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Applying to BCG Middle East

BCG MBB
New answer on Jul 03, 2024
7 Answers
326 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 18, 2024

Dear Preplounge Community,

I'm a consultant at a Big 4 firm with over 2 years of experience and both bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering. I'm seeking advice on whether I should apply for Senior Associate/Consultant roles at BCG in their GCC offices.

Key Details:
- I have a referral from a BCG Associate and am currently communicating with a Principal at the firm.
- I've been hearing that hiring is slow and tough in the current market conditions, but I see BCG has Senior Associate/Consultant roles posted on their careers website.
- This makes me wonder if they are still actively hiring for these roles or just filtering applications. I've reached out to my contacts at BCG, but they seem to be echoing the general sentiment around the tough hiring climate without specifics on these particular roles.
- My understanding is that the typical timeline for BCG's case interviews is 1-2 months after the online assessment (please correct me if I'm wrong). I'm in the early stages of preparing for the case interviews, and I'm worried the position may close before I'm fully ready to apply.

Questions:
1. Given my background of over 2 years of consulting experience, is the Senior Associate position appropriate, or should I consider applying for a Consultant role if it's available?
2. Should I go ahead and apply before the role might get filled/closed instead of waiting until I feel ready to apply?, or should I ask the Principal I'm in touch with for an additional referral first?
3. Should I inquire with the recruiter about the closing date for these positions?

I'd greatly appreciate any advice from the Preplounge community on navigating this application process effectively.

Thank you for your support and help.

(edited)

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Best answer
Ashwin
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 18, 2024
Ex Bain Manager , Deloitte Director| 200+ MBB Offers | INSEAD

As someone with many years of experience in the Middle East and who coaches multiple candidates from UAE and KSA for MBB roles, I can share some relevant insights: 

  1. Position Level (Senior Associate vs. Consultant): Given your over 2 years of consulting experience at a Big 4 firm, applying for a Senior Associate position seems appropriate. BCG generally expects more substantial experience for a Consultant role, often around 4-6 years. I recommend applying for the Senior Associate role; progression is typically 1-2 years if you perform well, whereas the Consultant role comes with higher performance expectations and potential stress. However, it could be worth discussing this directly with the recruiter or your BCG Principal contact to get a better sense.
  2. Timing of Application: Among the top consulting firms , BCG is still actively hiring in the region. A recent Bloomberg article dated 24th April 2024 also indicates that BCG has sizable global hiring target (~2000) this year. I am actively coaching candidates in KSA  who have their interviews scheduled in next two weeks . Its often beneficial to apply sooner rather than later, especially when roles are posted and visible. The hiring market can be unpredictable, and waiting too long might mean missing out on opportunities. Given you already have a referral and are in touch with a Principal, leveraging these connections now can be advantageous. 
     
  3. Inquiring about Closing Dates: You can reach out to the recruiter for more information , but i would not expect them to be very helpful as they would like to close the positions as early as possible.

    Hope this helps
    Regards, Ashwin 

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 18, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Given my background of over 2 years of consulting experience, is the Senior Associate position appropriate, or should I consider applying for a Consultant role if it's available?

With 2 years of experience, you can target an Associate or Senior Associate position. To apply for a Consultant position, you usually need 4/5 years of experience as a minimum. 

2) Should I go ahead and apply before the role might get filled/closed instead of waiting until I feel ready to apply?, or should I ask the Principal I'm in touch with for an additional referral first?

You can be formally referred by one person only, however the Principal might drop a line to HR mentioning you have a chat and he/she considers you a good fit. If you can have the official referral from the Principal (in case the Associate has not provided the referral yet), that’s even better.

Regarding when to apply, I would: 

  1. Estimate the time needed to be fully ready (most people need around 100 hours starting from zero, so if you don’t have other estimates, you might refer to that as a proxy)
  2. Estimate how much time you can put between now and the time of the interview (your 1-2 month estimate seems correct)

If you believe you can put the extra hours needed between now and the time of the interview, then you can apply now. In any case, if they call you early on, you can ask to postpone the interview, usually there are no issues with that.

