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employee referral program

MBB networking Referral
New answer on Sep 24, 2020
7 Answers
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mehrasa asked on Sep 21, 2020
I am a business consultant. I am preparing for BCG/ Bain. Would like to work with advanced/pro members

Dear all,

Who knows which one of the consulting firms (especially MBB) has the employee referral program?

Also, any tips for networking in a way to be able to ask for referral is appeciated.

thank you

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replied on Sep 21, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


All MBB companies have referral programs. There are certain criteria for the referral:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets a referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

The conversion to referral will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 21, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi Mehrasa,

Almost every consulting firm has a referral program. Additionally, getting a referral from these firms improves your chances of getting an interview.

That being said, do not directly ask for a referral from someone who you've never met that takes 15-30 minutes out of their day for a call with you. It's rude and an uncomfortable position to put them in! If they want to refer you, they'll do so of their own accord. Asking them doesn't make them change their minds AND if they were willing to before, they probably won't now that you've asked.

Rather, you can "hint" at it by thanking them saying you'll definitely be applying for the coming weeks, and asking if they have any final advice for you.

In terms of networking tips

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

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mehrasa on Sep 21, 2020

thank you @Ian, I didn't understand the point "e ", I will appreciate if you can elaborate on that.

Anonymous replied on Sep 22, 2020

Dear Mehrasa,

Almost every consultant have a referral program, but they are vey careful with that and wouldn't recommend any person. Your documents needs to be polished and presentable for consulting.

First I would recommend you to build your own network, commucate with people, who potentially may help you and make nice communications with them.

If you need any further help or advice with networking, feel free to reach me out.


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Anonymous replied on Sep 21, 2020

BCG has it and I am sure other MBBs also have it. Tier 2 usually also have it as this is a very effective way to get good candidates.

Make yourself an interesting prospect to be referred. They have a strong insentive to refer people as the the monetary compensation is attractive.

Preparing your case interview and asking for a mock interview as a way to showcase your ability is a good way to make them interested to refer you.

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replied on Sep 21, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi Mehrasa,

I am sure that BCG has it and I am confident that other MBBs do have it as well. Consultants use this with precaution as they cannot recommend anyone and everyone, they only keep it for the people they know would ace the interviews (they are also putting their reputation upfront for this person).

So if you are thinking about getting a referral, focus primarily on securing one from a Partner, a Principal or somebody else from the senior management team (a Partner does not get incentive for referring people, so he/she is looking for the right profile to have in his/her team without any financial benefit).

I hope this helps!


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Anonymous replied on Sep 21, 2020

Hi Mehrasa,

An employee referral program offers a financial incentive to current employees if they refer an applicant and that applicant then eventually signs an offer. This is independent from the questions of whether an employee referral is helpful in your process.

The second one is true for all firms. A referral usually gets your foot in the door and secures you the first round of interviews. I would assume that all major firms also have a financial incentive program for current employees, but I can't say for sure.

During networking, it is difficult to secure a referral from just talking to someone on a networking event or linkedin. I would recommend to not ask for referrals upfront. Giving a referral is to some extent also putting your own reputation on the line, so most consultants would only do it for people that they actually know and are reasonably certain they won't bomb the interviews.

Hope this helps!

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Anonymous updated the answer on Sep 24, 2020

Almost every firm has a referral program. For sure BCG and Bain have it.

You need to build solid relationship with the person (hopefully a senior person) to get a referral. It is his/her reputation in the firm as well, when he/she refers someone.


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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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