Boutique consulting to MBB

BCG McKinsey and Bain Boutique consulting firms Experienced Hire
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
8 Answers
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Mrina asked on Apr 05, 2020

Dear all,

I have a total experience of 6 years. First four years (pre-MBA) in a global EPC (engineering, procurement and construction company) and 2 years (post-MBA) in a boutique consulting company in India. The consulting company I am currently working with is a well-known company in operations consulting.

I have two questions.

Is it possible to make a transition to MBB?

If yes, how do I land an interview with MBB?

Overview of answers

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Emily
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replied on Apr 06, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi Mrinmayee,

Yes, it is totally possible given your experience.

You just need to apply to MBB (try go via the referral route if possible which can help increase your chance of getting an interview). Meanwhile polish up your resume and start preparing for interviews (both FIT and Case). Given you have been working in consulting for 2 years, you should have a head start compared to others.

Good luck,

Emily

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Chris
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replied on Apr 05, 2020
McKinsey EM, 8 years recruiting interviews, 4 years professional coaching, 1000+ candidates helped

Hi Mrinmayee, thanks for the question! I'm happy to provide a few thoughts that may help:

1) Is it possible to make a transition to MBB?

You absolutely could make the transition to an MBB firm given your profile. Operations-focused consulting is usually the largest practice for a multi-disiciplinary firm, given its broad application throughout an organization, and Operations experts are always in high demand.

That, coupled with your MBA and previous EPC experience would make you a great asset to an MBB firm, or most other consulting firms!

2) If yes, how do I land an interview with MBB?

In terms of landing an interview, a few steps you can start preparing:

  • Begin or continue networking to find people currently at MBB firms; they can share their personal experience with their firms to help you decide where you'd fit in best, and then can help refer you through the process when you're ready to apply
  • Prepare and refine your cover letter and resume to focus on the skills and attributes each firm is looking for; while there is certainly some overlap between the firms, they also have unique characteristics you'll need to highlight to stand out from other candidates
  • Begin working on your case and fit interview techniques; MBB firms can move very quickly when they've identified a high-potential candidate, and interviews can sometimes be scheduled with 1 week of applying in best-case scenarios, not leaving much time for prep before your big day!

I'm happy to chat more if you have questions or comments, just message me on PrepLounge anytime, and best of luck! :-)

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 06, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Mrinmayee,

I replied below to your questions:

Is it possible to make a transition to MBB?

Potentially yes. Usually it is easier to transit from an international second or even third-tier consulting company rather than a boutique but it is definitely not impossible.

If yes, how do I land an interview with MBB?

I would recommend to work on a referral strategy, you can find more at the following link:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Best,
Francesco

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Vlad
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replied on Apr 06, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

1) Absolutely, why not

2) The best way is getting a referral:

There are certain criteria for the referral:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets a referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.

The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!

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Luca
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replied on Apr 10, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello Mrinmayee,

Is it possible to make a transition to MBB?

Sure, especially if your boutique company is well-known for a specific practice, you can definetely apply for MBB. It would be easier, also considering your working experience, if you apply as experienced hire and operations expert.

how do I land an interview with MBB?

There is not a recipe, otherwise it wouldn't be so difficult. The most important things that you have to take care of in order to maximise the chances are:

  • Build your own network
  • Try to get a referral (it's important especially for experienced hire)
  • Prepare for the interviews in the right way

Best,
Luca

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Antonello
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replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
I totally recommend trying for it. Getting a referral is the best way to accelerate / guarantee an interview. Try to reach ex alumni of your master now in consulting and look for MBB but also tier 2 (I found OW, ATK, S&, RB really great)

Best,
Antonello

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Clara
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replied on Apr 06, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

To your doubts:

  1. Yes, indeed, probably easier in your same location -so you can leverage the brand you are working for-.
  2. First thing would be to get the interview, for which you can try:
    1. Send your CV directly
    2. Attend recruiting/networking events in your geography
    3. Leverage your network to be referred

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Marcello
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replied on Apr 06, 2020
FREE Coaching tailoring | Active Associate @MonitorDeloitte | Interviewer @Monitor@Altran

Hi Mrinmayee,

Hope everything ids going well.

Aswering your questions:

1) Yes, absolutely. For the profile that you describe you could be a good fit for MBB or any other strategy firm (Big4 or Boutique). You bring industrial expertise (which is highly valuable in a world were consulting needs to be every day more industry focused) together with an MBA and consulting experience

2) To get into the process and land an interview I would suggest goin via a referral. It is the best way for experienced consultants/professionals to get into the radar and be able to demonstrate their skills. You can get referrals via (of course) friends you may have in consulting firms, the Business School were you did our MBA (May lecturers, the consulting club or collegues know someone) or joining public events that the firms may organize.

Hope this helps!

Marcello

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Emily gave the best answer

Emily

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BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University
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