BCG McKinsey and Bain
New answer on Oct 27, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 14, 2018

Do people who join MBB at entry level use external coaching? I see that there is a lot of help in the market to help people get an offer from MBB but see very little in terms of how to manage accelerated career progression and become successful. My sense is lot of MBB folks might benefit from good, independent on-going coaching but I do not hear or see much. Is it there but not openly discussed? Or is this an opportunity for entrepreneurial MBB alums? If the experts know good coaches/websites, would be great if you share.

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replied on Dec 14, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I get these requests quite often, however, it is hard to help the fresh consultants mainly because of logistical issues:

  • You can not share the details of your project. If you do - probably you are violating the Firm rules. Without the details, it's hard to help
  • Consultants are working 24/7 and it's hard to find time for regular calls with a coach
  • Effective coaching requires a senior person and these people are not motivated enough to coach you for money

I recommend finding a mentor instead. It can be

  • Company alumni
  • Your DGL / career counselor
  • Anyone withing the firm who is senior enough

The hardest part is to persuade this person to coach you. Ideally, he should see some value in coaching you. Your objective is to find the right keys to that person.


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Anonymous replied on Dec 16, 2018

One thing you are underestimating is how strong mentorship culture is within the firm. All firms (to my knowledge) have an official mentorship programme, where juniors are paired up with more senior consultants/managers for recurring advice. Of course, they come in varying quality, but you are always free to change to a different person if e.g. you meet a person in your case you really like and look up to. Plus, most people also create a number of additional informal mentors through their careers.

An internal mentor is more useful than an external mentor because not only can they provide good advice on how to perform, but they can help you navigate the firm much better than an external advisor. For example, when I really wanted to join the "Private Equity Ringfence" at Bain, my mentor was very helpful in putting me in touch with the right people and applying pressure to the staffing team to help me. I've also found that, at least with some mentors, it is also ok to talk in earnest about your longer term career aspirations and potentially leaving the firm (although you of course have to be careful here).

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replied on Oct 27, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Typically the firms also offer internal coaching with 3rd party coaches to sign up with. So that might explain why there is not too much demand for other coaches.

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Anonymous B replied on Oct 27, 2020

Agree with the point! There is an overcapacity of coaches for preparation and getting into MBB, not a lot for coaching after you get the offer.

> If the experts know good coaches/websites, would be great if you share.

Having an outside coach is much better, internal or paid-by-the-company ones often cannot be trusted with confidential personal info.

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Anonymous updated the answer on Dec 17, 2018

Hi Anonymous,

what you can always do is find a business coach to work with. Of course, you can't share project specifics. But project specifics can usually be resolved within the firm, it's more the "other" stuff where an external coach might add more value (personal development, career choices, issues within the team or with superiors, leadership challenges, stress, anxiety, ...).

I myself have been working for more than five years now with a coach, first as part of the leadership development program of the firm I was working for at the time and later paid out of my own pocket when I started my own business. Before she started her own coaching practice, she worked 15+ years in personnel development at MBB so she knows consulting and consultants inside and out.

Of course, that experience doesn't come cheap - her hourly rates are pretty much what you pay for an MBB consultants' time. But for me, the investment has been worth every penny. And you usually don't spend more than two hours a month or so with such a coach (except maybe in the very beginning). I myself do a checkup of about 1.5 hours every 6-8 weeks, of something ad-hoc if there's an issue I believe she can help with. So the cost is manageable.

Hope this helps.



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Anonymous replied on Dec 14, 2018
Looking for partners. Have 1st round Mck interview in August

Victor Cheng has a couple of things for on-going coaching/mentorship, and a program for after the offer/before the start (but I heard it isn't that great).

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replied on Dec 14, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

I'm with Vlad, hard to find someone who can help you from outside. It may help you to talk about a broader issue (I did this once with my dad for example, and forcing myself to speak at a high level of the modeling issue I was facing actually helped me get to the answer before he even had a clue what I was talking about); more than likely though, your mentors at first will be some of the people you met during recruiting, who liked you and now feel bound to you a little.

To a very large extent, success in MBB will be a function of who your manager / principal will be. If you struggle and they never have, you may be in a world of hurt.

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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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