Do I even stand a chance? (MBB and 2-tier consulting companies)

1st round interview CV screening Interview
New answer on Nov 25, 2020
9 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Aug 03, 2020

Hello everyone!
I need some brutally honest answers here, so please, be mean and don't sugar coat it.

I am going to graduate (MSc) in a couple of months from top University in my country that also has a good reputation in Europe. However, I won't be graduating top of the class, I would say my grades are slightly above average, nothing more. I don't have any significant work experience, only two internships in small companies.
Now, I honestly believe that with the right preparation I could even pass at the interviews: but of course, it is pointless if I don't stand a chance to pass the CV screening.
What do you think? Should I pursue my dream or just give up and apply in another industry?

Thanks for your help

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most consulting firms focus on three CV areas:

  1. Education: Top-tier universities, grades above average (doesn't need to be top of class if you fulfill the requirements of the other areas) and no obvious weak spots (especially maths)
  2. Work experience: If you apply for a full-time position, you need relevant work experience (consulting, strategy, project management...) at well-known companies (less relevant if you graduated top of class)
  3. Other: Extra-curricular work, leadership experience (sports etc.) and personal interests - HR usually looks for well-rounded personalities. However, this is the least important area, so if you impress in areas 1 and 2, you needn't worry too much about this one

Given your (short) description: I don't see a problem with education, however, given you only completed two internships with not so well-known companies, I would say it is going to be a bit more difficult for you to pass the CV screening.

What I would advice you to do: Apply at some tier-two consulting firms and see if you get invited. If not, you need to strengthen area 2, meaning you should do one or two internships with well-known companies, then apply again (you don't get blacklisted, unless you get invited for an interview and do not pass it).

Hope this helps.



Was this answer helpful? 15

Hi Anonymous,

I always tell myself that it's not my job to decide whether I'm a fit or not, let the interviewers decide! So go ahead and try! The preparation process itself is a useful journey - you'll learn about business concepts and yourself, and meet interesting people along the way.

As for chances, the McKinsey office I applied to in Europe did not really look at GPA, they cared more about extracurriculars, competitions, internships - experiences where you could demonstrate the skills McK is looking for (problem solving, leadership, etc). So a strong university name combined with these experiences can actually be a competitive profile!

Good luck!



Was this answer helpful? 10

Hi there,

Well, if you give up now your chances are zero. If you try, I don’t think you can do worse than that ;)

Seriously, it is difficult to judge without a full review of your CV but I saw people with very mediocre grades and average work experiences being invited for MBB interviews with the right referral. So I don’t see why you should not have a chance.

I would focus on getting a referral as this is the #1 lever you have to be invited for interviews. You can find more on referrals here:

If you need help, please feel free to PM me.


Was this answer helpful? 9

Hi there,

While your work experience is not great, the fact that you come from a well-known university helps.

I'm not impressed by your background (but I'd need to see your resume), but I agree with Francesco in that you really shouldn't give up now

Think of how many people who are successful now who just hustled and didn't care about what others said.

Go out there, make your resume as strong as possible, and network agressively. If you can speak to a few people, and you're likeable/personable enough to get a referral, that's all it takes!

Was this answer helpful? 8


I think it's hard to say yes or no given lack of details (exact school attended, the office you are targeting, GPA, exact types of internships). Tier two should definitely be feasible with the caveat that this is during corona.

If you want to get into consulting and MBB, in particular, I would recommend that you develop a plan, e.g.:

1. You network and apply now to MBB and see if you can get an interview

2. If not, you gain work experience in a relevant field or tier 2 firm and apply in ~2 years when your are able to again.

So you don't have to give up on your dream, just work on finding the most feasible way to get there!

- A

Was this answer helpful? 8

Hi Anonymous,

Education is fine, but work experience will definitely be an issue.

In addition, extra-curricular activities are required as well - since you did not mention any of them in your summary, I assume for now that there isn't anything worthwile mentioning for now.

For your situation I see basically 2 main strategies (either to be implemented separately, or also in combination - both options can work):

  1. Get an offer in a tier-2 company, outperform, get promoted fast and afterwards switch to MBB. Nowadays much more common than 15 years ago, so lucky you in that case.
  2. Network your way into MBB. With a decent referral you will jump over the CV screening stage and from then on only your interview performance counts.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


Was this answer helpful? 7

Dear A,

To be honest, for MBB you have to be among the top students from the atrget University, have some relevant internship and good leadership experience. I might assume that having only what you have it's very difficult to pass the CV screening. Here I strongly recommend you to apply through referral. Because applying through referral is very similar to the business lav=ne in the airport, when you can esily skip the general queue.

Otherwise you can try with Tier-2 consulting companies to gain relevant experience.

If you need any help with networking or making a roadmap of your career, feel free to reach out.



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Anonymous B replied on Aug 03, 2020

Your best chance is to apply for small consultancies. Even tier 2 consultancies look for really good academics or well known brands for work experience

In addition - you will need to tap into your network to have a solid shot at interviews

Was this answer helpful? 3

Hi there,

I recommend you try to find a referral as you would avoid CV screening.

I personally suggest you complete your CV with achievements and work experience or internship as it would be very difficult to get into consulting without it.

Do you need any further help?

All the best,


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Dorothea gave the best answer


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