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Bain Manager Referral + MIsc. Qs

application strength Application timing GPA Referral
Edited on Apr 10, 2024
5 Answers
182 Views
Jesse
Skilled
asked on Apr 06, 2024

Hello!

I have 2 years of experience as an Enlisted Cyber NCO in the Navy, plus 6 years in the Navy Reserves. I also have 4 years of experience consulting and advising executive and political leadership in the U.S. government and Department of Defense on national security, organizational change management, and process design and improvement - Booz & a boutique firm. Received 4 promotions across both companies in 4 years. I'm 28 years old, with a Bachelor's in Finance from Penn State (2.6 GPA, 3.1 major GPA) and an MBA in Supply Chain Management and Finance from Penn State (3.99 GPA).

I received a local referral to the office I'm targeting. I'm curious about Bain's referral system - does a referral tag just the current application or also any future ones? And what's the typical interview invite rate for referred candidates (e.g. high, medium, low)?

Securing this referral was incredibly challenging, taking over 6 months of extensive outreach. I'm quite nervous about potentially fumbling this opportunity given factors like my application timing, undergrad GPA, background in federal consulting vice industry. Qs below:

  • Should I apply as soon as I'm ready to case? Or wait until a specific timeframe, or possibly for the business cycle to stabilize? Concerned I'll be wasting a referral when there are no requirements to fill.
  • Should I include my undergrad GPA on my resume? Pros/Cons of not doing so? Concerned resume gets thrown out if I don't, but then again a 2.6 GPA is abysmal and might be an auto-no regardless.
  • How to overcome the federal consulting stigma? Federal projects are largely looked at as staff augmentation, but I've done well in finding interesting projects that are consulting/advising focused. Advice on how to communicate this would be great.

 

Best,

Jesse

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 08, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi Jesse,

Q1: Does a referral tag just the current application or also any future ones? And what's the typical interview invite rate for referred candidates (e.g. high, medium, low)?

Referrals work for the current application. Referrals help to accelerate the review process of your application. If your application is not solid enough, the referral will not make the difference.

Q2: Should I apply as soon as I'm ready to case? Or wait until a specific timeframe, or possibly for the business cycle to stabilize? 

MBB are reviewing applications and interviewing the whole year. If your application is solid and you have a referral, there is no reason for not applying now. Other thing is when would you start working in case you get an offer.

You can check how the recruiting process works from an internal MBB perspective here:

MBB Hiring Hacks - Behind the Curtain Secrets

Q3: Should I include my undergrad GPA on my resume?

I advise against including your GPA in your CV. It is below MBB screening standards. Try to focus your resume on your work experience.

Q4: How to overcome the federal consulting stigma? 

Include in your CV the main consulting skills you learned during that time along with your achievements. 

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

(edited)

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Jesse on Apr 24, 2024

Thank you!

Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 10, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi Jesse,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your questions:

  • First of all, a referral is typically only valid for the application it is linked to; your chances will increase slightly with a referral, but please don't expect it to make up for any major weaknesses in your application.
  • Moreover, I would advise you to apply as soon as you feel almost fully prepared for the case and behavioral interviews.
  • Concerning your undergrad GPA, it's a tricky situation. If you include it, it could raise questions, but if you leave it out, the recruiter will most likely ask about it specifically. Therefore, I would advise you to include it.
  • Lastly, I would advise you to very clearly communicate the impact of your projects and the strategic roles you've played in your resume. It's all about framing your experiences in a way that showcases your consulting capabilities and potential to contribute to industry projects.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming Bain interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

 

You can find the DACH consulting salaries report 2024 here!

(edited)

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Jesse on Apr 24, 2024

Thank you!

Hagen on Apr 24, 2024

Sure, Jesse, always happy to help you!

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 07, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Jesse,

1) Does a referral tag just the current application or also any future ones?

A referral is valid for the single application to which it refers only. 

2) And what's the typical interview invite rate for referred candidates (e.g. high, medium, low)?

It is higher than without referral. Whether it will be a good chance in your case depends on a number of variables (eg, your CV, whether the office is hiring), thus it is not possible to comment just based on what you shared.

3) Should I apply as soon as I'm ready to case? Or wait until a specific timeframe, or possibly for the business cycle to stabilize? 

Unless the person referring you said the company is not hiring, you can apply as soon as you feel you could be ready by the time of the interview.

4) Should I include my undergrad GPA on my resume?

I would not recommend including a 2.6 GPA on your CV.

5) How to overcome the federal consulting stigma?  

I don’t think you will have issues based on the industry where you worked. The main thing I would recommend is to ensure your experiences are properly communicated on your CV. You can find some tips for that below: 

How to Craft a Great CV for Consulting

Best,

Francesco

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Jesse on Apr 07, 2024

Thanks!

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 08, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Jesse, you have a cool profile and lots of questions :) Let me take them one by one. 

  • Should I apply as soon as I'm ready to case? Or wait until a specific timeframe, or possibly for the business cycle to stabilize? Concerned I'll be wasting a referral when there are no requirements to fill.
    • Reach out to the recruiter and tell them that you have a referral and ask if there's an expiration date for it and if they are currently recruiting.
    • Assuming there is no deadline then apply when you are 70-80% ready with the prep
  • Should I include my undergrad GPA on my resume? Pros/Cons of not doing so? Concerned resume gets thrown out if I don't, but then again a 2.6 GPA is abysmal and might be an auto-no regardless.
    • I would highlight instead any other achievements and your positioning within the cohort. So for instance highlighting that you were within the top 10% of the class for course X.
  • How to overcome the federal consulting stigma? Federal projects are largely looked at as staff augmentation, but I've done well in finding interesting projects that are consulting/advising focused. Advice on how to communicate this would be great.
    • I'm sorry but I don't understand the question. Clarify it in the comments and I'll get back to it. 

You might also find this guide useful if you are currently setting up your application process. It explains what you should prepare:

Best,
Cristian

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Jesse on Apr 24, 2024

Hi Cristian, I appreciate your advice. The recruiter point is well taken! Throughout my experience with federal consulting a consistent observation is that transitioning from federal-focused consulting (e.g. gov clients) to industry can be difficult. Government is slower, less financial objective driven, the application of strategy is much different. This begs the question of whether many of the skills transferrable, and by that nature adds a perceived 'concern' in the recruiters eyes when compared to candidates that went directly to undergrad.

Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 08, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

1. This referral is valid for this application, not future ones.  It helps you in getting an interview (increases your chances) but doesn't guarantee you one.

2. You should apply once you are ready to case. There's no reason to wait. The sooner you apply the better - unless you have any specific information suggesting they are not recruiting at all.

3. Do not include your undergrad GPA. You have a masters now, and a good GPA on that one! :)

4. They hire you for potential, not for specific experience. Don't worry too much about any “stigma”. There's a lot of interesting stuff in your CV, to be honest, meaning that no specific experience weights too much, and the breadth of experience is valuable in itself.

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Jesse on Apr 24, 2024

Thank you! I appreciate your kind words, and advice.

Alberto gave the best answer

Alberto

Content Creator
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews
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