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Are certain Consulting Offices harder to get into? - BCG, Mckinsey, Bain

Rob asked on Mar 04, 2018 - 4 answers
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Hi Everyone,

This is more of an inquiring question for looking at potential offices. I've noticed from a few posts as well as others who are in the industry that certain offices are harder to get into. Are there particular skills/characteristics that these firms are looking for? Are these offices looking for more polished candidates? What do you think some of the criteria is in regards to these offices? Are the cases harder at these locations? Do you think it is generally supply and demand for the office?

What are your thoughts?

I've been told for McKinsey, London and San Francisco are some of the hardest offices to get into.

Just wanted to get some opinions or experiences from the group.




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replied on Mar 05, 2018
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Indeed some offices are harder to get into. There are multiple factors that have an impact:

  1. Supply and demand - NY, SF, London - most competitive since everyone wants to get there. Atlanta, Dallas - much easier
  2. Economic cycle in a particular country - in a bad year it gets harder to get in. If the economy / demand in consultants is booming - it gets easier. For example Dubai 3-5 years ago, Sydney now
  3. Industry-specialized offices may require prior background as a competitive advantage like Houston in O&G. Btw, answering your second question - in the countries / offices concentrated around one industry / having some legacy - you should expect the corresponding cases. E.g. many cost-cutting cases in Eastern Europe
  4. Concentration of MBAs / Universities in the area


Anonymous replied on Mar 04, 2018

Hey Rob,

It’s not that the cases are harder, is simply a matter of supply and demand that pushes the bar even higher. Given such levels of high competition it will help you a lot if already have a deep knowledge/expertise of the inidustrues and topics most served in such offices (eg, finance in New York, tech and healthcare in SF and the Valley)

Btw, for McKinsey the hardest offices to get in (within the ocidental world!!) are by far New York, San Francisco, Sillicon Valley and London - get into Japanese or Chinese offices can be even higher!



Thank you very much Bruno! Makes sense — Rob on Mar 04, 2018

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replied on May 31, 2018
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Hi Rob,

I agree with the previous answer, it is mainly a matter of demand and supply. Offices are looking for a maximum number of candidates, thus excessive demand automatically raises the bar.



replied on Mar 04, 2018
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Selection process is the same, bar is higher because there are more candidates to choose from. I would say that SF was hard a few years ago but now is actually at par with other offices because cost of living is so that number of applicants decreased.

In US Seattle and New York and Miami are probably the hardest due to abundance of supply and sometimes also small office base (which translates into small demand)

hope it helps,


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