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Do most MBB candidates who get invited for an interview apply via referral?

Anonymous A asked on Sep 10, 2019 - 4 answers

Especially for offices like New York, San Francisco, Boston, London, Dubai etc.?


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replied on Sep 10, 2019
Former BCG | Case author for efellows book | Experience in 6 consultancies (Stern Stewart, Capgemini, KPMG, VW Con., Horvath, zeb)
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Hi Anonym,

there are referral programs and of course it is always good for a candidate to be recommended.

However (from my experience), most of the invited candidates apply without a referral.

Best regards


Vlad replied on Sep 10, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Not necessarily:

  • MBB is searching proactively for experienced hires
  • MBBs are hiring MBA, and many of them without referrals
  • Many offices are not that competitive and don't require referrals
  • Many resumes are good and don't require referrals


How about undergrad candidates for offices in NY, Boston, San Francisco etc. though? — Anonymous A on Sep 10, 2019

replied on Sep 10, 2019
Ex McKinsey EM with 7 years of recruiting experience/ received all 3 MBB offers/Real MBB cases
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Referral plays a significant role and not only in the ways you might be thinking about. If you are recruiting from campus, it helps to have a strong connection with your alumni as there are campus specific recruiting teams that shortlist candidates where alumni recommendations play a big role.

Wherever possible try and network before applying - coming from a trusted source you will always be viewed more positively than if you apply on your own

replied on Sep 10, 2019
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I can definitely tell you that the majority of candidates are NOT getting in through referrals, at least in the vast majority of developed markets.