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Can I negotiate my entry position in McKinsey (from BA to Junior Associate/Associate)?

entry level
New answer on Nov 15, 2020
6 Answers
1.8 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 26, 2020

Hi Preploungers,

I am going through the hiring process with McKinsey. I have done my 1st round of interviews. I am being interviewed for a BA position, however, this is because I applied almost 1.5 years ago and pushed back interviews until now. I have a non-business master degree from a reputable university in my country and upon starting with McKinsey I will hit the two years mark in my current job. My job is within the corporate innovation (business related job). Therefore, given these data points, would it be possible to negotiate changing my entry position from BA to JA or Associate? If yes, when? after receiving the offer or now?

Note: I have a backup plan to start my MPA in a top tier school and I plan to use that as negotiation tactics if it's feasible.

Looking forward to your answers.


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Anonymous replied on Jun 26, 2020

Hi there,

I guess it's an uphill battle, but if your interview performance could convince the partners that you are ready for the associate role, go for it.

However, bear in mind these points

  • To be eligible for Associate, you need more than 2 years experience + Masters/MBA
  • Entering as an Associate is rather risky because once you enter you will be competing with other associates that entered as analysts and have 2 years McK experience under their belt

So overall, I recommend that you aim for the stars, but don't be disappointed if reality takes you only to the nearest planet :)

I hope this helps


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Mohammad on Jun 26, 2020

Thanks Khaled. It sure does help. One thing to add is that there is a case where one person graduated from my university with the same degree and less than six months of professional experience and he was hired as a Junior Associate. Do you think it’s professional to bring this case up when negotiating?

Jean on Oct 20, 2020

hey I am going through the same at the moment! How did it go if you do not mind sharing?!

Content Creator
replied on Jun 28, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, you can negotiate it, assuming you have solid argumentation for that. And no worries about that, nobody will take that personally, so no direct downside for that.

However, also please be aware that the expectation level also rises with your position. Unless you are fully confident about it, you might want to consider taking the lower entry rank and being promoted faster, as opposed to being overwhelmed and potentially failing in the higher entry rank.

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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Content Creator
replied on Jun 29, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Totally disagreew with the last posts.

I have never seen anyone succeding in those negotiations, let it be for position or money.

They offer what they offer, and it´s a take it or leave it. One of my coachees precisely rejected a McK offer since he was equivalent to EM and they made him only an Associate offer -wtih promise of fast promo, yes, but still downgrade-.

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Jul 02, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

I agree with Clara,

Don't look a gifthorse in the mouth.

You can "ask lightly" and say something like "I just wanted to check that you think this role makes the most sense, as opposed to a JA role", but that's the most you can push it.

Furthermore, I really don't even see you as a compelling candidate for a higher are a BA with or without 2 years work experience.

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Anonymous updated the answer on Nov 15, 2020

Yes, you can! And I speak with first-hand experience: When I interviewed with McKinsey I was quite a senior candidate - coming from an MBA with 8 years pre-MBA experience. During my last interview with a partner the conversation came on my experience and I asked him upfront if they will honor this in the offer through a higher starting position or a higher sign-on bonus.

They agreed and gave me an offer for a Senior Associate position, whereas the typical post MBA position is an Associate. So yes: it's possible and given your more than average experience, you should absolutely try to leverage that!


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 15, 2020
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360 coach(Ex-McKinsey + Certified Coach + Active recruiter)

Hi there,

Of course, you can ask your HR and try to negotiate. But you have to be ready for the conversation and have a strong explanation.

That would be an absolutely normal question as HRs hear it a lot, no worries.

Do you need any further help?

All the best,


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