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CV screening rejection - MBB

Anonymous A asked on Nov 12, 2019 - 5 answers


First time posting on here so hope I'm doing this correctly. I've seen a few similar questions on here so thought I'd give it a go.

I was recently rejected from two MBB firms at the CV screening stage. One I was pretty much rejected the next day after applying. The other I networked quite heavily before applying, speaking with current consultants, attending one of their networking events and following conversations with the recruiter, it seemed like they were keen on me as well. However, got the rejection email that I did not meet their criterias (they won't tell me which). Bit of background on myself, I went to one of the target schools for MBB in the UK, graduated with a high 2:1 and have had a couple years experience working for one of the top banks here. I have also led and participated in several extra-curricular groups/activities.

I would really appreciate any insight, advice or initial feedback anyone may have on what I may be missing to make these firms turn me down. What could I do moving forward to hopefully change this outcome next time round? I did apply to one of the firms for an Experienced Hire role, and it could be possible that given my 2+ years experience, I may not meet the criteria for an experience hire (is 4 years more common?)

Thank you in advance!

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replied on Nov 12, 2019
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with 2 years you can apply for positions like "junior associate" or "senior BA", depending on the firm and on the practice you are interested in.

CV assessment depends on various aspects, including also the recruitment situation of the office. Feel free to send it to me for feedback.


Hi, Thank You for your response. Will follow up privately. — Anonymous A on Nov 12, 2019

replied on Nov 14, 2019
Ex McKinsey EM with 7 years of recruiting experience/ received all 3 MBB offers/Real MBB cases
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All the answers here have touched on many valid points regarding CV and cover letter and those will help as you continue your efforts.

I also wanted to touch on some additional factord for you to consider as to why you may have been rejected-

1. You mentioned target school in your question. What I have noticed is that in the UK majority come from OxBridge so if you aren't at either that lowers your chances significantly because the other schools collectively don't have as many spots open

2. Grades - A high 2:1 is totally acceptable, but keep in mind typically MBB candidates have a 1:1. It is not a requirement but another factor that may have impacted your candidacy

3. Experienced hire application - While these do happen, they are less common and typically require greater expertise than 2 years. The idea being you bring expertise in an in-demand field that they can then leverage for client work. This is harder to achieved in 2 years at a bank. Additionally, you did not mention what it is you do at a bank. If it is investment banking that gives you a better chance than another role at the bank as it commands more prestige and a lot of the skills are directly transferable

4. Location - London/UK is both extremely competitive and at this moment going through a lot of uncertainty, this impacts how firms plan their recrtuiment for future years

Lastly, with regards to networking. That one is a bit surprising. In order to be most effective here next time try and get a referral from a partner, that almost always gets you a first round interview at the very least

Some of these may not seem very positive or in your favor but there are workarounds to all of these and I really hope that you end up at a place you are happy with.



replied on Nov 12, 2019
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Feel free to send your resume for a review.

I recommend applying using a referral. There are certain criteria for the referral:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.

The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!

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replied on Nov 12, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

in terms of the CV, it is not possible to provide specific suggestions without looking at the resume itself. Potential reasons for your rejections may be:

  • Structure of the CV - lack of clear presentation of actions done and results obtained
  • Unclear explanation of why you want to switch to consulting in your Cover
  • General bad formatting of the CV

It is also unclear if you actually had a referral from a consultant for your second application or simply talked to some of them – if that’s not the case, the lack of referral could also be a reason.

In terms of the position for the application: experienced hire is definitely 4+ years of experience, with 2 years the standard at MBB is to offer an analyst role with some seniority (usually 6 months or 1 year).

For future applications, I would recommend to get feedback on your CV and Cover from an experienced consultant or expert, and to do all your applications via referrals – you can find more on referrals here:

For additional questions please feel free to PM me.



Hi, Thank You for response. Second application was not a referral, I had just had 1:1 sessions with them on the company and application process etc. I did get a couple consultants to look at my CV, but evidently, that did not work out in my favour. Will have a look at referrals and hopefully can achieve this next time round. Many thanks! — Anonymous A on Nov 12, 2019

replied on Nov 12, 2019
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Cover letters are important ways of framing your experience in a relevant way to be screened by recruiters. This is particualrly important if its not immediately obvious how your work expereince to date relates to consulting.

CVs are screened by consultants who already have a very high workload. Regrettably, your resume and cover letter might only receive 2-3 minutes of attention so you really need to stand out.

Try to relate your cover letter to critical consulting competencies (e.g problem solving & analytics, team work, leadership potential and communications) and to describe your achievements in your resume as concisely as possible, with a clear focus on measurebale results, where practicable.

Above all, be authentic and concise. (Nothing worse than hearing how a 21 year old drove $Ms of impact in their internship single-handed).

Hello! Thank you for your response and great pointers. I believe I had included most of these in my CV, which added to my confusion when rejected. I agree that Cover Letters are a great way of expanding on experiences that may otherwise be overlooked in the CV. I had included one in one application but not the other (as I was told it was not necessary). But something to keep in mind. Thank you. — Anonymous A on Nov 13, 2019

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