Differences between MBB and Tier2 interviews

2nd tier MBB
Recent activity on Feb 05, 2019
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 04, 2019

Hi All,

i would appreciate a complete review about the differences in interviewing at MBB rather than Tier2. I suppose level is a bit lower at Tier2, but in what terms (competition, cases, possibility of doing "errors" during interviews, overall interview level, etc.)??

thank you a lot.

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Guennael
Expert
replied on Feb 04, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

In my experience, the main difference will be the level of expectations:

- Both MBB & TIer2 will have a case + fit portions. Yes, some MBB and some Tier2 will also add specific sections, but this is the general structure

- MBB cases may be a little harder on average, but this is not systematic

- The big difference however is in what we expect of you. At BCG/Bain (interviewee led), we expect you to completely drive the case, formulate hypothesis (usually verbalized), and really drive to an answer in a MECE, structure fashion. You need to make inferences, do mental math quickly and accurately... All these apply in the top tier2 but at a smaller level of expectations - and they don't really apply in the bottom of the stack

=> this is really indicative of the kind of work you will be expected to do once in the consultancy. Some Tier2 are very similar to MBB in terms of actual work (not in terms of reputation or branding... or fees); most just aren't anywhere near this.

Last thing: there were 60 candidates for 1 position in my BCG office when I applied; ratio is even worse in some specific offices. If anything, I'd say this has gotten worse since then, and the general level of prep is higher now that there's so much information on the web and companies like PrepLounge to help you prepare. I do not know what the ratio looks like at Tier2, but would expect it is often significantly lower

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 04, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

  1. Cases are much more structured. The approach to cases is also much more demanding
  2. No errors. You should demonstrate a perfect / almost a perfect approach to solving the cases.
  3. FIT part is more structured as well. They will challenge each of your FIT stories and ask a lot of additional questions.
  4. Competition - much higher as you could guess. You can google the acceptance rate across the companies

Best

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 05, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

Vlad and Guennael already mentioned several relevant points. I would emphasize that the main differentiator between MBB and the rest is the level of competition, which in turn makes the bar higher for a pass and decrease the chances for mistakes/average performance in the core areas of the interview. When consulting companies need to hire people, they will always choose the best in the group of candidates. Given that some people apply just to MBB, there are more strong candidates for positions there than in second tier. This implies that you could do the same good interview for both McKinsey and a second tier, but not get the McKinsey offer and get the second tier one simply because an excellent candidate interviewed at McKinsey only, performing better than you there.

In short, although the key areas in the interview are the same, for all the core areas (fit, structuring, creativity, math, synthesis, etc) you will need an excellent performance to get an offer, which may not be the case in a second tier.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Feb 05, 2019
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Agree with everything said!

Would just add that Tier2 firms tend to place more emphasis on actual functional knowledge. I.e., candidates are more often expected to read a balance sheet,, to have a solid understanding of standard accounting items etc. All of this is generally NOT expected in MBB - but the flipside is that the rigor of your thinking needs to be at a much higher level at MBB in order to cut through ambiguous problems and boil them down to their core issues WITHOUT relying on preconceived functional or sector knowledge.

cheers, Sidi

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Guennael gave the best answer

Guennael

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