3) Should I inquire with the recruiter about the closing date for these positions? 

You might, but (i) they might not know or be willing to share and (ii) if you follow what is indicated under point #2, that should be enough.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 18, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Straight to your questions:

1. Yes!

2. I would wait until you are ready to apply, ideally with a principal referral - don't rush it.

3. You can but my guess is that there is no closing date.

A bit of background:

You are correct - hiring is slow at the moment and at the same time all MBBs on the GCC are getting rid of their lowest performers. Yet, they are still advertising new roles and hiring new people, although less than before.  The logic is threefold IMGO

a. Replace the lowest performers with some new hires.

b. Make sure they stay visible in the eyes of applicants. There is a branding effect related to recruiting that all firms need long-term.

c. Have the flexibility to react to an increasing client demand in the future. The situation is quite fluid and can change quickly and it's good to have people in the pipeline.

In this environment, I would not rush anything and jump into the applications and interviews if you can afford to wait a bit.

Hence, my answers above. Apply, yes. But wait until you are ready and you have a better referral - potentially even wait longer until the market recovers.

All the best,

Florian

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 18, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

There's a way of making this a lot simpler - reach to the recruiter.

This is the smallest thing that has a huge effect and somehow nobody does it. 

Reach out and ask them for a 10-15 minute call. Attach the CV to your email. Tell them that you are actively interested in that role, ask whether they believe it's the best fit for you and whether they are actively recruiting for it. 

This is critical because most recruiters will be upfront with you if they happen to have stopped recruiting for that role and then encourage you to apply again in 6-9 months. 

It can save you a lot of time and mindspace. 

Also, you might find this guide useful on how to approach the application process:

Expert Guide: Build A Winning Application Strategy

Best,
Cristian

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Hani
Expert
replied on Jul 03, 2024
Associate and All-star Interviewer at OW | Ex-S& | 5+ years in the Middle East |300+ Interviews | INSEAD MBA


Hello there,

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your situation.

Given your 2+ years of experience at a Big 4 firm and your educational background, I would advise aiming for a Senior Associate position rather than a Consultant role at BCG. In general a move from the Big 4 to MBB or even top tier comes with a title demotion. 

Think of it this way while your background is impressive, transitioning directly into a Consultant role at BCG might limit your ability to stand out. By targeting the Senior Associate role, you can position yourself to overdeliver and demonstrate your capabilities effectively, which can pave the way for quicker advancement. With your experience, the Senior Associate position is appropriate. It will allow you to leverage your background while also giving you the opportunity to prove your value and aim for faster promotions down the line.

Additionally, given the current market conditions and your readiness concerns, it’s a good idea to go ahead and apply sooner rather than later. The hiring process can be lengthy, and waiting until you feel completely prepared might result in missing out on the opportunity. You can continue your preparation while the application is under review.

Best of luck with your application process. Feel free to reach out if you need further advice or support.

Best regards,
Hani

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Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 18, 2024
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360° coach(Ex-McKinsey+Certified Coach+Active recruiter)

With 2+ years at a Big 4 and advanced degrees, you're well-positioned for a Senior Associate role at BCG.
My advice:

1. Apply now to get in process before roles fill, making clear you need more time for case prep. Having a referral is a huge advantage.
2. Work with your BCG Principal contact to understand realistic timelines based on their insights. Don't rush unprepared.
Politely ask the recruiter about closing dates to plan your timeline.

Your qualifications and prep efforts combined with internal advocates give you a great shot if you navigate this strategically.
Let me know if any other consulting career questions come up. I'm here to ensure you put your best foot forward.

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Jun 18, 2024
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Private Equity | Market Estimates | Fit Interview

1. With 2 years of experience, you should be applying to the pre-MBA role, i.e., senior associate.

2. Yes, if there's an opening ideally you should not wait, given current market conditions. But that does not prevent you from asking for a referral. The role is not going to get filled in a week, so you can take a few days to secure that referral. 

3. No need to, just make sure you apply this or next week.

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Ashwin gave the best answer

Ashwin

Content Creator
Ex Bain Manager , Deloitte Director| 200+ MBB Offers | INSEAD
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