Getting the first round of interview at MBB w/ a referral?

1st round interview networking Non-Target Networking
New answer on Jul 08, 2021
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Jul 08, 2021

Hi all!

I'm currently preparing to apply for the summer internships at MBB, and managed to get a referral in each firm (one at senior manager level, one at mck associate level, and one at project leader level). But since I'm from a non-target-school, I'm worried that I might still not get the first round of interview. 

What's the possibility of not passing the resume screening with a referral? And more importantly, is there anything else I can do to increase my chance of getting interviews?

Thank you so much in advance!


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 08, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I don’t think anyone can answer precisely on the probability that you don’t pass the screening. The answer depends mainly on your CV and achievements there.

There are three main things you need to be invited for interviews:

  • great CV
  • great Cover (not always required)
  • referral – the more senior the person the better

Given you already have referrals you can try to optimize CV and Cover:


Key elements they will look for and that you have to optimize are:

  • University brand
  • Major
  • GPA
  • Internships/work experience
  • Experience abroad
  • Extracurriculars and volunteer experience

Red flags include:

  • Very 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 gaps without any explanation


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 – the one you are referring to – 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.

Hope this helps,


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 08, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

This is a tough question to answer without knowing your resume.


  • referrals
  • applying for internships

definitely should increase your chances to get to the interview stages.

If you are not from a target school, you can still balance this in most offices by

  • strong academic performance (GPA, duration of studies, multiple studies in parallel)
  • experience abroad with internships or exchange semesters
  • extracurricular activities such as running a non-profit, etc.

DM me your resume and I can give you a better estimation of your chances!



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replied on Jul 08, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

A referral makes sure that your application is being put on top of the pile and a recruiter looks at it critical. If it (and specifically your CV) meets the basic requirements, you'll get the interview. 

To make sure it does, you'll need to think through 2 aspects:

  • Content: If you're applying this summer, it's probably too late to pimp the content of your CV. If you plan more long term, you will need to think through the right internships, work abroad, relevant brand names of schools/employers, etc.
  • Presentation: You will want to have an expert look at your CV and give you feedback. Feel free to post it here and ask for suggestions. Presenting your experience in a strong way is critical to make sure that you'r CV is considered to meet the bar.
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 08, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

In times of diversity and inclusion priorities, I would say, a strong profile from a non-target actually puts you in a slight advantage over a "typical" profile from a target school. A lot of it at the end of the day is luck but I would focus on two things:

1. Polishing that CV further where you want to make sure your achievements are cystal clear and the 10/10 readers would agree that you have a strong profile

2. Continue networking, also with recent offerees/new joiners who can also give you recent advice on the process and their individual experiences

Good luck!


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 08, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

While I don't have full information as I don't have your resume in front of me, I would be very shocked if you did not get any interview from all of those 3 with referrals. I would say your odds are good to have a interview. That said, you've done everything you can and maximized your odds to the best of your ability.

Continue to focus on things you can control (i.e. your case/interview prep) and try your best to not spend time worrying about things you can't control. Now that you have submitted your resume, you just have to leave it to fate :)

Fingers crossed for you!

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Francesco gave the best answer


Content Creator
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