As others have said, it is not formally required, but is certainly beneficial to an application.
From my perspective, if you do not speak arabic, you generally either need a strong referral or a clear link to the region to have a significant chance of receiving an offer.
However, my friends who spoke arabic all received multiple interviews, even though they had no link to Dubai/Middle East.
Hi Anonymous! In Middle East offices of MBB, speaking Arabic is not a formal requirement for candidates. However, it is of course positively impacting your profile, especially with McKinsey and BCG offices in Dubai who have a large share of their projects in Saudia Arabia, where a many projects have a significant capability building element and where operational client counterparts are oftentimes not very fluent in English.
So in summary - not a formal requirement to receive an offer, but very positively regarded since arabic speakers are a precious resource for many project teams.
you don’t need to know Arabic to be considered for a position in the Middle East. Of course, as a great GMAT, relevant previous working experience and top brands, this can make your CV stronger. However, since the relevant level that will make impact is fluency in the language, if you are starting from zero now it will take quite some time to develop such skill (say between 1000 and 2000 hours according to how you study it and your previous background). Since it’s not a requirement, rather than focusing on Arabic, I would thus focus on finding strong referrals to boost your application.
Dear Francesco, Thank you for your response. I think you are totally correct, in not trying to go after the language, since I am a beginner.
Thanks Sidi for answering the question. I have couple of other questions related to this one -
What level of Arabic is expected? And, how do the consulting firms test that in the interview?
In your opinion, what are some of the best sources to learn Arabic.
Also, does having superlative case performance better than having a fluency in Arabic, with average case cracking abilities.