How can I get an opportunity for internship interview at MBB as a PhD candidate student?

get the offer internship internship get the offer
Edited on Apr 28, 2020
6 Answers
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Lingyi asked on Oct 26, 2018
Looking for solid partners. Currently preparing for healthcare related consulting firms

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updated an answer on Oct 27, 2018
Bain & Co interviewer (~3 years) | MBB-prep focused | Expert: Market Sizing; P&L cases | 50+ coachees at MBB

Hi Lingyi!

Very good question, and great to see that PhDs also consider consulting!

To be honest, I don't believe there is any standardized position for PhDs as for instance "Summer Associate" which you have for MBAs. This will mostly depend on:

  • Which country are you applying for?
  • Is your PhD in an area relevant for the given firm?

BCG and McKinsey are building specialization earlier than Bain, so if they need in your region/office an industry hire from a specific industry, you will definitely have a chance (you would then have a similar position/role as a summer associate)
I am assuming that Bain will less give weight to your area of expertise, but I might be wrong as they will highly depend on the office/region you are applying to.

In anycase, I would suggest as next steps:

  1. Keep in touch with MBB consultants via linkedIn/social networks in your region/office
  2. Find out if there is a need for industry hire in your field
  3. Prepare for case interview as if you would be applying for a summer associate position
  4. Send your applications not depending on deadlines but more of the companies needs: landing an internship as a PhD is not common and it will be a lot a matter of timing

I wish you the best of luck and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!



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Lingyi on Oct 27, 2018

Thanks very much! That helps a lot!

updated an answer on Apr 28, 2020
No longer practicing - joining MBB! :)

MBB offices in the US all have a PhD-specific internships/workshops (Advanced Degree Candidate internships).

Look up McKinsey Insight, Bain ADvantage, and Bridge to BCG. McK Insight is a one day workshop that grants you a first round interview. B2BCG is a 3 day workshop that also grants you a first round internship. ADvantage is a 5 day internship that requires a first-round to be selected (and if selected for the first round interview, they will set you up with a consultant who will give you a coaching session), and that grants you a final round internship on the last day of the internship.

These workshops/internships would be the easiest route for a PhD candidate to get into MBB. Otherwise, you can apply during regular summer recruiting for a full time position. For McKinsey, you can also apply for their ~10-weeks summer associate internship (same as the one an MBA student would do). For BCG and Bain, they do not have summer internships for PhD candidates.

In addition to this, being part of a target school as a PhD candidate isn't as important as for an MBA candidate or an undergraduate student.


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Samuel updated an answer on Apr 28, 2020

Hi Lingyi,

You have many great answers here but I think I could provide you with a lot more information specific to you.

First of all, I wouldn't advise that you do not apply for an internship. Instead, I will suggest that you apply for the real job -- go for the associate role. But only do this when you are ready. And by ready, I mean you are ready for a case interview. You do have many great resources here but I'm afraid many coaches here don't deal with candidates of your kind. If they do, I'm not convinced (with all due apology and no pun intended to anyone) they can address many of your deepest fears and myths as a PhD candidate; which is why I will recommend The Consulting Offer 1 by Firmsconsulting. The Star candidate in that session is Felix, a PhD Candidate currently at Mckinsey.

Second of all, you do have a lot of work to do and if you are currently in your PhD program, I will suggest you start now. Please, do not start to network until you have done your resume and truly understand what consulting wants from candidates like you (again, this is where The Consulting Offer 1 works incredibly well). I have used the service and still using and I am excited that this will work for you.

Thank me later

If you do have any more question, I'd be happy to answer them.


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replied on Oct 31, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework

Since you are probably not in the target schools, you'll need to leverage / create your network to make it throught the initial screening process :

- contact consultant on linkedin

- attends events organised by the firm

- meet with the firm when possible (participation in student fairs)

- leverage your personal network if you know people working there


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replied on Oct 27, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I've never heard of any PHD internships. However, MBB companies are more than happy to hire PHDs, so pls apply directly for a full-time role.


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Lingyi on Oct 27, 2018

Thank you!

Anonymous replied on Oct 26, 2018
Looking for partners. Have 1st round Mck interview in August

I tried and was told by all MBB that summer interships are only for MBA candidates. I did, however, attend McK Insight, Bridge2BCG, and Bain AIC. I would definately recommend applying to all of those (they are the closest thing they have to a PhD intership)

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Lingyi on Oct 26, 2018

Thanks very much for that information!

Ben gave the best answer


Bain & Co interviewer (~3 years) | MBB-prep focused | Expert: Market Sizing; P&L cases | 50+ coachees at MBB
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