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Can my CV even get through to interview stage?

Anonymous A

Hi, I graduated from a top university in the UK with a Master's degree with Distinction in Accounting & Finance and then joined one of the "big 4" accountancy firms in Audit. I'm now a qualified Chartered Accountant and I have just less than 1 year Advisory experience in corporate finance/merger and acquisition in a small accountancy firm. I was rejected by MBB (without even being invited to interview) when I was graduating from the univerity. I'm thinking of applying to MBB again now but not sure whether I stand a chance as I don't even know why I was rejected by MBB when I was a graduate. Would be really grateful if anyone could shed light on why I was rejected and whether I stand a chance now. Many thanks!


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replied on 07/05/2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching


I just answered a similar question, which I will just copy here

The evalatuion criteria can be divided into hard and soft criteria, where hard criteria are e.g. grades, required languages, a minimum of work experience, and work permission and soft criteria relate to e.g. particular industries you have worked in, extra-curricular activities etc.

From the situation you describe, it seems very likely that you do not fulfill one or more of those hard criteria. Some advice on what this means for you:

  1. Grades: If your grades are not sufficient, top strategy consultancies will not invite you, however, smaller consultancies may do so. The grade aspect becomes a bit less relevant the more work experience you have. So you should definitely give it a shot again.
  2. Work experience: Top consultancies require you to have gathered relevant work experience (i.e. in consulting or in large and well-known corporates) - if you lack this experience, it may make sense to complete an internship in a smaller consultancy or in a corporate before applying to top strategy consultancies. You now gathered very relevant experience, so this should not be an issue.
  3. Language: Most offices require you to be fluent in the local language. So assuming you are fluent in English, this is less of an issue in the UK.
  4. Work permit: Do you have a work permit for the UK? If so, mention it on your CV. If not, this will be something that will prevent you from being invited. In this case, consider applying for other offices. You already did work in the UK, so I assume this is not an issue as well.

Additionally, you have "soft facts", which is everything from extracurricular activities to additional languages and interesting hobbies. Anything you can convince MBB with?

Anyways, if you still would like to work for MBB, you should give it a shot - however, if they now invite you (because it was the relevant work experience you lacked after graduation) you will probably have to go through the regular interview process again and you will be only offered a regular entry position.



Vlad replied on 07/05/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


There might be many factors that might have influenced the decision when you were a graduate:

  1. University brand
  2. Internships you had before
  3. The office you are applying to (Competition, Languages, work permit, etc)
  4. Extracurricular activities:
  • Launching your own venture and entrepreneurial activities (even failing them is fine)
  • Grants / scholarships - even better if related to some research or entrepreneurial projects
  • Projects for companies - you may consider doing a free project for the company or a startup or writing a case that future grads will use
  • Volunteer / social activities. I would aim at the activities where you can have a leadership role. Organizing some club may work as well.
  • Case Competitions-especially the ones organized by your target company
  • Researches / articles published in well-known sources

Now, as far as I understand you still don't have that much of work experience so you will be assessed both by your graduate activities and by your career moves so far:

  • Brand of the company
  • Career growth and achievements
  • Postgraduate extracurricular activities

It is hard to asses in detail without seeing your resume.


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Why did you decide to study (major/minor)? How was your boss at (work)? What did you like and dislike? Why do you not want to continue to work for (work/internship)? Explain the thinking process that went into making the decision to do (passage in the CV)? Have you convinced a team to wor ... Open whole case