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Can I apply for visiting associate in one of the MBBs' Gulf offices?

Bain BCG McKinsey Middle East visiting associate
New answer on Apr 16, 2024
8 Answers
219 Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 20, 2024

Hello,
 

I graduated in 2021 from a master's degree in management, public policy, and international relations. My background is in economics and political science. I have 2 years of professional experience (excluding internships).

I want to switch to strategy consulting and I am particularly interested in the Gulf region. However, it seems that I will have to wait a couple more months before being refereed there because some MBBs offices are fully staffed for 2024.

A consultant suggested that I apply for the visiting associate position. Therefore, I was wondering whether:

- Is it possible given that I have been working for 2 years and that I am no longer a student? In Europe, these programs are considered internships, so I am a bit confused.

- Would it be my best option or should I wait to apply for a consultant position directly?

- In your opinion, what other firms have an interesting presence in the region?

Thank you for your time and advice!

Overview of answers

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Best answer
Niklas
Expert
replied on Mar 20, 2024
McKinsey Jr. Engagement Manager | Interviewer at McK| Coached numerous candidates to secure MBB offers | University of Oxford

Hi,

Indeed, Visiting Associate positions are internship positions. Given those are catered to students / MBA students, I would rather try to find a way to apply directly to full-time positions, unless you are currently doing an MBA. 

First of all, it's generally advisable to follow the structure of how those firms have setup their recruiting and doing an internship with 2 years of full-time experience does not fall into their structure. Secondly, you would need to quit your current full time job to do an internship, which is also not ideal.

So in conclusion, I'd try to find out who is currently (or in the next few months) hiring for full-time consultant positions and apply for that. 

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Anonymous A on Mar 21, 2024

Thank you for your response. This makes much more sense. I will apply for full-time positions directly.

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 21, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Is it possible given that I have been working for 2 years and that I am no longer a student? In Europe, these programs are considered internships, so I am a bit confused.

With 2 years of experience, it seems you match the Analyst (McKinsey) / Associate (BCG/Bain) position. I would try to clarify why they recommend the Visiting Associate position instead as it doesn't seem the right fit.

2) Would it be my best option or should I wait to apply for a consultant position directly?

The standard position with 2 years of experience should be Analyst (McKinsey) / Associate (BCG/Bain), not Visiting Associate.

3) In your opinion, what other firms have an interesting presence in the region?

You can find a list of top consulting firms globally below:

Top 15 Consulting Firms by Revenues and Prestige

Good luck!

Francesco

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Anonymous A on Mar 21, 2024

Thank you for your response and the list!

Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 16, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

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

  • First of all, given your work experience, I would advise you to aim for an entry-level position and (possibly) get some of your work experience credited. Moreover, feel free to reach out to the recruiting departments of the target offices you are interested in directly to discuss this further.
  • Moreover, I would advise you to rather wait if only then you will be able to secure a referral. The consulting industry is still not in the best shape, thus you would want to have the strongest application possible.
  • Lastly, there are several other consulting firms with a strong presence in the Gulf region, such as Oliver Wyman, Kearney and Roland Berger.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

 

You can find the DACH consulting salaries report 2024 here!

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 21, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

A couple of pointers:

  • Middle East/Gulf offices are still hiring albeit at a slower pace. I am working with several candidates for different firms/offices at the moment.
  • With 2 years of work experience, you would not qualify for an internship/visiting role in most companies. The rationale is that the internship is something to try out during your studies but with experience under your belt you should know what you want and go for a ft entry.
  • I would go for a consultant position right away and network/score referrals to increase your chances for an invitation.

All the best,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Mar 21, 2024

Thank you for your response. This makes more sense indeed. Another consultant advised me to get several referrals in the same firm or to directly talk to HR as sometimes people say they do refer but they actually do not. Is that a relevant and effective strategy?

Florian on Mar 21, 2024

hmm, I would say that most people would stick to their word. HR per see cannot issue referrals but you can clarify with them about the process and ask if they have received a referral.

Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 21, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

I agree with the overall sentiment. After 2 years of work experience, you should not be doing internships anymore. All of MBB and most Tier 2 companies are well represented in the region. Some of them are definitely still hiring for 2024. 

If you are serious about wanting to pursue consulting, you should definitely apply broadly as competition is stiff, especially in the current economic environment. Only applying to the 3 MBB companies might not be enough to secure an offer. They can still be your top picks, but you'll increase your odds by casting a wider net.

Best of luck

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 21, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Personally, I would just wait the 3 months.

I would keep working where you're working and aim for promotions. I would apply to firms outside of MBB (strategy&, Kearney, etc.) and/or outside of the Gulf.

I would personally not do the internship and rather just bide my time for the full time role.

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Anonymous A on Mar 21, 2024

Hello there and thank you for your response. I agree. Apart form the Gulf, I guess there are other hubs for internationals. Singapore being of them. Are there any other places who hire a great deal of foreigners?

Pedro
Expert
replied on Mar 20, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Hi there,

You are right. You should not apply to that role but to a full time position instead.

Regarding other firms… all of the relevant ones are in the region: Mckinsey, Bain, BCG, Roland Berger, Kearney, Oliver Wyman, EY Parthenon, Strategy&, Monitor Deloitte, …

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Anonymous A on Mar 21, 2024

Thank you, this is helpful!

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 21, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

How strict they are in terms of how they define ‘visiting’ (i.e., whether you're still a student or not) varies from region to region. 

So I would just reach out to the recruiter and discuss it directly with them if I were you. 

Most likely it shouldn't be a problem. 

Discussing with the recruiter also has the added benefit of you knowing whether it even makes sense to be applying now (as in, whether they are even accepting applications) or rather it makes sense to wait. 

Best,
Cristian

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Niklas gave the best answer

Niklas

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