Experienced Hire - When to apply and for what position?

Application application process Engineering and Management Consulting Experienced management consulting MBB
New answer on Sep 26, 2022
6 Answers
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K asked on Sep 13, 2022

Hi all,

I am an electrical design engineer within the buildings/infrastructure sector and would like to change careers into MBB consulting. I’m based in the UK.

In summary, I have roughly 5 years of experience, and a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

However, I am unsure on a couple things:

  • What time of the the year I should be applying as an experienced hire? 
  • What position I should be applying for?

So far, I’m planning on applying in January/February. This will allow me enough time to practice cases. I will also have a promotion by then which should further demonstrate my work ethic and level of expertise.

And I’m targeting the following positions in each respective company:

  • Junior Associate – McKinsey
  • Senior Associate Consultant – Bain
  • Senior Associate - BCG

In general, the MBB websites don’t provide much guidance. McKinsey and BCG simply state that experienced hire recruiting is year-round.

Bain is the only one that has provided a 20th October deadline for the current experienced hire recruiting cycle in the UK. But don’t know if there will be a second recruiting cycle later in January/February.

Could you please share your thoughts on the matter? Any advice is appreciated.

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replied on Sep 13, 2022
Ex-Bain (4.5 years) management consultant with 100+ case interviews; currently a Product Manager at a FinTech

A very Bain centric answer


What time of the year

  • I would err on the side of applying asap given the macro climate. Whilst firms are contracting hiring, they do still have pretty high hiring targets. Its hard to predict what this will look like at the start of next year
  • Bain has very clear guidelines on when they process experienced hires, when the deadlines are and what the overall process will. The process is very similar to the undergraduate interview process but typically has one cycle in the fall and another in the spring


What position

  • Given you have five years of experience and are expecting a promotion soon I would say the Senior Associate position at Bain (and hence the equivalents at other MBBs) is the minimum.
  • Bain will interview you for the SAC role but if they do feel like you are better qualified you will be fast tracked either when you start at Bain or even hired in at the consultant position
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Content Creator
replied on Sep 13, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) What time of the year I should be applying as an experienced hire? 

January should be fine for McK and BCG if you need time to prepare, given you said it is year-round for your target office. 

I would call Bain and ask if it would be ok to apply in January as well and if they expect a recruiting cycle then as well. If not, I would apply now for them (unless you are fine waiting more after January for that application).

2) What position I should be applying for?

Given you don’t have an MBA, you are borderline between pre and post-MBA positions. It seems the positions you mentioned (Junior Associate for McK and Senior Associate for BCG and Bain) are fine. 

I would recommend to find a referral before you apply and get feedback from the person referring you as well, as there are some differences between offices on the exact position you may target.

You can find more information on networking and referrals here:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation 

For other questions please feel free to PM me. 

Good luck!


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Content Creator
replied on Sep 13, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 300 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

I would apply for the autumn recruiting rounds. It sounds like the firms are overall contracting their hiring for this year and the will have already set their recruitment targets for next year. You want to apply when they're running the recruitment rounds for those who are in undergraduate / MBA so that the roles aren't all ‘taken’ before you have applied. 

I suggest reaching out to the recruiting teams at each of the companies to: 1) introduce yourself; 2) clarify which role you should be applying for (the ones that you've listed look right to me but it's worth the conversation); 3) ask when the recruitment deadlines are. They generally fall this month and next, depending on the office, so you'll want to do this sooner rather than later. 

Let me know if I can be of any help and good luck! 

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Sep 13, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi K,

What time of the the year I should be applying as an experienced hire?

Honestly, I think 2 things are most important here:

  1. Your readiness
  2. Your networking progress

If you have momentum with a firm and you're about 80% case ready, you should feel comfortable applying. I don't love the game of timing the market, rather I prefer to maximize your independent odds. There is an element of diversification here as well (if you get a Bain referral next month, go for it! If you BCG in 2 months, apply then!).

What position I should be applying for?

I think you're selling yourself short in your listed roles. I would shoot for Consultant” at BCG/Bain and Associate at McKinsey.

Keep in mind the following as you case prep:





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Content Creator
replied on Sep 13, 2022
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 450+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

When to apply?

This is completely up to you. As an experienced hire, you have the benefit to drive the process yourself and there is much more flexibility with regard to timelines. Apply when you feel ready!

What role to apply for?

With 5 years of professional experience, you should definitely aim for post-MBA roles as, usually, 3 years are enough to qualify for them. If in doubt, reach out to recruiters and discuss your situation.

All the best!



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Anonymous replied on Sep 26, 2022

Hi there, 

I am an experienced hire (at BCG) myself with 13 yrs of industry experience before landing at BCG. 

With 5 years of experience you would be at the limit as I think the minimum is 5 better 7 years and in BCG as an experienced hire is anyone at Consultant level. 

You can apply anytime. 

The role is hard to say without your CV but I would be aiming for Consultant (BCG level). 

If you want to find out more, please feel free to reach out directly and I also invite you to check this article that can answer some of your questions: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-to-get-into-consulting-as-an-experienced-hire

Or feel free to reach out directly.

Good luck!


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Naythran gave the best answer


Ex-Bain (4.5 years) management consultant with 100+ case interviews; currently a Product Manager at a FinTech
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