Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

MBB strategyconsulting switch tier2
New answer on Sep 18, 2021
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 14, 2021

I am currently working at a Tier-2 consulting company. I already have an MBA. Tried to get to MBB but wasn't successful passing the screening (mainly because I applied off-cycle and without any referral whatsoever).

My question is, how much time should I wait to reapply to MBB coming from a tier 2? 

Note that I applied to MBB more than a year ago so the freezing period is not a factor in this situation. It is more of when is a good time to make the switch from a tier 2 to MBB and what is the best strategy to do so? (networking, after promotion, practice growth, …)

NB: I'm based in the Middle East and these are the MBB offices I am targeting.

Thank You

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Hagen
Expert
replied on Sep 14, 2021
Bain & Company Project Leader | 200+ interviews conducted | 5+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi there,

That is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I'm happy to give you my perspective on that:

  • Even if most consulting companies would deny it, the COVID-19 crisis has hit most economies and thus the clients hard, resulting in reduced engagements at consulting companies. My feeling is that they slowly get more confident with recruiting, but especially for experienced hires where there absolute no. of intakes is smaller, I would advise you not rush a career change at the moment.
  • MBB has the tendency to discount your experience, resulting in a reluctance of cross promotions (e.g. “consultant” at Tier 2 → “project leader” at MBB) and sometimes even acknowledging your current rank. Thus, my advise would be that the best time possible for a career change is about 6-12 months after a promotion. You might need to repeat those 6-12 months, but it's still better than being “demoted” or being hired with 6 months to the promotion window in a completely new surrounding.
  • Obviously, as you have already mentioned, your personal situation with your current employer might play in your favor (e.g. specialization in an industry/ topic that is highly sought after).

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to approach the application for MBB, please feel free to to contact me directly.

I hope that helps,

Hagen

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Francesco
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replied on Sep 15, 2021
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

I would say you have two options:

  1. Apply right now (with a referral), assuming the ban is over and you can show sufficient improvements in the CV
  2. Wait for the next promotion and then apply after that

Unless 2 is close, I would go for option 1 if you satisfy the requirements – usually MBB don’t let you get the same position anyway when you do a transition from another company, but let you start from the one below (although with some tenure).

You can find more on referrals here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Best,

Francesco

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Udayan
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replied on Sep 14, 2021
Top rated McKinsey coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

A reasonable time period to wait is 2 years or showing reasonable progress in your time at the Tier 2 (promotions and increased responsibilities). The main aim to show that you are now a different profile to the one they rejected and especially given the new experience will be an asset to the MBB you are applying to. Anything less than 2 years is typically not enough (with exceptions being made in a very hot job market or if you have a great referral).

Best,

Udayan

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Florian
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replied on Sep 15, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | Imbellus Expert

Hey there,

I would recommend you the following approach:

  1. Start networking with current MBB consultants in your region to get some referrals
  2. Wait with your applications until you are short of 2 years of tenure with your current company and do some light case prep. 2 years should demonstrate progress within your firm, ideally with the first promotion already in the bag
  3. Apply with the referrals
  4. Block a couple of weeks for heavy case / aptitude test prep and practice

Reach out if you need help with McKinsey in the process!

Cheers,
Florian

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Ian
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replied on Sep 14, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

While I agree with the other coaches that the general rule is to wait for a promotion, I would say that the current market is booming.

If I were you, I would take my shot at one or two of MBB, depending on where I can get a strong referral (Principal or Partner). 

You may as well try right now while they're desperate to bring in new hires! If it doesn't work, you can wait until your promotion and try again!

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Agrim
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Sep 14, 2021
ex-BCG Dubai PL | 100% Personalised Coaching | 2021 Real Cases only | 6+ years in Consulting

You should apply when you feel prepared - since you want to make sure you clear the process this time around. A second rejection may not look nice.

Do not worry much about promotions, time-frame etc. etc. - particularly in this case when you are moving from tier-2 to MBB.

If you jump after a promotion - to an equivalently promoted position in MBB - you are facing the challenge of coping up with the pressure of the promoted position.

If you jump without a promotion - you will most likely not get any tenure counted against your existing tier-2 experience. Even if you do get some tenure - you will again be up against elevated expectations that would come in accordance with your tenure.

Message me if you want to discuss this in more details.

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Sofia
Expert
replied on Sep 18, 2021
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching | >90% candidate success rate | Personalized approach

Hello,

I thought the general advice here is spot on - the best strategy would be either to apply now or apply a few months after your first promotion. In either case, be sure to do a good amount of networking, and try to get a referral - that would be the most helpful thing to get your foot in the door.

Best of luck!

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Antonello
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Content Creator
replied on Sep 16, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi!

I think networking is definitely a good way to move forward as you will have the chance to understand the specific needs of the office you're interested in, potentially get a referral, etc.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Anto

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Hagen gave the best answer

Hagen

Bain & Company Project Leader | 200+ interviews conducted | 5+ years of coaching and mentoring
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