Can referrals only come from very senior employees?

MBB Referral
New answer on Dec 02, 2022
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 01, 2022

I'm trying to understand how referrals work. 

I'm not exactly sure how senior the person has to be to give a referral. Can they only give referral if they're partners/directors? 

Also another question - I heard recently that MBB no longer allow the referral system for entry level positions. Is this true?

 

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Francesco
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replied on Dec 02, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) I'm not exactly sure how senior the person has to be to give a referral. Can they only give referrals if they're partners/directors? 

No, everyone can provide a referral. I was referred by an Associate at McKinsey and by a partner at BCG and both worked out. However, the more senior the person, the stronger the referral.

2) Also another question - I heard recently that MBB no longer allow the referral system for entry level positions. Is this true?

I haven’t heard this from any of my mentees. This could be country/company dependent, so difficult to provide a clear answer.

You can find more on referrals below:

▶ How to Get a Consulting Interview Invitation

▶ The Exact Steps to Get a Referral

Good luck!

Francesco

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Dennis
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replied on Dec 02, 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

There more senior the person referring you is, the better. The longer the tenure of that person with the firm is, the better.

The reason is that such voices carry more weight than referrals coming from super junior or brand new people. They typically know the HR folks better and have been involved in recruiting activities for a while so it is usually assumed that they have a good grasp of what types of candidates the firm needs.

Any referral is better than no referral but if you can, try to get one from someone higher up in the company 

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Rushabh
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
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Hello,

In addition to what is being mentioned here, in my view - referals only help in getting the interview, at best. Only in some very exceptional cases it could sway the interview results in your favor - but 99.9% of the time - you still have to crack the interviews yourself!

All the best!

Rushabh

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Udayan
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Anyone can refer you into the system. However, a partner referral and especially one with a direct reach out to HR/hiring manager counts for much more than say an Associate inputting your name into an automated referral system.

The more someone can push for you to be hired the better your chances of getting an interview invite.

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Florian
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

1. Not at all. Based purely on my observations:

  • 75% of referrals come from entry-level consultants and Associates
  • 20 % of referrals come from EMs
  • 5% come from AP and higher

2. I have not observed or witnessed this with my coachees so I would say this is not true. It would also not make any sense since MBBs are always struggling to find enough qualified applicants and as a consultant at MBB, HR constantly pushes you to find people.

Cheers,

Florian

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Emre
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updated an answer on Dec 01, 2022
Incoming Bain Consultant | INSEAD MBA | 5 years of consulting and 3 years of entrepreneurship| 50% discount available

Hi there,

For your first question about seniority: If the person who is referring is more senior, the chances of getting an interview could be potentially higher. However, that does not mean that you would not have a chance to get an interview when an entry-level consultant refers you. The most important thing about referrals is how strongly they speak about you to the recruitment team rather than the level of the referrer.

As of my knowledge, referrals still work for MBB if there they didn't update their policies quite recently. Approaches may also change from one office to another.

All the best!

Emre

(edited)

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Adi
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replied on Dec 02, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Anyone can give a referral. Perception wise- more senior, better referral.

Havent heard anything about MBB not allowing referrals for entry level positions. I doubt this to be true.

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Ian
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Let me try to simplify this really clearly :)

  1. A referral can come from anywhere (within firm)
  2. The higher the level, the better
  3. The closer to home office, the better
  4. Referral is a big help to interview invite chances, not interview passing chances (that's on you)
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Maikol
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

Again and again, a referral from roles below manager is useless and yes, I confirm, many offices completely disregard it.

That said, referrals help only to get interviews (with some rare exceptions). 

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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