expert
Expert with best answer

Luca

100% Recommendation Rate

22 Meetings

797 Q&A Upvotes

USD 179 / Coaching

4

Applying to McKinsey & BCG in Vietnam

Hi consultants!

I will be graduating soon from a top-tier German university (M.Sc.) with mediocre grades (GPA 3.3), quit good work experience (BMW, Venture Capital) and no real extracurriculars. I'm a child of Vietnamese immigrants and speak the language.

-> On paper, I would never make it into MBB.

But:

What about applying as "Consulting Analyst" at McKinsey's Hanoi office or as "Research Analyst" at BCG's Ho Chi Minh City office?

What about applying as a regular entry-level business analyst?

What are the chances?

How reputable are the positions? Are the exit opportunities similar to a European/North-American consulting position?

I would love to know more about this so that I can decide whether to apply and how much effort to put into the applications.

Thanks!

Hi consultants!

I will be graduating soon from a top-tier German university (M.Sc.) with mediocre grades (GPA 3.3), quit good work experience (BMW, Venture Capital) and no real extracurriculars. I'm a child of Vietnamese immigrants and speak the language.

-> On paper, I would never make it into MBB.

But:

What about applying as "Consulting Analyst" at McKinsey's Hanoi office or as "Research Analyst" at BCG's Ho Chi Minh City office?

What about applying as a regular entry-level business analyst?

What are the chances?

How reputable are the positions? Are the exit opportunities similar to a European/North-American consulting position?

I would love to know more about this so that I can decide whether to apply and how much effort to put into the applications.

Thanks!

(edited)

4 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Luca

100% Recommendation Rate

22 Meetings

797 Q&A Upvotes

USD 179 / Coaching

Hello,

Those work experience could still give you a chance to get invited by MBB. Anyway don't worry about exit opportunities from Asian offices, they are as good as the ones in Europe.

Another strategy that you should consider is to apply for a tier-2 company (e.g. Oliver Wyman or AtKearney) and to try to join MBB after a couple of years. The more work experience you have, the less they will take your academic background into consideration.

Best,
Luca

Hello,

Those work experience could still give you a chance to get invited by MBB. Anyway don't worry about exit opportunities from Asian offices, they are as good as the ones in Europe.

Another strategy that you should consider is to apply for a tier-2 company (e.g. Oliver Wyman or AtKearney) and to try to join MBB after a couple of years. The more work experience you have, the less they will take your academic background into consideration.

Best,
Luca

Book a coaching with Emily

100% Recommendation Rate

10 Meetings

108 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

Hi Quang,

I wouldn't think that you "never make to MBB on paper". It probably may take a bit more effort from your end, but in general consulting firms are short of good people in Vietnam so I think you could stand a chance. My suggestions according to your background:

  • In your CV, make sure you highlight your uni is top-tier in Germany. The recruiters in SEA are likely not farmiliar with German schools; so if you don't say it, they might mistake it as some unknown school
  • Focus on highlighting your achievements during your work experience. BMW is a gread brand, and VC is also a very credible experience. Make sure you leverage those experiences well

On the roles, I can only speak about BCG. But hope this provides some additonal info for you.

  • Research analysts and regular BAs follow 2 different career paths in BCG
  • Research analysts focus on researching and analysing data that the consulting teams request for, but seldom touch the other aspects of case work (e.g. strategizing, client engagement, execution, ...)
  • Research analysts would be serving different consulting teams at the same time, typically with an industry focus. E.g. you might specialise in Energy sector, and provide research services to 2-3 project teams working on Energy cases at the same time
  • A small portion of research folks (the high performers) might be able to switch to consulting track after a few years
  • Exist opportunity is not bad. I have a few ex-colleauges on the research track getting quite good roles in corporates after leaving consulting firm. Tbh, some corporates / hiring managers are not aware of these 2 different career tracks in consulting firm. What matters more to them is whether you can demonstrate you have the capability and experience that they are looking for

Hope this helps!

Best,

Emily

Hi Quang,

I wouldn't think that you "never make to MBB on paper". It probably may take a bit more effort from your end, but in general consulting firms are short of good people in Vietnam so I think you could stand a chance. My suggestions according to your background:

  • In your CV, make sure you highlight your uni is top-tier in Germany. The recruiters in SEA are likely not farmiliar with German schools; so if you don't say it, they might mistake it as some unknown school
  • Focus on highlighting your achievements during your work experience. BMW is a gread brand, and VC is also a very credible experience. Make sure you leverage those experiences well

On the roles, I can only speak about BCG. But hope this provides some additonal info for you.

