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How easy / common is it to switch between MBB firms?

Anonymous A asked on Nov 22, 2017 - 2 answers

I just had a BCG Final Round Interview and it was a narrow miss (case studies and personal fit good, communication should have been more professional, apparently). Considering I'm about to complete another degree with a compulsory consulting internship from a top business school, I was told by the BCG Principal giving feedback that I should apply again in 6 months - I guess this means that I could also apply for McK a second time then as well.

I haven't so far applied to Bain just because it is quite a bit smaller in Germany (where I'm keen to be working) with fewer projects to select from, so it's something of a 2nd choice (though at a very high level). I'm going to apply to Bain now anyway, but in case I get an offer, I'm just curious whether and when it would be possible to switch from Bain to BCG / McK later if they continued to appear more attractive and how difficult that would be.

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replied on Nov 22, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Several points:

  1. 6 months freeze in BCG does not mean a similar freeze in McKinsey. In McKinsey, you can reapply in 1-2 years if you manage to demonstrate some career traction and growth
  2. If you get a Bain offer, you can ask the other company where you've applied to expedite the interview process. But in your particular case, you are out of options, since you failed the interviews with the other two companies
  3. There are some examples of people switching between the MBB companies but it usually happened when they already got some experience. McKinsey will not hire someone who just started his career in Bain. Again, the cases of switching the company within MBB are quite rare so I would not bet on this


replied on Nov 29, 2017
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MBB switching is rare at junior levels because it makes little sense. If you are doing well with a given company you will not want to risk your future career success by jumping to another firm. If you are doing poorly, you are unlikely to do better at another one of the MBBs (moving to 2nd or 3rd tier is different) and your target would probably be able to discover this in advance of any interview.

At more senior levels Partners and Directors are regularly poached for their business, but that's obviously a different story.

On Bain Germany, it's true they're not as large in Germany, but with something like 1,000 Consultants and a real investment in top Director leadership from Bain corporate it is hardly a minnow player where breadth of experience and options are going to be an issue.