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Does a location-agnostic profile help or hurt one's chances at the application stage?

Tyrion Lannister

Hey Guys,

Friend of mine is in pre-application at Bain and McKinsey and wants to know if a location-agnostic profile will improve his chances or make him appear too cavalier?

Let me explain:

My friend is a North African national with French citizenship, but currently living in the United States. In his McKinsey application, he plans to list his office preferences as 1. Casablanca; 2. Paris; 3. New York; 4. Dubai

In his Bain application, he plans to allocate his percentages across the four as follows: 25% to each.

I would think that such diluted preferences across such disparate geographies could wrong-foot the reviewers and question his career seriousness. At least, this is how I responded to him when he asked me. Of course, I know him well, and his personal and educational and professional history clarify (for the most part) his agnostic attitude to location, but I'm not certain the review teams at Bain and McKinsey will be as accommodating.

What do you guys think?

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Tyrion Lannister replied on 07/11/2018

Hey Vlad,

Thanks for your response! :-)

McKinsey, at least, allows four choices:

https://www.mckinsey.com/next-generation-women-leaders/how-to-apply

You might be right about Bain's 3.

I will pass along this information. I agree that New York (and other Alpha offices) as anything but first choice during application phases guarantees a declination, but his heart is set on Europe/Morocco.

Many thanks!

Vlad replied on 07/11/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

First of all - as far as I remember, you have 3 location options, not 4.

Secondly - there are no strict rules, but I would recommend prioritizing at least one of them with a higher percentage.

For example, putting New York in a 3rd position with 25% doesn't even make sense since that office is the hardest to get into and most probably they will not consider it in this situation. Having 3 preferences with the one prioritized more than the others is totally fine.

Best!

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