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Doing a masters to switch to the US (MBB)

masters MBB USA
New answer on Dec 29, 2021
6 Answers
1.6 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Aug 25, 2020

I'm currently a first-year BA at an MBB in an Asian market. I wish to move to the US for personal (spousal) reasons but my firm isn't so keen on transfers to the US.

If I do a non-business masters at a target school (think Stanford/ Berkeley/ MIT), will I have a chance to get into one of the MBBs in USA?

I'm worried if MBB firms will pass up on me since I would've moved on from my current MBB stint after just a year.

Thank you.

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Anonymous replied on Aug 25, 2020

Hi,

Personal reasons are one of the main and strongest reasons to move, thus you should not worry about the "one year".

The thing I would worry about is the non-business master. You have to do your research and understand if not only the school is a target school, but also if the master you have in your mind is a target master. If yes, then don't worry about the one year you did at MBB, in the US personal reasons are of paramount importance and would strengthen your motivations to be there and become security for the companies in the US that you are truly committed to setting up in the country.

Just check the COVID restrictions for the incoming students, just to be sure.

Best of luck!

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Anonymous A on Aug 25, 2020

Thank you for the reply, Giulia. I have found a few people who've gone on to work for MBB and other tier-2 firms (Booz/ Oliver Wyman etc.) after the masters (technology) I plan to enter. Will my MBB stint be of help when I apply again? Or do you think I would face the same (as any other candidate) if not a stricter threshold to get selected.

(edited)

Anonymous on Aug 25, 2020

Your experience in an MBB would probably help in the CV screening (just as it would help in any other job application), due to the reputation, but you'll be treated exactly the same in the interviews. A point of attention I would like to mention: be sure to clarify in your CV that you are not sponsored by the firm for the Master, but that you left the Firm before joining the Master. I saw many of my classmates coming from MBB (but not sponsored, it was simply the last job before the MBA) get rejections from MBBs/other consulting firms because the firms thought they were sponsored!

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 26, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Let me just say that, while it's possible, it is incredibly risky.

It doesn't look great to leave MBB after such a short period, and it will not be easy to get back in after a gap. This is especially true if you're not leaving to do an MBA.

If you really really have to move to the US, tell your company. Let them know that you really have to move or else will be forced to quit. Only do this if you are indeed prepared to quit, but at least you're giving them a chance to transfer you!

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Udayan
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Aug 25, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Hi,

A few points to note to begin with

  • I personally think that your concern about leaving MBB in 1 year is a valid one. I have recruited many ex-MBB folks and 1 year is often deemed insufficient or definitely a red flag. It does not rule you out - you have to have a good reason or you are likely to get into Tier 2 quite easily.
  • I also know that MBB does not allow international transfers (typically) if you have not worked there for at least 2 years as a policy so this is not uncommon. Even personal reasons do not work here
  • Lastly, I can tell you that getting a US work visa right now is almost impossible - processing times are extremely long and rejection rates are very high. This is unlikely to change in the near future from what I can see

So what can you do?

  1. The least risky outcome is to finish out the 2 years (or close to 2 years) and then ask for a transfer to the US which should be more doable post covid
  2. Finish out the 2 years and apply to go to school in the US - please note a Masters Program in the US is NOT a recommended approach for MBB. There are too many masters programs at top schools which are filled with international students trying to get into MBB and they are not feeder programs. MBA at top 10 school , JD from top 5, MD or PhD from top 10 are the most realistic entry points into MBB.
  3. Apply to do an MBA at a program right now which offers a Jan 2021 cohort (e.g., Columbia Business School) - in my opinion this is the best type of Masters you can aim to do if you absolutely must come to the US now

All the best,

Udayan

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Aug 25, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

The process you are presenting seems convoluted.

You may indeed move out from MBB, do a Master, and move in. However you may also:

  1. Insist on lobbying internally, in particular if you have a good performance and relationship with the outside office, for a transit. It may take a bit of time, but probably less than applying and doing a full-time master in the US).
  2. Create a network in the US, and use it to apply for an MBB while at your current office

If you want to transit and do a master, an MBA would definitely help more than a non-business master, plus provide better backups.

The main constraint with all the mentioned options is the visa and the related possibility of sponsorship.

Best,

Francesco

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Antonello
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Content Creator
replied on Aug 31, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi, yes, you would have chances. However, I would recommend trying to move there internally, by building a relationship with some senior consultants of the target office

Best,
Antonello

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Dec 29, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I have seen multiple questions lately in the Q&A regarding doing masters, which one to choose, MBA vs. MiM, which schools to choose (both in US and Europe).

I joined McK after finishing my master in Architecture (totally not related field of study, and still), and I am doing an MBA in MIT atm. Happy to talk about this, and also happy to guide you with MBA applications, something that I have been doing lately. 

Feel free to PM! Cheers, 

Clara

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