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Clarifying Ban Periods at Consulting Firms

Case Interview Kearney dubai MBB Mentorship
New answer on Jun 22, 2024
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 18, 2024

Hi Prep Lounge Mentors,

I have a question regarding how "ban periods" work at consulting firms after going through the recruiting process.

Does the ban period only apply if a candidate makes it through multiple rounds of interviews but does not receive an offer? Or does even being screened out after the initial application trigger the ban period as well?

Additionally, if a candidate does fall under the ban period timeline, is it possible for them to circumvent it and reapply earlier by getting an employee referral? Or do most firms strictly enforce the ban period regardless of referrals?

I'm trying to fully understand how these policies work, as I may be impacted by a ban period from previous recruiting cycles. Any clarity around when the ban kicks in and if referrals can override it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Does the ban period only apply if a candidate makes it through multiple rounds of interviews but does not receive an offer? Or does even being screened out after the initial application trigger the ban period as well?

Normally the ban applies also if you are rejected after the CV/test stage. 

2) Additionally, if a candidate does fall under the ban period timeline, is it possible for them to circumvent it and reapply earlier by getting an employee referral? Or do most firms strictly enforce the ban period regardless of referrals?

If you want to apply again, you have two options:

  1. Wait until the end of the ban
  2. Find someone who can refer you for the new position, mention explicitly the previous rejection, and see if they can help, ideally having them interact first with HR. There are no guarantees this will work though. With this second option, you will normally have to:
    • Show relevant improvements in your CV that justify the earlier application
    • Wait a minimum amount of time anyway (I would recommend at least 6 months)

You can find more on referrals below:

 How to Find an MBB Referral

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

In general, the ban applies to all application types (from submitted and not being invited to interview, all the way to getting to the final round and not passing).

Please don't try to circumvent. The “bans” are there for a reason.

The only circumvention is 1) If you recruited via a different channel (e.g. Pre-MBA external hire in June, then MBA internship recruiting in November) OR 2) Partner-type contact at firm

Make sure to understand why you didn't make it and fix the issues (e.g. get a resume review from a coach, revamp your networking approach, improve your profile, etc.)

How to Get a Consulting Internship - Tips and Tricks
 

Application Tracker – Keep Track With This Free Template
 

The Most Common Pitfalls in Case Interview Preparation

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Alberto
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

I can talk about how this works at McKinsey.

There are two situations

  • You don't pass the application screening. In this case, you can apply to any other office without ban. You need to have any link with that office and geography (e.g., born there, studied there, family / relatives, there). You can apply to the same office generally in 6 months
  • You pass the application screening but you are rejected during the interviews. In this case, there is a ban period for all offices of 12 months (intern positions) or 18 months (full time positions)

Referrals cannot override ban periods.

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2024
Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

  1. Bans apply to all types of rejections. An exception might be that if you applied for an internship and got rejected, you are not necessarily banned from applying for a full-time position (best to check with the HR team at the respective firm for this one though)
     
  2. Bans are designed to give candidates the chance to enhance their CV with relevant experiences and qualifications before they can be considered again. This naturally takes time so that a 12-18 month ban period makes sense from this perspective. Please do not just apply again while you are temporarily “banned” as that might get you permanently banned. If you do get a referral from someone at the firm, you might be able to reduce the ban period by a little bit - but this all needs to happen in transparent communication with the person referring you and their HR team. So it is definitely best to confirm as to when you are eligible to apply again before you submit an application

Best of luck

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 22, 2024
#1 recommended coach | >95% success rate | most experience in consulting, interviewing, and coaching

Hi there,

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

  • First of all, the ban period begins regardless of at what stage the application process was aborted.
  • Moreover, regarding circumventing the ban period with an employee referral, it’s a bit tricky. While referrals can strengthen your application, most firms are quite strict with their ban periods, although their duration can be flexible.
  • Lastly, I would highly advise you to use this time to strengthen your profile, network more broadly, and possibly seek feedback from an experienced coach like myself on your previous applications to improve your future ones.

You can find more on this topic here: How to deal with a rejection from a consulting company.

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

Best,

Hagen

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

That's a fair question. 

So, these ban periods are not mathematically calculated 365-day periods. 

They are soft deadlines for reapplication. 

Basically, the assume that you need at least one year to make the improvements necessary to make it worth interviewing you. 

You can always contact the recruiter and explain the progress you've made and suggest a time when you'd want to apply. Then agree with them on something and send in your application. 

That's it.

Sharing with you also a guide on how to develop an application strategy:

Best,
Cristian

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Ban periods are strict in theory but more lenient in practice.

To your questions:

1. When does the ban period apply

Always, regardless if you failed at screening or the interviews. It's better to fail at the interviews with a great performance as sometimes this could automatically reduce the ban period to 6 months.

2. What improves your chances for reapplication

Referrals and significant improvements in your resume (education, professional experience, time spent abroad, extracurriculars) can both shorten the period and increase your chances of getting a new interview invitation.

Kind regards,

Florian

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Mar 18, 2024
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Private Equity | Market Estimates | Fit Interview

Usually the ban period will apply to everyone. If you made it to (e.g.) final round and don't get an offer, they may explicitly tell you to reapply after a certain period (e.g. 6 months). If they didn't… then you are under the usual ban period.

You can use a referral - if you are getting close to the end of your ban period (and you should be transparent with the person providing the referral).

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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