


What do you mean by a number to apply for?

If you mean the number of companies - the candidates usually try to expand their chances applying to:

  • All MBB companies
  • All Tier 2
  • Couple of Tier 3 / Big4 just to practice

I would not recommend combining with investment banking unless you are already really good at financial modeling and know all the IB topics. But even in that case, you have a risk of being all over the place.


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Content Creator
replied on Jan 22, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Number of firms to apply to

In terms of numbers - it depends on the type of candidate you are. If you believe you have a reasonably high chance of getting in given your school, GPA, extra curriculars then it is better to be selective. This allows you to spend time networking with the firms you are interested in and truly getting to know the culture and nature of projects you want to apply to. It also sets you up better once you join the firm as you can leverage these relationships to get staffed on interesting projects.

Types of firms to apply to

While you can apply to both consulting and investment banking roles, if you were to interview for both roles at the same time it would be a highly stressful experience. Consulting interviews require a different skillset vs the more technical IB interviews and the limited overlap would require a lot of work on your end to do well in the interviews.

All the best!


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