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Entry level jobs at MBB from non target schools

consulting MBB Non target recent graduate
New answer on Jun 14, 2022
9 Answers
2.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 13, 2022

Hi, 

 

I’m wondering if you’ve come across people who managed to get entry level jobs at MBB from non target schools in the UK (London, specifically). If yes, what do you think made the succeed? 

 

Thanks! 

Overview of answers

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Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 04, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

The big issue of coming from a non-target is the screening.

If you get the interview, in theory there is no additional advantage due to coming from a target (although some interviewers may, consciously or unconsciously, have some bias due to that).

If you want to get an invitation for MBB from a non-target you should work on 3 things:

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1) CV

The key elements they will look for and that you can optimize are:

  • University brand
  • Major
  • GPA
  • Work experience
  • Experience abroad
  • Extracurriculars and volunteer experience

The fact you don't have consulting experience is not a problem if you structure your CV correctly.

Red flags include:

  • Low GPA
  • Lack of any kind of work experience
  • Bad formatting / typos
  • 3-4 pages length
  • Lack of clear action --> results structure for the bullets of the experiences
  • Long paragraphs (3-4 lines) for the bullets of the experiences with irrelevant details
  • Long time gaps without any explanation

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2) COVER LETTER

You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.

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3) REFERRALS

To find a referral, you should follow three steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write to them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

You can find more information on networking and referrals here:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation 

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BONUS: INTERVIEW PREPARATION

After you managed to get an invitation you need to find out how to pass the interview. You can find more on that at the link below.

▶ How to Prepare for an MBB Interview

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2022
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Yes. 

What they did is that they had a good application strategy. That means multiple things, but most relevant for them was:

  • Getting referrals 
  • Joining events with MBB firms at the office you are interested in joining (e.g., London)
  • Having an amazing application pack (CV and cover letter)

Best,
Cristian

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2022
1300 5-star reviews across platftorms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hey there,

Compared to many other offices, London has a very strong focus on exclusive target school hiring. The only people I know that got through screening from non-target schools got through it either by

  • strong referral by senior leaders of the organization
  • being experienced hires, having worked in promising positions before

Once you sit at the interview table, it's fair game for everyone.

Cheers,

Florian

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Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 13, 2022
ex-McKinsey EM & Interviewer | 7/8 offer rate for 4+ sessions | 90min sessions with FREE exercises & videos

Hi there,

First of all - it's entirely possible to get into MBB London or similar from a non-target school. In terms of the how, the answer will always be this:

  • Smart networking to land a referral - significantly increases your odds of being invited for interviews
  • Impressive application/CV regarding:
    • Academics (there's other great non-target schools out there, no problem)
    • Professional experience (either as generalist or specialist, depending on what track you're pursuing)
    • Extra-curricular (training a football team, running your own little start up, etc.)
    • Presentation (how do you tie everything together to have a killer resume)
  • Interview performance - once you're at that stage, your CV doesn't matter so much anymore and it all comes down to performance

Happy to elaborate more on each of those elements but at a high level, this is it.

Best of luck!

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Lucie
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 13, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader

Hi there, 

to be very honest, it is possible if you have an impressive extra-curriculum activity or any other wow achievement, otherwise it will be very hard if you are just fresh from a non-targeted school. 

The more work experience you have, the less important is the school you come from. 

I would recommend not to give up, but also to apply to smaller boutique and 2nd tier consulting to gain a few years experience, that can offset the school and then you will have greater chances. 

Lucie

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 13, 2022
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Luck plays a huge role. Honestly, the biggest part is getting your foot in the door (i.e., securing an interview). If you are able to network your way to an interview then you have almost as good a chance as anyone else to make it. I say almost because the reality is that some people can be snobbish about where you studied, but by and large this is not really the case.

In short - get a partner referral and you will have a reasonable chance at getting into MBB from a non target school.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 13, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I can talk better for Spain, but yes indeed. 

Take into consideration that a huge factor determining the big numbers from the so called target schools is very related to the much bigger candidate pool those schools present. In sum, it´s not only the quality and preparation of the candidates, but also the numbers!

If we put, let´s say, a 1% success chance, not-target schools that have only a handfull of candidates per year have it more difficult statistically, but that doesn´t mean they need to have worse odds of be worse prepared. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2022
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Networking, networking, networking.

Having someone high up vouch for you is worth its weight in gold.

Of course, you need to pair this with a strong resume (good grades, multiple internships, consulting-related work, etc.).

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Ken
Expert
replied on Jun 13, 2022
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

For my case, definitely luck!  Having been on the other side now as a final round interviewer, I can say it's a level playing field (unlike before) and it really comes down to candidate's case and PEI performance.  This is obviously assuming that you have a strong CV with good academics and min 1-2 meaningful experiences.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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