Ex-MBB, BCG/Bain/Experienced Hire specialist
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Applying to MBB as employee of a client company

Anonymous A

Hello everyone,

I would like to know how MBB partners would view it if an employee of one of their clients would apply for a job as a consultant. Most likely no partners here, so speculation with underpinning of thoughts would be appreciated.

Context: I work for a fortune 500 company, junior staff, in direct contact with several MBB partners as we make use of their services. Considering a career in consulting, and considering leveraging existing connections to get introduced to the recruitment teams.

Would like your views on how to best tackle this situation. Thank you.

Guennael replied on July 22, 2016
Ex-MBB, BCG/Bain/Experienced Hire specialist

Howdy - I did exactly that to join BCG, and helped someone else do that as well although it didn't work out for him, at least not right away... but he ended up at McK, not bad either :).

First off, the 3 firms have different views of this process. In my experience, Bain is very unlikely to take an experienced hire while McK is the most experienced hire-friendly. Some clients will forbid MBB to poach their staff, but I think most will let you apply if that's what you want.

In my own case, my company was a regular BCG client, and I ended up working alongside BCG on a 4-month case. Near the end of the engagement, I approached the principal and told him I wanted to apply. After some discussion re. my educational background, interest and level of commitment, he agreed to support my candidacy. To my knowledge, he never specifically asked my employer if that'd be ok since my VP only learned about it when I resigned. I still had to go through the normal application / interview process, but having a current consultant support my application at least helped me get an interview. There's never any guarantee, and the longer that consultant has been in the company the better, but if you get a principal or a partner to put their name on your application, you are in good shape.

In decreasing order of value, I'd place "recommendation from a partner" first obviously, though it will be hard to get; second, "recommendation from a consultant who's worked with you", then "knowing the recruitment team". Getting a recommendation from a low-level consultant who has NOT worked with you has nearly no value, and I'd question said consultant's decision to recommend you if he/she doesn't know how you work anyway -> a consultant needs to build his/her credibility to move up, recommending a quasi-stranger is a high risk proposition.

Looks like you work w/ MBB teams. Your best bet is to impress the Principal or Associate Partner and approach them just before the end of a case. The partners probably won't spend enough time with you to know (and would ask the consulting staff for feedback anyway), and the actual consultants/associates do not have enough pull internally.

PS: if you decide to go this route, make sure to start preparing for the case interview sooner rather than later, things can go extremely fast.

Does this help? Let me know!

Guennael

ex-BCG Dallas

Guennael replied on July 22, 2016
Ex-MBB, BCG/Bain/Experienced Hire specialist

Got it, interesting. You may have limited opportunity to impress them then. I'd focus my efforts on being a team player and showing them you think big picture. Definitely try to get some face time and ask for advice on how to join. If one of them likes you, you are golden. Good luck, let me know how it goes.

Cheers,

Guennael

Anonymous A replied on July 22, 2016

Great answer, thanks a lot. Definitely helps to prepare for the case interview.

My experience would be slightly different than yours; in contact with sr. partners only and the selection process of said companies/their teams, not so much helping on the actual project implementation within my company. So any vouching from their side would be solely related to my contact with them.

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