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Cross regional recruitment

canada junior associate McKinsey & Company Qatar Saudi Arabia UAE
New answer on May 29, 2023
5 Answers
Hamza asked on May 25, 2023
Aspiring Consultant

I am looking forward to starting my career as a management consultant in the MBB, specifically in Mckinsey(as a Junior Associate/SBA). I have a question regarding cross-regional recruitment at McKinsey. I am an Indian by nationality, planning to move to Canada or GCC countries. Even though there is an option(in the application form) to choose any country one likes to work in, I am skeptical about the chances to get accepted in a foreign country. I was told by a McKinsey Canada employee that it might be difficult to get into an entry-level role at Mckinsey Canada because they usually recruit graduates from Canadian schools during recruitment season for such roles. 
Is the case any different for GCC countries? Will it be practical to apply to their Qatar/UAE/KSA offices from my country of residence i.e. India?

Thank you for your time and consideration. 

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Content Creator
replied on May 26, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi Hamza,

Indeed, it's rather difficult to get past screening if you cannot demonstrate a good link to the location you are applying to. 

A good link usually means either having studied, or lived there, or having some sort of personal or ethnic link to it. Your chances of applying randomly to a location and getting in are slim to inexistent (I wish I knew this when I was in Uni and thinking it would be fun to work in Rio :) )

Aside from this, seek to develop a strong application strategy to work around your shortcomings. I wrote at length about it here:



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Hamza on May 26, 2023

Thanks, Cristian. But as Ian has also mentioned, I believe GCC countries are still receptive to cross-regional candidates. I hope to leverage networking to get there. Thanks again for your time and consideration.

Cristian on May 26, 2023

That's fair, they are more flexible. I actually worked with two other Asian candidates who got offers in GCC, but both already had some sort of link to the region before. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

replied on May 27, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching


Unfortunately, I think the McKinsey Canada employee you talked to is right - it tends to be significantly easier to get hired in your home/school region, because of immigration, language barriers, and existing recruiting networks. Unless you speak the local language and have the correct work authorization, it is much harder to get an offer outside your country of residence. Some MBB offices allow cross-regional transfers after you have accrued some tenure, but these can also be tricky to negotiate and I would not take them as a given.

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Hamza on May 27, 2023

Thanks, Sofia.

Content Creator
replied on May 26, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi Hamza,

You are correct to be sckeptical here!

I highly advise you do not try Canada/US unless you have a working visa/citizenship. This is especially true at entyr levels (where they're not going to go through the expense of sponshorship).

Middle East countries will indeed be better targets for you.

Remember, the best way to figure a lot of this out is networking! Every single company and every office has a different policy and every-evolving scenarios (for example, Australian consulting offices used to import consultants, but now they rarely do as the immigration laws changed ~5 years back)

Good luck with your networking and applications!

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Hamza on May 26, 2023

Thanks a lot, Ian. Appreciated.

Ian on May 26, 2023

My pleasure Hamza. Good luck!

Content Creator
replied on May 26, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Hamza,

Q: Will it be practical to apply to their Qatar/UAE/KSA offices from my country of residence i.e. India?

In general, your chances are higher in your local country than abroad, unless you have a clear connection with that country (eg studied/worked there).

Normally you should apply in a country where:

  1. You have working rights
  2. You can speak the local language
  3. You can show some kind of connection

The Middle East is an exception for #2 as you don’t need to know Arabic to work there. It is also usually easier to get a job there compared to other countries in terms of #1 and #3. For this reasons, it is often a good area to target if you don't want to apply in your home country.

The best way to increase your chances is to find a consultant that can refer you, they should be able to confirm whether that country could work given your profile and increase the chances of being invited.

You can find more on referrals here:

 How to Get an MBB Referral

Good luck!


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Hamza on May 27, 2023

Thanks, Francesco for the detailed reply. I would surely work on getting some referrals.

replied on May 29, 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Private Equity | Market Estimates | Fit Interview

Middle East / GCC is talent scarce, meaning that they tend to import talent from other regions. This doesn't apply to Canada. GCC rules tend to be more friendly towards providing visas.

So, all in all, GCC is much more likely to accept you as a candidate vs. Canada - which will probably only sponsor Visas for more qualified / experienced candidates that bring something a bit more unique to the table.

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Hamza on May 29, 2023

Thanks Pedro. I hope I make it to GCC then. :)

Cristian gave the best answer


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