How does a start up failure decrease my chances to get into MBB?

Bain & Company BCG MBB McKinsey startup
New answer on Aug 19, 2020
3 Answers
4.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 20, 2017

Hey guys!

Trying to make it short:

I have "tailored" my CV towards an MBB entry which may still be my long term goal. However, now I have the opportunity to found a start up company with a friend of mine which I am also considering.

I'm wondering: what if I choose to found and the start up fails? Do you think this will decrease my chances to get into MBB later on or maybe even increase it due to the learning experience I've had?

Let me know your opinion!

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replied on Jul 20, 2017
Ex-Bain & Company Case Team Leader * Placed 40+ MBB candidates as Partner in Europe's leading top-tier Consulting recruiting firm

10 years ago being non-standard and setting up a startup instead of getting a "real" job would probably have counted against you in many MBB interviews, but that is rarely true nowadays.

Startups give you exposure to a level of responsibility and customer demands which are rare for someone early on in a corporate career. Startups can also give you a relatively easy way to identify a real track record of achievement (even if it ultimately fails) in terms of x customers, revenue, recruitment, programme delivery, etc.

I'd also consider that quite a large number of Consultants in MBBs nowadays would like to go work in a startup one day (particularly in Bain where I used to work) and so the fact someone has already done the role suggests a certain level of ambition, drive and personal interest which is attractive.

All that said, one golden rule I've set for people who want to get in MBB: If you want to go work as a Consultant, try to do so now. It's never better to wait.

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replied on Jul 20, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I believe it's not about the failure or startup sucess (If it is a success - why do you even need consulting?). I believe it's much more about the startup idea, impact, your role and how you sell it.

A good friend of mine was growing strawberies and selling it on a farmers market. He did not have any business experience other than that. He has done a lot of networking to get an interview. On the interview he showed the photos of the farm and the market farmers market, demonstrated how his business progressed and what results he achieved. Guess what? He got an offer.

I would asses the idea and what progress you can achieve with the startup and then polish you selling skills. Check the following book: "Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading‎". It will give you an idea of how to sell this experience.



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Anonymous replied on Aug 19, 2020

Dear A,

I don't think, that start-up failure is a bad idea in your CV. As Vlad has already mentioned - the more important is on how you sell this idea in your CV and during the interview, that may highlight you entrepreneural drive.

Wish you all the best,

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Peter gave the best answer


Ex-Bain & Company Case Team Leader * Placed 40+ MBB candidates as Partner in Europe's leading top-tier Consulting recrui
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