Get a Referral

consulting interviews
New answer on Nov 24, 2020
8 Answers
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Kass asked on Apr 22, 2020
Candidate Led Cases With Advanced to Pro Casers

Hello Prep Lounge Community

I guess I am left with no choice but start looking for a powerful referral so I would like some tips.

I am a PhD from a non target campus of a target school. I am an honors scholar, GPA is very high, from undergrad to PhD GPA ~3.9/4.0. I have a Patent and I have 5 years of experience at a global fortune 500 automotive company as a project lead, received a bold leadership award from my employer and the honors scholar award from my school. All that is not being seen and my resume keeps getting rejected, I am refusing to give up (yet) I have been trying to break into consulting since 2018, while my PhD graduation date led to my applications get rejected in 2018, in 2019 I was not lucky to be selected neither for the advanced degree programs nor to full time positions.

if all these achievements do not speak of a good candidate profile, I do not know what else does ! Now it is even harder as most of them considers me experienced professional because my graduation date is June 2020 !

Please note that I have had my resume reviewed by an MBB recruiter ,a consultant friend, and the career center at my school and it is very well tailored to the consulting job and what they look for.

I have had chats with consultants by using cold emailing techniques and one MBB partner but I do not see how would I ask for a second and a third chat or even for a referral after a 20 mins phone chat.

it is worth noting that I went to a target school for undergrad which is the biggest and main target school for MBB in the middle east not the US.

Could you please share some insight or should I blame it on luck and the universe?

Thank you in advance for all the feedback :)

(edited)

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Luca
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replied on Apr 26, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello Kay,

Feel free to send me your cv so that I can give you a quick feedback and a more detailed answer. There could be several reasons behind this, as the way you present yourself and your experiences.

Best,
Luca

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Kass on Apr 26, 2020
Thanks that would be nice to do ! but I am back on basic membership, not sure I can send messages !

(edited)

Francesco
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replied on Apr 23, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Kay,

it seems you have a strong profile and are doing several things right already; based on what you mentioned the issue of not getting interviews seems related to the following:

  • Your CV is still not crafted well enough, despite being reviewed by several people (I saw several CVs which were supposed to be optimized by former consultants, career center, etc, and they still had strong space for improvement); and/or
  • You are unable to structure the call well enough to get a referral; which means, you are not following a plan during networking calls to create connections and being referred – there is a specific process to follow for that

I do an ad-hoc session based on CV and Cover review and finding referrals, please feel free to PM me if interesting for you.

Best,
Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Apr 23, 2020

Hi Kay,

I am not pretty sure about your targeted geopraphy (you mentioned Middle East and US).

Just to let you know last month I helped 3 guys to be placed in the top consulting firms in the Middle East through referrals since I have a pretty strong network in the region. My friends and former colleagues work as managers, principals and partners there. So maybe I can help you get your interview.

Feel free to share your CV and let's discuss.

Best,

André

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Udayan
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updated an answer on Apr 22, 2020
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

Hi Kay,

Sorry to hear it's been this difficult. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say it is quite likely that not graduating from a target school could be impacting you getting past the screening rounds at most top tier firms. At the end of the day it is 10x harder when you don't go to a target school. It is a wise choice for you to focus on what you call powerful referrals. A partner referral definitely helps get you a 1st round at MBB. Here are some things you could do to get more calls set up

1. Reach out to your school alumna wherever possible in these firms. They have an inherent bias towards getting you hired and boosting their school's perception

2. Reach out to expert partners in the automotive field where you have a lot of experience. They will have a much deeper appreciation of what you have accomplished and will be most likely to want to work with you. The reality is that this sector is not doing well at all and so they might be hesitant to want to hire more people in this field currently. It might help to wait a year and apply when the industry picks up again

3. The most ignored network by far is close friends and family - I am always amazed how many people ignore this. It often happens that your parents/uncles etc. know someone who works at MBB or knows someone that does. These connections are very powerful so make sure to leverage them as much as you can!

Now coming to your question on getting past the first phone call

1. It is unlikely that a partner that you cold call will have a lot of incentive to refer you. People like building a connection first, they want to trust you and then refer you. Some things that help bypass this filer - if you were referred by someone they trust deeply, if you went to their school, if you worked in the same role as them, if your mentor knows them etc. You get the theme here.

2. If the above is not true, you will likely not be able to ask for a referral after the 1st call - so what do you do? you stay in touch! At the end of your call, thank them for their time, take their feedback on how to best apply, work on what they suggest and continue to keep in touch. Send them email updates every few weeks. Request a 15 min call in 2 months again. After a few months of this is likely when they might either refer you themselves because they are now comfortable enough to do so or tell you of other opportunities where you might be a good fit.

I have helped many folks navigate this so feel free to reach out. Most importantly all the best with the process. It is trying and often long but the rewards for persevering are high.

Best,

Udayan

(edited)

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Kass on Apr 22, 2020
I am leveraging my network of friends, even cold emailing tons and they do reply (mostly) and I get on the phone with them. but I mean I do not keep following up every 2 months I thought they would get annoyed. could you please elaborates more about email updates like what? telling them got rejected?
Udayan on Apr 22, 2020
Typically someone would say you need to take the following steps in order to get hired (I assume you ask for advice on these calls) - it is up to you to then send an email every few weeks as an update on things you have done to improve your candidacy and to then ask for more advice or just leave it as an update as well. Building relationships takes time and effort so it is a longer term play and not one phone call only

(edited)

Kass on Apr 22, 2020
Thank you Udayan ! that is very helpful.
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 23, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Which offices did you select? There are offices that are really hard to get in (New York, London). I recommend changing the geographical preference. Referrals will help as well

Also, don't hesitate to follow up and push people since they are usually busy and can easily forget about you. There is no downside

Best

(edited)

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Kass on Apr 23, 2020
I am targeting the smallest offices (Detroit, Ohio) and mainly Detroit.
Clara
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replied on Apr 23, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

WIth your description, you should indeed get some follow ups! Could it be the CV is not correctly drafted? Do you want to send it over ?

Cheers,

Clara

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Antonello
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Content Creator
replied on May 01, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi Kay, a referral will help, especially for most competitive geographies. Try with ex alumni of your university now in consulting (with LinkedIn will be very easy to find them)

Best

Antonello

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Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 24, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi Kass,

Sometimes it's hard to get a referral, but you wrote that you have a friend in consulting, maybe it would be possible to ask friend for a referral?

There could be two reasons why you were rejected: your application is not strong enough (CV and CL) or you didn't impress the interviewer.

Or were you rejected during CV screening?

All the best,

GB

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Luca gave the best answer

Luca

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BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score
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