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Bain BCG europe Latam MBB recruiting Referral
New answer on Apr 22, 2024
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 18, 2024

Hello! I have been networking with non-entry level MBB consultants recently and applying what learned in order to ask for a referral indirectly. I usually get consultants saying they like my background, profile and story as a whole, but they have never offer to refer me for the role so far. Is there anything I am doing wrong with my approach? I usually have a conversation with them over the phone or zoom, we talk about my experiences as well as his/hers, where I try to learn more about the person and the role itself. Any help on this matter would be great, thank you! P.D This is for entry-level consulting jobs outside the U.S

(edited)

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Hagen
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 18, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

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

  • First of all, I would advise you to explicitly ask for the referral at the end of your conversation. It's important to be clear about your intentions after establishing a rapport. Mention how much you value their insights and directly inquire if they would be comfortable referring you to the recruiting team.
  • Moreover, consider broadening your network within the company. Sometimes, having multiple touchpoints can help reinforce your profile and increase your chances of obtaining a referral.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

 

You can find the consulting salaries report 2024 here!

(edited)

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Iman
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replied on Apr 19, 2024
Systemiq | Ex-BCG | 10 years experience with 8+ specialising in sustainability | Free Intro | Ex-PrepLounge candidate

My answer may not be what you want to hear. 

I may be more conservative than others, but I wouldn't refer someone I have not worked with / interacted with in a professional way (e.g., in a formal workshop or discussion). 

When one refers someone, you're putting your reputation on the line. I would only refer someone if I could vouch for their performance. I wouldn't refer someone who cold called me, even if we had an excellent conversation. 

At most, I would introduce them to other colleagues so that they get to know relevant people and through those interactions they build some confidence (and get informal tips) ahead of a formal application.

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Nish
Expert
replied on Apr 19, 2024
Ex BCG | MBB | Tier 2 | Building a Problem Solving Mindset | 6yrs of Consulting experience in Asia & Europe

Hi there

Hagen and Iman make great points. 

My recommendation would be to seek 'organic' ways to ask for referral. What I mean by that is to identify 2nd degree connections in MBB (On LinkedIn/ Offline) and then take help of the 1st degree connection (with whom you presumably have a stronger bond) to build a more organic rapport with them.

Do reach out in case you have further questions, happy to guide! :)

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Cristian
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replied on Apr 18, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

I'm not in those calls, so I have no idea what isn't working out, but if you're not getting the results, then something is definitely wrong. 

You can check out this step-by-step article on how to get referrals and how to ask for them indirectly. Follow the formulation that I suggest there. Then, aim to have more discussions. It's a process; you'll get better at it eventually. And if you need more help, feel free to reach out. 

Here's the article:

Best,
Cristian

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Alberto
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 22, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Are you asking for the referral?

Think about this from the consultants' perspective (and I am talking from my own experience):

  • You get a cold message on LinkedIn
  • You make an effort to find 15 minutes in a tight agenda for someone you don't know and will not offer anything useful for you
  • You connect to the call and hear the story. It is not clear what that person wants
  • Call ends. You move on with your stressful agenda

You need to be more clear with your intentions when you contact people and during the call. Just ask for the referrals :)

Best,

Alberto

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

 

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Dennis
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replied on Apr 19, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

I agree with the point that consultants won't just simply refer a “random person” just because they get contacted via LinkedIn or e-mail. The employee referring an external candidate takes a reputational risk within the company. It's never a good situation if the person someone refers then ends up not performing well at all. That's why you can assume a general sense of caution. So from your end, you do want to give the person you are talking to the impression that you are a really strong candidate and you know exactly what will await you in consulting, you just need the proper entry path.

However, many consulting firms have things like a “hire a friend” type of program which is an incentive scheme for employees to refer people (ideally people they personally know) who they believe would be a great fit for the company. If such candidates then end up receiving an offer and accepting it, the person who initially referred them gets a monetary reward.

So you might want to seek out situations where such an incentive structure will help your case. You should also definitely include a strong hint towards hoping for a referral at the end of your discussion. Because quite honestly, what do you have to lose? If you don't ask, you won't get it. If you do ask, you might get it - still better.

Best of luck

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 18, 2024
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Haagen hit the nail on the head. You need to explicitly ask for a referral first and their answer will then tell you how the really feel about your profile, as it forces them to take action based on it. The other thing you can do is ask something like ‘what steps can I take to improve my profile and get a referral from you for xyz position.’ Then instead of a ‘no’ or ghosting you, they are more likely to give you honest advice on how you can improve your chances of getting in. This also allows you the opportunity to reach back out to them once you have made progress in the areas suggested and have' earned the right' to ask for a referral.

 

Best,

Udayan

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 22, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

This really depends on how you are asking for it “indirectly”.

Within indirectly you can be more obvious or less obvious. More obvious would be asking how relevant a referral is and their advice on how to get one. However, I would never do this the first time I meet someone because then it means the whole conversation was transactional to you.

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 19, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: I usually get consultants saying they like my background, but they have never offered to refer me for the role so far. Is there anything I am doing wrong with my approach? 

Not necessarily. Ideally you have a closing question at the end to “hint” to the referral anyway.

If you don’t get any offer to refer you after you suggest the “hint”, then yes, there might be a problem with the flow you are using.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Hagen gave the best answer

Hagen

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