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

Bain BCG BestOffices Hardest MBB McKinsey
New answer on Nov 10, 2023
8 Answers
36.2 k Views
Rob asked on Mar 04, 2018
McKinsey Offer & Apple Offer - Accepted Apple Offer (Take 2 for Consulting in 4 years)

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
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


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


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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!



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Rob on Mar 04, 2018

Thank you very much Bruno! Makes sense

Content Creator
replied on Nov 26, 2022
Limited Availability | BCG Expert | Middle East Expert | 100+ Mocks Delivered | IESE & NYU MBA | Ex-KPMG Dxb Consultant


There is definitely a certain bar that you need to match first when it comes to skills, personality fit, etc. 

Beyond which it is purely a demand and supply game.



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Anonymous replied on Oct 31, 2022


Difficulty of securing an offer is equal across firms but differs by location. Popular locations receive more applications and thus theoretically are more difficult to secure an offer (e.g., London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore).

You suggest that you take this into account for your application.

Best regards,


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 10, 2023
ex Jr. Partner McKinsey |Senior Interviewer| Real Feedback & Free Homework between sessions|Harvard Coach|10+ Experience

Yes this is true depending on geography though. Germany for instance doesn't make a difference which office you apply but in the US it does make a huge interest. Warm regards, Frederic 

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Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

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.



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replied on Mar 04, 2018
Former BCG interviewer

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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Anonymous A replied on Oct 30, 2020

At least in the US, there appears to be a general consensus that New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are the three most competitive offices to land offers from.

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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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