  • Research analysts and regular BAs follow 2 different career paths in BCG
  • Research analysts focus on researching and analysing data that the consulting teams request for, but seldom touch the other aspects of case work (e.g. strategizing, client engagement, execution, ...)
  • Research analysts would be serving different consulting teams at the same time, typically with an industry focus. E.g. you might specialise in Energy sector, and provide research services to 2-3 project teams working on Energy cases at the same time
  • A small portion of research folks (the high performers) might be able to switch to consulting track after a few years
  • Exist opportunity is not bad. I have a few ex-colleauges on the research track getting quite good roles in corporates after leaving consulting firm. Tbh, some corporates / hiring managers are not aware of these 2 different career tracks in consulting firm. What matters more to them is whether you can demonstrate you have the capability and experience that they are looking for

Hope this helps!

Best,

Emily

Thanks Emily! Very helpful. Knowing that becoming research analyst is not interesting for me anymore since I want to be on consulting track. — Quang on Feb 15, 2020 (edited)

Book a coaching with Nathaniel

3 Meetings

386 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi Quang,

Hope you are well.

I have been working in the region myself before, hoping these would answer your questions.
Typically, one would need to fulfill 3 elements to form a distinctive profile for MBB firms:

  • Academic achievement
  • Extracurricular achievement (internship + social service / other initiatives)
  • International exposure

In this case, your overseas study and internship experiences could put you ahead of other local profiles, particularly for Consulting Analyst role in McKinsey SEA.

That said, any role in MBB, including Consulting Analyst is competitive. Hence an amount of effort is typically expected.

Research Analyst is another route most people take it after they failed the generalist consulting interviews, but usually only narrowly. They will try to make a shift from RA to consulting role, which usually takes some time (years).

For BA role, to have considerable chance, you need to come from "target schools", this holds true even for overseas graduate as the list works globally.

MBB provides an invaluable opportunity, which goes into the prestigiousness of its alumni as well, irrespective of their region. Exit opportunities are similar to other regions.

Of course, the company that you might jump into after MBB depends on where you are and whether you could make the shift to other region, should it not exist in SEA. But, once you get to other region, your MBB profile will soon be put into use.

Hope it helps.
Feel free to DM me for more questions or to schedule a session.

Kind regards,
Nathan

Hi Quang,

Hope you are well.

I have been working in the region myself before, hoping these would answer your questions.
Typically, one would need to fulfill 3 elements to form a distinctive profile for MBB firms:

  • Academic achievement
  • Extracurricular achievement (internship + social service / other initiatives)
  • International exposure

In this case, your overseas study and internship experiences could put you ahead of other local profiles, particularly for Consulting Analyst role in McKinsey SEA.

That said, any role in MBB, including Consulting Analyst is competitive. Hence an amount of effort is typically expected.

Research Analyst is another route most people take it after they failed the generalist consulting interviews, but usually only narrowly. They will try to make a shift from RA to consulting role, which usually takes some time (years).

For BA role, to have considerable chance, you need to come from "target schools", this holds true even for overseas graduate as the list works globally.

MBB provides an invaluable opportunity, which goes into the prestigiousness of its alumni as well, irrespective of their region. Exit opportunities are similar to other regions.

Of course, the company that you might jump into after MBB depends on where you are and whether you could make the shift to other region, should it not exist in SEA. But, once you get to other region, your MBB profile will soon be put into use.

Hope it helps.
Feel free to DM me for more questions or to schedule a session.

Kind regards,
Nathan

Very very helpful, thanks a lot! — Quang on Feb 14, 2020

Book a coaching with Antonello

98% Recommendation Rate

101 Meetings

1,058 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi Quang,
with 2+ years of a strong professional background, you can omit in your application your GPA. BMW is a strong brand, therefore you have your chances to be invited to the interviews at MBB or tier2.

Best,
Antonello

Hi Quang,
with 2+ years of a strong professional background, you can omit in your application your GPA. BMW is a strong brand, therefore you have your chances to be invited to the interviews at MBB or tier2.

Best,
Antonello

Thanks, Antonello. Gives me hope. However, BMW was a 6-month internship and I'm not yet graduated. My GPA will definitely be a decisive factor in the application. — Quang on Feb 16, 2020

Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Case Studies

The case study is the most important element of the case interview, which you'll have to nail in order to get into strategic consulting. Here you can learn the specific skills and concepts necessary to solve them.

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 35.2k times
McKinsey Questions Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you achieving it? What is your typical way of dealing with conflict?
4.5 5 843
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 24.4k times
BCG Questions What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where you were not the official leader.
4.5 5 203
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where ... Open whole case