Breaking In After Graduation, No Work Experience

Application timing Fresh Graduate
New answer on Jul 03, 2021
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Jul 03, 2021

Hi all, 

I recently graduated from Yale with a 3.56 GPA this May (I struggled initially, but my GPA in the last two years of college was a 3.9).

I found out about consulting pretty late in my senior year and missed the oppurtunity to apply to most firms outside of BCG. (They had a second round in mid-Spring. While I made it to the final round, I did not recieve an offer.)

My question is, what are my chances of at least getting my foot in the door at this point? Moreover, what should that look like? I know people stress the importance of netorking, but I only know one other consultant who only recently started at another MBB firm. Will firms even consider me?

Of specific worry is the fact that all the firms I've looked at seem to specify they either want applicants in the final year of college or an expeirnced hire–of which I am niether. So logistically, I'm unsure how to even begin my application process.


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 03, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

You should be able to apply also as new grad – ideally you can discuss this with the people you will interact with while networking.

There are 3 main things you need to be invited for interviews:

  • great CV
  • great Cover (not always required)
  • referral – the more senior the person the better


Key elements they will look for and that you have to optimize are:

  • University brand
  • Major
  • GPA
  • Internships/work experience
  • Experience abroad
  • Extracurriculars and volunteer experience

Red flags include:

  • Very low GPA
  • Lack of any kind of work experience
  • Bad formatting / typos
  • 3-4 pages length
  • Lack of clear action --> results structure for the bullets of the experiences
  • Long paragraphs (3-4 lines) for the bullets of the experiences with irrelevant details
  • Long time gaps without any explanation

The main issue for you could be the GPA (a good GPA for MBB would be 3.7+) but can be compensated with referrals (see below)


You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 – the one you are referring to – you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.


To find a referral, you should follow three steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write to them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

You can find more information on the steps here:

If you need help with getting an invitation please PM me, I do a session where we can optimize everything you need for an invitation (referrals included).



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Content Creator
replied on Jul 03, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

To be honest it's not easy, especially if you are not currently working, but it is possible.

You're really going to have to network aggresively. You do not need to know people to network.

To network effectively, follow these immediate tips:

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 03, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

I would fully focus on the networking and referral aspects.

Given the fact that you got invited for BCG interviews and even managed to get to the final round points to the fact that your resume and experiences are valued by top-tier firms.

How can you go about it?

In general, there are three ways to link with consulting firms and their employees:

a. Participation in events

Attend recruiting events, talk to the consultants. Get an impression of the firm and the people and leverage the contacts you have made for a referral afterward.

b. Networking with consultants and alumni

Tap into your network. Chances are some of your peers are working for your target firm. If not, use Linkedin and other platforms to reach out to consultants of your desired employer. You have a better chance when reaching out to people with a common background (alumni of your school, same hometown, same previous employer, same clubs, etc.)

c. Try to get into a mentorship program

Firms such as McKinsey and BCG have talent programs for high-potentials to mentor them during their studies. Being part of these programs is a referral in itself and an invitation to the interviews is almost guaranteed. However, getting into one of those is not as easy either and we discuss this in more detail in our networking article linked above.

The more

  • referrals
  • diverse
  • senior

the better will be your chances to move to the interviews or aptitude test stage of the application.

Fingers crossed!




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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 03, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience
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replied on Jul 03, 2021
Former McKinsey & Google manager w/ experience interviewing 100+ candidates ✅ Provides detailed & actionable feedback ✅

You are a Yale graduate with a good GPA so firms will definitely consider you. I would approach consider a few options to pursue in parallel (assuming you haven't already started another job):

1) Network with people in your target consulting firms through school alums, mutual connections etc. Understand the timeline of next recuiront cycles and whether they do off cycle, this can vary by office

2) Reach out and apply for plan B jobs in parallel, if you weren't joining consulting right away, what would you be interested in doing? Go into something that fits your interest and have transferable skills to consulting. Tech companies and high growth startups are always a good idea

3) Pursue a passion project, mentoring, volunteering, start a blog/ podcast, etc. so that you are not idle. Again go after what makes sense for you but if they are also transferable skill sets/ topics that would be a plus

All the best and feel free to follow up if you have other questions.

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Francesco gave the best answer


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