Do referrals work for summer internships at MBB?

MBB Non target Referral undergrad
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 02, 2024

Hi everyone. 

I'm a sophomore at a non-target school but I think I have a competitive profile for MBB internships. (Faang SWE Internship, Forbes 30 under 30 honouree, President of Consulting Club, VC Fellowship etc. ) 

I was thinking of applying for summer internships at MBB and other T2 firms with referral but I heard from some people that there is no referral system for summer internships. So how should I proceed with my application for summer of 2025? 

Also who should I approach for referrals-would a senior associate's referral work or is an associate partner or partner's referral the way to go? 

(edited)

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Cristian
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replied on Jan 02, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Wow, that's a great profile. I don't imagine you to struggle in getting referrals. 

Whether referrals are accepted or not for the internship program depends a lot on the geography and the firm. Plus, they keep changing the rules from year to year. In short, reach out to the recruiters and ask.

Even if they don't accept referrals, I would still do the networking part for all the knowledge that you can get out of it. Here are a couple of articles on networking for consulting that you might find useful:


Then, regarding who the referral should come from, ideally, it should come from somebody at a seniority at least equal to the one that you're applying for AND from your target office. The extra benefit of getting it from a Partner is small to nonexistent, so in most cases, it's not worth the trouble. 

Good luck!
Cristian

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Ian
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replied on Jan 03, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Better question/answer: Networking matters for ALL roles in general. That means, yes, you should network for summer internships at MBB.

Whether there are formal referrals are not, I promise you networking is always worth it.

Here's some more reading to help:

How to Get a Consulting Internship - Tips and Tricks
 

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Alberto
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replied on Jan 06, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Q1: I was thinking of applying for summer internships at MBB and other T2 firms with referral but I heard from some people that there is no referral system for summer internships. So how should I proceed with my application for summer of 2025? 

This might change by country but in general yes, referrals work as well for summer intern positions. 

Q2: Also who should I approach for referrals-would a senior associate's referral work or is an associate partner or partner's referral the way to go? 

The higher position the better but I suggest you go for all! Not everyone you contact will end up in a referrals so you need to network extensively to collect 1-2 key referrals.

You can check how the recruiting process works from an internal MBB perspective here:

MBB Hiring Hacks - Behind the Curtain Secrets

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Francesco
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replied on Jan 03, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) I heard from some people that there is no referral system for summer internships. So how should I proceed with my application for summer of 2025? 

This might be country-dependent, but in general you can get referred for internships. You can find some tips on referrals below:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation

2) Also who should I approach for referrals-would a senior associate's referral work or is an associate partner or partner's referral the way to go? 

In general, the higher the seniority, the stronger the referral. If you can get a referral from an associate partner or partner, then go for it. If not, an associate referral is still better than no referral.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Florian
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replied on Jan 03, 2024
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Hey there,

Firstly, congratulations on your impressive achievements so far. Your background certainly makes you a strong candidate for MBB internships.

Regarding the referral system for summer internships, it's true that practices can vary significantly based on the geography and the specific firm. The best course of action is to directly contact recruiters or consultants from the respective firms to get the most current information. 

This comes with big benefits: Even if formal referrals are not part of the internship application process, networking is always crucial. First, it can provide valuable insights and potentially open doors that might not be evident through the standard application process. Second, engaging in networking also has the benefit of enhancing your understanding of the current recruiting landscape (when is a good time to apply?). Lastly, you might be able to directly score a referral if you reach out to the right people right away (active consultants, not HR).

When it comes to who should provide the referral, it should ideally come from someone at or above the level you're applying to, and preferably from your target office. Rules of thumb: The more senior and the closer to your target office and practice the better.

Keep in mind that the influence of referrals can also depend on regional or country-specific practices. Therefore, even if there isn’t a formal pathway for referrals, having someone internally forward your resume to HR can be advantageous.

Cheers,

Florian

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Hagen
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replied on Feb 29, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your questions:

  • First of all, referrals can indeed be a significant asset in your application, even for summer internships. While policies might vary, a strong referral can sometimes make the difference.
  • Moreover, when seeking referrals, aim for the highest level of connection you have a genuine relationship with. An associate partner or partner's referral could carry more weight, but an equally important aspect is the referrer's familiarity with your work and character.
  • Lastly, I would advise you to network diligently and personalize your approach for each potential referrer. Ensure your interactions with them are meaningful, so they can confidently vouch for your abilities and fit for the firm.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Dennis
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replied on Jan 03, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

it is always worth trying. Even if there might not be a formal application pathway, it already helps if someone from that company provides your CV to HR. 

The HR departments are run on country/regional level so there might be differences depending on where you are applying to.

There is only upside in trying but there is potential downside in not trying.

Best of luck

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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