Call with a senior partner

New answer on Oct 31, 2020
8 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Oct 30, 2020

Hi everyone,

I have secured a 15 min call with an MBB senior partner. The call is on the topic of the video/interview which he was part of and we both share the same level of interest on this topic.

What tips can you share that can lead to a possible referral? I know asking directly is not polite, what can be other alternatives for asking for endorsement/referral?

Thank you

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Congrats, those conversations are a good opportunity!

Mostly, you need to treat them as FIT interviews, particularly the Intro&CV part and the Motivational part.

On top of the insights already shared in the post, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Furthermore, you can find 2 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

Those two are particularly good practice for meeting with a partner, since the conversation will emcompass those topics for sure!

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch!

Integrated FIT Guide for MBB

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 30, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

So, you can "Hint" at a referral. What I mean is, you can say "Thanks so much for your time. You've definitely confirmed for me that this is a great place to work and I'll be planning to apply in the coming weeks. Are there any tips or pieces of advice you have for me?"

^This is the closest you can get to asking for a referral.

You also have a "Second chance", whereby you can send the Partner an email a few days before applying. Essentially let them know you are applying in the coming days, thank them again for the time.

In terms of how to conduct yourself during the call...

Ask For Yourself

While a coffee chat is a way for you to make a good impression, please remember that it's also about you making sure this job + path are right for you!

To prepare, think about things you'd like to learn about the company. Ask about your person's experience at the firm, where they've come from, if they have any advice for you etc. Be inquisitive and interested in what they have to say, and feel free to ask thoughtful follow-up questions.

Have Your Pitch Ready

In terms of what they'll ask you, make sure you have your 30 second pitch prepared! Who are you in a nutshell and why are you interested in BCG and strategy consulting?

Ask About Them

People love to talk about themselves. Just ask them what they've worked on recently or what their journey at BCG has been like. Importantly, do your research beforehand - find out what they've done and try and pick something from their past that looks interesting to you. Tailor your questions just like they tailor their FIT questions to your resume.

"So, how did you end up in the Industrial Goods sector?" "I saw you worked on a big digital transformation for a financial services company - I experienced one myself and it seemed so hard to move such a big organisation. What did you see as the major challenges and breakthrough moments?"

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Oct 31, 2020
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

I would stress the importance of striking a good balance between building a relationship and asking for a referral. You are much better off with him thinking "I am happy to offer more time to you and will respond to your future emails" than "another overly keen candidate... I will ask them to forward me their CV just as a formality...".

Many candidates will fall in the latter camp where one of the common complaints I have consistently heard from senior partners with these types of conversations is the 'millenial' mindset/behaviour candidates have these days. For example, joining the call late, strong sense of entitlement, no research on them/their industry, lack of respect and appreciation, etc.

(Senior) partners are used to being asked by different people including their client CEOs to help their kid get into MBB/Ivy League etc. At the same time, they won't just casually give out referrals as its their reputation on the line too.

Here's a suggestion of how you could structure/prepare for your call:

1. Brief intro: have a 45-60 seconds concise but engaging personal introduction ready. It's always nice to connect why you have reached out to them with your background (e.g., senior partner in the airline industry - you grew up in an airline family where both your grand father and father were pilots which led to your interest in the industry where you did your last summer internship, coincidentally you bumped into an MBB team there and realised you the excitement of solving C-level industry problems, etc.). Stories, even if short, stick!

2. Discussion on their perspectives and personal experience: assuming you have reached out expressing interest in the topic of the video, make sure you have 3-5 thoughtful questions to ask as well as a meaningful amount of basic knowledge to show this is a topic that you are genuinely interested. I say "discussion" as you don't want it to be an interview/monologue but an opportunity for you to engage and share some of your observations and perspectives

3. Ask for "advice": people always like giving advice (this PrepLounge Q&A is case in point!). Instead of coming across overly tactical about wanting to get a referral, ask him for broader career advices and some of the things he would do if he were in your shoes

Good luck!


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Ken on Oct 31, 2020

One additional thought. I'm not sure how strong your network is at that specific firm but one other thing you could ask is for the senior partner to connect you with consultants he works with who would help you better understand that firm/office etc. This will help you build a natural 'network effect' which will also increase your chances of a 'meaningful' referral as well as getting good advice to succeed with their selection process!

replied on Oct 31, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Great opportunity!

I would suggest the following:

  • Do your homework - prepare your pitch and few good questions to have a great conversation and actually use it for your own benefit
  • Don't focus the conversation on your applciation, but make it a great conversation about that shared topic.
  • At the end ask them how to go about to make sure your application is considered? Anyone specific to reach out to when sending your documents? This will open the door for them to offer their help - but don't get frustrated if they don't jump on it. Senior partner referrals are rare.

Good luck!

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Great! That's amazing opportunity. What you can do is to prepare yourself for the phone call. Focus on making a good first impression and do not try pass on your resume. They will ask for it if they like you.

Was it helpful for you?

If you need any further help with networking, drop me a line.


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Well done on securing the call. You should prepare three main things before it:

  • Your own pitch. 3-4 lines should be enough
  • 3-4 questions on the personal experiences of the person. Avoid to ask questions solely on the company
  • A closing question for the referral. It should be an indirect request to avoid to be pushy

Before the call, you should have your CV and Cover ready – in this way you can send them right away it if the person wants to refer you.

You can find more information on how to structure a referral process at the link below:

For more information please feel free to PM me.



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replied on Oct 31, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer


For your call, I would advise you to think about the following:

  • Present yourself: briefly introduce yourself with the key points in your professional & academic lives
  • Establish a common ground: explain why you reached out to this person in particular and not another one (it might be that you are from the same country, you are interested in his area of expertise, you went to the same school, etc.)
  • Be clear about the goal of the call: a Partner is generally very busy, so make a good use of his/her time. Be prepared!
  • Show interest in his firm/practice/region: a Partner knows that you are looking for a referral (he/she is also looking to hire talent), so be yourself, show interest in the work done in their office and ask for advice for the recruitment process

Do not hesitate to DM if you need to further discuss those points.

All the best,

Mehdi :)

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there, other coaches have given great tips already. My only two nuggets:

1. Only when you remove the need to "impress him" that you can be yourself and truly impress. In the desire to impress you will end up saying things unnaturally. Just approach this as a chat with any stranger you want to get to know for the first time.

2. Dont ask don't get- so dont be afraid to ask for that favour at an appropirta point during the call. The partner is not naive and must have such convos day in day out.

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Clara gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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