Chances of making Partner in MBB?

Bain BCG career progression MBB McKinsey partner promotion
New answer on May 12, 2020
8 Answers
6.0 k Views
Anonymous A asked on May 08, 2020

Dear experts.

I know the odds of getting into MBB are relatively small (maybe one out of 100 applicants will join). But if you manage to get in - I wonder what is the statistical probability to go all the way to become partner? The job is very demanding and a large share of people will leave, or have to leave, at some point. So how likely is it to become a Partner? Is it like 20%, or 10%, or 1%? And what are the most important decisive factors there?

Thank you for an inside perspective.

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Sidi
Expert
replied on May 08, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

across all criteria relevant to be elected for Partnership at MBB, such as problem-solving, IP develpment, people leadership, coaching, client leadership, commercial targets, etc.), the absolute threshold is not that high.

The true difficulty comes from staying above the bar in all of them and be truly distinctive in one or two and still be able to sustain the lifestyle.

Can you do the problem solving and manage a team and build relationships with clients and perform internal Firm duties (eg, lead and develop a Practice) and see your family and get enough sleep and…?

Building up the skills from Analyst to Partner is not a completely overwhelming task — because you can get guidance and support and encouragements, etc. The real difficulty comes from the cost of doing it. Drafting and tracking a work-plan is not rocket-science — but if it does not come naturally, you’ll still have to do it for 3–4 years non-stop. If you get grumpy and inefficient when you sleep less than 8 hours a night, be prepared to work on that — quickly!

For example, a Junior Partner ("(Associate) Principal") may have a good track record / reputation for managing the lifestyle of the teams. However, looking behind the curtain might very likely reveal that, since he always has 3 or 4 teams working at the same time for multiple clients spread across two continents, he has to work just about every weekend for 2–4 hours, reviewing packs, on conf-calls, etc.

So at the core, it is really about the fit of this profession with your own strengths and whether you really want to make the effort to sustain that kind of life.

Cheers, Sidi

Was this answer helpful?
Anton
Expert
replied on May 10, 2020
FREE 1st session in November | From Lawyer to MBB | Top in FIT | 10x your structuring skills | Message to get Free Prep Checklist

Hi,

I would agree with previous comments, but I want to underline one important factor - your ability to play long term game and have motivation and power of will to do that.

Best,

Anton

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 10, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

None will tell you this figures honestly.

Only internally it´s known nd this information is not shared.

However, honestly, I would not focus on this. Best is to go step-by-step and enjoy the ride.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on May 08, 2020

Hi there,

For sure it is a small %, less than 5% maybe. Note that some people leave not because of performance but because they have other good opportunities or need more personal/family time.

For those who stay, agree with other expert that they are not necessarily the smartest, they just need to be good enough to pass the bar at every promotion, and be persitent enough to outlast others.

Regarless of the % of people making to partner, consulting is a great training/learning ground and it gives great exit options. So the small % shouldn't stop you from trying to work in consulting.

Best

Emily

Was this answer helpful?
7
Anrian
Expert
replied on May 08, 2020
Ex Kearney Senior Manager | Ex McKinsey Engagement Manager | Interviewer & Case Coach at McKinsey (200+ Real Interviews)

Hi There,

I agree with Ian's answer there. I think it is much harder to get in than to move up.

To make it to Partner, you actually don't need to be distinctive all the time. In fact, as long as you maintain tracking (normal) performance and build certain skills (managing people, client, sales, etc.), moving up the ladder without any acceleration should not be a problem.

So, it is not really a performance that blocking you to be a partner but it would be mindset, durability, and grit. In SEA, I think less than 5% that joined as BA & Associate became Partner - and I would say more than 60% did not make due to better opportunity outside, 20-30% due to unable to maintain such lifestyle or work, and the rest are counseled to leave.

Was this answer helpful?
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 08, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

It's hard to calculate, but out of ±100 Analysts and Associates I was working with over 3 year period, probably less than 10 are still in the firm, and only 1-2 are partners. A significant number of my MBA classmates are leaving consulting after just 1 year. Those who are still there are just waiting for a Greencard. And it's not the question of the odds - most of the people leave themselves. So I don't think it's correct to calculate probabilities here.

In terms of growth - the most important thing you need to understand is that consulting is a client business and the client is always first. Here is my subjective view of what's needed to succeed on different levels of hierarchy. Pls, take into account that it's the ideal state, and getting these skills is a journey.

Analyst / associate level

  • Having a good DGL / career counselor, etc. (Each company has different names). This is a person who guides your development in the company, collects the feedbacks on you, and presents your case to a promotion committee. Make sure to have a person who is organized enough to collect the feedbacks in time, who is a nice person in general and who has enough authority in the company (i.e. Senior partner - the more power he has - the better)
  • Choosing the project you work on smartly (i.e. collect the feedbacks on each and everyone prior to accepting the project)
  • Perfect technical skills (Excel, PPT, Problem Solving)
  • Good feedbacks on you from the client. Thus try to make friends with your clients (Both senior and non-senior role. Even a bad feedback from a blue collar can ruin your career)
  • Ability to manage your own standalone workstream with minimum supervision. TOP performers bring the end products that impress others
  • Being proactive - helping the team with daily routine, scheduling, etc. Participating in the office initiatives
  • Establishing relationships with your managers and partners. Ideally, you should have multiple senior partners to be excited about you and to support you)
  • Being lucky!

Manager level

A lot of the above, plus:

  • Having your client happy - this is the most important! If the client is happy - everything else will work
  • Managing multiple partners who have different opinions. Since partners have a busy schedule it becomes very tricky to synchronize them and to align the viewpoints
  • Good feedbacks from your team - having a happy team is important. Unfortunately, sometimes it's a trade-off between having your client and partner happy
  • Telling about your success on projects to others - I'm personally not a fan of this kind of selling, but I know many people who made a career using this skill

Principal level

A lot from the above, plus:

  • Having multiple clients happy
  • Having a long list of partners supporting you (More than 10)
  • Contributions to the development of the company (Knowledge, office ops, etc)
  • Selling the projects. If you manage to sell to existing clients or even bring the new clients - you are the champion.

Partner level

A lot of the above, plus:

  • Sales, sales, sales
  • Luck (You wouldn't like to be on partner election cycle during COVID)

Best,

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 08, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Honestly?

Survival

You have to be good enough to make it through "up or out" and you have to be "bad" or risk-averse enough to not want to try your hand in another role at another company.

I have a lot of respect for Partners, but most of them were not better than their peers. They just wanted it more.

Wanted could be for any combination of the below:

  • Genuine interest/enjoyment
  • Prestige/pride
  • Love of influence
  • Money

I would say <5% of those joining MBB end up becoming Partner, but around 25-50% of those who actually decisively set their mind to it (i.e. don't "give up") make it.

So, while you'll need to demonstrate a mastery of any number of different skills to get through each level of the company, to make it through to Partner, you need to be 100% committed, have grit, be ready to sacrifice personal life, etc. It's a marathon, not a race.

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on May 12, 2020

Dear A,

The general rule of the Pyramid says that 7 consultancy work for 1 partner an average. That means that your chances to make it to partner are about 14%, if you enter the company.

Good luck,

André

Was this answer helpful?
2
Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
429
Meetings
5,184
Q&A Upvotes
78
Awards
5.0
134 Reviews