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How to secure referrals?

BCG consulting McKinsey
Edited on Jul 16, 2020
3 Answers
11.9 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Dec 25, 2018

I am planning to apply to BCG and Mckinsey Middle East offices soon, for the position of undergrad hires. I need some guidance as to how to approach them to consider me ,since,

(1) I am not from their target school (applying via online application) and therefore will be at a disadvantage in comparison to other applicants from target schools.

(2) I recently did my summer internship at a top tier 2 strategy consulting firm in the same region. Plus have 2 other strong brand names and strong academic records.

My question is, how do I leverage my existing plus points (in for example, my cover letter) to convince the recruiters to consider a non-target school applicant for the first round of interviews ?

Hoping for some positive feedback,

Best Regards

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updated an answer on Sep 05, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

In your situation, it would be very useful to have a referral from an alumnus of either the top 2 strategy firm who moved to MBB or of your universities - potentially more challenging since it is not a target school.

The most powerful way to counterbalance any weak point in your CV (as a non-target school) is indeed to find a good referral.

To find a referral, you should follow three steps:

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

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement.
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions.
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chances. There are specific ways to phrase it.

You should prepare three main things before the call:

  • Your own pitch. 3-4 lines should be enough
  • 3-4 questions on the personal experiences of the person. Avoid to ask questions on the company
  • A closing question for the referral. It should be an indirect request to avoid to be too pushy

Before the call, you should have your CV and Cover ready – in this way you can send them right away it if the person wants to refer you.

If you are interested to know the exact email to write, questions to ask and indirect closing to land the referral, please feel free to PM me.

I provide a 30 min session at 50% discount to understand the right steps to get MBB referrals, directly from home – no events participation required.

This includes all the scripts needed for the email to send and the call to have with the consultant.

Following the same process, I managed to get 6 invitations out of 6 applications – including all MBB. I regularly see my mentees getting referrals for MBB with that.

Note: some people will ask you to pay money for a single referral – there is no need to do so if you know the right steps to get all the referrals you want.




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Anonymous B on Apr 12, 2020

Hi...Can you pls help with the names of the tools online which help find the email address of the people in the consulting firms ?


Francesco on Apr 13, 2020

Hi there, please feel free to PM me for more information

Anonymous replied on Feb 05, 2020

Hey A,

First of all, I need to say that referrals are absolutely essential in order to maximize your chances of being invited to the real interview.

I have already helped many candidates with referrals to get their invites and, consequently, turn them into job offers. One of my mentees just thanked me on Monday - he got an offer and decided to join Strategy & Dubai.

I would like to explain you the mechanics how referrals usually work:

My mentee sends me the documents (CV and cover letter) for a specific company.

I have a very wide network of friends, former colleagues and ex-mentees on high positions in consulting (partners, principals and managers) across the world. I chat with them individually praising your competences and skills. Afterwards, I ask them to follow your documents on their behalf directly to their HR ladies while putting a word for you.

In that way you may get your “partner referral” which normally brings you in the pole position for the interview. You may compare it to “skipping the line for business class” at the airport.

If you have any questions or need help to get interviews and convert them to offers, just let me know ?



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replied on Dec 25, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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Francesco gave the best answer


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