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Can a graduate from a target US university recruit for Middle East offices?

MBB mbb big4 Middle East recruiting T2 target school
Recent activity on Apr 18, 2023
7 Answers
729 Views
Anonymous A asked on Apr 17, 2023

Hello,

I am an international student who will graduate next year from a top 10 university in the US (non-ivy - think Stanford, Duke, UChicago,Northwestern, MIT) and aim to recruit full-time for middle east offices (Dubai, Riyadh, Abu-Dhabi) as I am really interested in the region and will be closer to home. 

1.How feasible can that be? Have you ever heard of students in the US doing a similar move?

2. I would say that I am proficient in Arabic and have friends in the region so the transition shouldn't be hard for me. I have a couple of high school connections (even some family members) that work at target offices there, but only a few of my university graduates work in the region (some have done an MBA here), would that be an issue when it comes to networking and brand recognition? 

3.Would coming from a top university in the US be an advantage in recruiting for the region? Would "target" universities in the US also be considered “target” universities in the region and worldwide? (I heard that offices in the region love to attract foreign talent, especially as some are currently expanding into Saudi Arabia).

Please feel free to add any information that you think could be helpful for me to know when it comes to recruiting in the region as a US university graduate!

(edited)

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Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 18, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Aim to recruit full-time for middle east offices. How feasible can that be? Have you ever heard of students in the US doing a similar move?

Yes, I have coached candidates who have done it.

2) I have a couple of high school connections (even some family members) that work at target offices there, but only a few of my university graduates work in the region (some have done an MBA here), would that be an issue when it comes to networking and brand recognition? 

You just need one referral to strengthen your application, so if with the current connections you can get one, that would be enough. You can find some tips for that below:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation

▶ The Exact Steps to Get a Referral

3) Would coming from a top university in the US be an advantage in recruiting for the region? Would "target" universities in the US also be considered “target” universities in the region and worldwide?

Most likely yes and you can check that on LinkedIn: if you see a good number of alumni, it means your university is likely considered a target one there.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 18, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Yes, absolutely!

Your profile seems to work well for it.

Remember, networking is going to be key for this transition.

1.How feasible can that be? Have you ever heard of students in the US doing a similar move?

I think it's definitely feasible for you. I have a student right now that is actually doing that exact move.

2. I would say that I am proficient in Arabic and have friends in the region so the transition shouldn't be hard for me. I have a couple of high school connections (even some family members) that work at target offices there, but only a few of my university graduates work in the region (some have done an MBA here), would that be an issue when it comes to networking and brand recognition? 

Not an issue at all! Connect with all of them.

3.Would coming from a top university in the US be an advantage in recruiting for the region? Would "target" universities in the US also be considered “target” universities in the region and worldwide? (I heard that offices in the region love to attract foreign talent, especially as some are currently expanding into Saudi Arabia).

I would say yes, but depends on which school and what recognition it has in the Middle East. But, in general, Middle East absolutely wants top US talent.

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 17, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

That's a great question. Let me break it down into parts. 

1.How feasible can that be? Have you ever heard of students in the US doing a similar move?

Yes, I've seen similar cases and have coached candidates precisely in this sort of situation. What definitely helps a lot is to have connections in the region to help you with referrals and definitely some sort of Middle Eastern background yourself (ethnicity, language, etc. definitely help).

2. I would say that I am proficient in Arabic and have friends in the region so the transition shouldn't be hard for me. I have a couple of high school connections (even some family members) that work at target offices there, but only a few of my university graduates work in the region (some have done an MBA here), would that be an issue when it comes to networking and brand recognition? 

No. You don't necessarily have to be from a target university to be considered, though that makes it easier in terms of getting referrals. 

3.Would coming from a top university in the US be an advantage in recruiting for the region? Would "target" universities in the US also be considered “target” universities in the region and worldwide? (I heard that offices in the region love to attract foreign talent, especially as some are currently expanding into Saudi Arabia).

Yes, the US brand is definitely helpful when going for a job with a top consulting firm, even if we're not talking about an Ivy league university. 


Additionally, I'd suggest you read the following article to understand how to best approach the recruitment process:

Best,
Cristian

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 17, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • First of all, based on the experience of my coachees, I would highly advise you not to worry since chances are high you will be a highly sought-after candidate in Middle Eastern offices as well, given your education and language proficiency.
  • Besides these aspects, please keep in mind visa requirements for the Middle East when coming from the US. Fortunately, however, highly international offices, such as the ones in the Middle East, are accustomed to receiving applications from individuals without a visa. As such, I would highly advise you to reach out to the recruiter after the invitation to inquire about visa sponsorship.

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

Best,

Hagen

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Andreas
Expert
replied on Apr 17, 2023
McKinsey EM | Top MBB Coach | >70% Success Rate | Free Introductory Calls

Hi there,

I think this is totally feasible. Target universities in the US most likely are also regarded as top universities in the Mid East region. You speaking Arabic is def. a plus. Only thing to discuss could be Visa sponsorship - but that should be a minor.

Good luck!

Andreas

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Sophia
Expert
replied on Apr 18, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hi,

I definitely agree with the advice here already - top US universities are considered some of the best in the world, and absolutely would be considered “target” schools worldwide. The fact that you speak Arabic will also be a huge plus. The only additional hurdles to overcome would be networking - ME offices tend not to come to recruit from US target schools so proactively for logistical reasons, but I imagine they would be very interested in you if you can get your foot in the door via connections there. You mention you already know a few people who work at the ME offices you're targeting, which is great! I'd encourage you to reach out to them and more (e.g., cold emails, LinkedIn) to start developing a network and show that you are interested. The only other thing to think about would be Visas, which I imagine can be sorted out too.

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 18, 2023
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

You seem to have a great profile for them. Honestly, I can't see why you wouldn't be able to make it work. Go for it!

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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