How does a referral work in different firms?

Application Big4 MBB Oliver Wyman Referral
New answer on Jun 27, 2019
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Marta asked on Jun 27, 2019


I will be shortly applying for entry-level jobs at different consulting practices in Europe. I networked a lot to get referrals and now have at least one contact at each of my target firms ready to support my application. I am still doubtful about the procedure, though.

1) In most cases, the person offers to send an e-mail to HR before or after I submit my application online. In contrast to that, when a friend referred me to Deloitte I received a link from the recruiter to upload my documents to their portal.

One person even mentioned that there are two ways to make a referral: soft (e-mail) and hard, which bypasses the CV screening and a consultant can only use it once per year. Is this real?

I would like to know about it and perhaps network more to get stronger referrals.

2) I will be selecting 3 office preferences for each firm. What is the etiquette regarding referrals here? My thinking was to indicate 33% preference for each office (if applicable) and have my contacts send the referral e-mail at each of the 3 offices. I'm not sure whether it's acceptable.

Any ideas about this and further thoughts are welcome. Cheers

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 27, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1) Most of the junior level consultants will make a hard referral (i.e. put you in the system) since they want a referral bonus. Partners will usually just forward your resume, but that's more than enough. So in your case make sure that they submit you through the system

2) There is no etiquette. The referral is made through a centralized system, so no need to resend it to different offices. You should make a decision based on the following:

  • Countries you can legally work at
  • Languages you can speak
  • Your actual preferences. Allocate the max points if you have a strong preference


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Content Creator
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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