How important is the school I am from once I get to an interview with MBB?

Non target recruiting
New answer on May 17, 2022
7 Answers
187 Views
Anonymous A asked on May 14, 2022

Hello.

Unlike many people here, I do not come from a top business school. I simply have a bachelor degree in business, and I am abount to get a master degree in management, from an unremarkable public university in Italy (it’s not bad by any means, it’s simply not Bocconi).

Thanks to my work experience and extracurricular activities, I was able to get an interview with Bain (who selected me for a a selective event), which will be in about a month. I have been preparing for case interviews for the last six months, so I am pretty confident I will not look bad at the interview. Paired with this, I also have an interview with two T2 firms to be scheduled - and there are other firms I still need to apply to.

Now, I feel really weird.

On one hand, I am happy to be given this opportunity. On the other hand, a quick LinkedIn search shows that the amount of people who got into strategy consulting coming from a school like mine is almost nonexistant. 

My question is, how much importance does my school hold once I get to the interview? If I do a great job at solving the cases, will I have a chance of getting in despite my unprestigious education?

If that matters, I spoke about this to Bain's recruiters and they said they don't care about the school of their candidates. It's just so happens that top schools produce more candidates. They jokily said that I was “the best candidate they received from my university.. but also the only one”, so they argue the issue isn't that some universities are ignored - it's that people don't apply. 

Thank you.

(edited)

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Actually the school matters and it is often an initial filter – it is just that HR cannot publicly say that. However, it matters to get the invitations – in theory it should not have an impact on your assessment during interviews.

Once you get invitations, you should be fine. There may still be some bias from the interviewer if they see a non-target school in your CV, however Bain started to do interviews (also in Italy) with interviewers not aware of the CV of the candidate to avoid bias.

For the other companies, I would recommend to look for a referral if you are from a non-target school. You can find more on how to get referrals here:

 How to Get an MBB Referral

In case you want to improve your CV, you can find some tips here:

▶ How to Write a Great CV for Consulting

Hope this helps, good luck with the interview!

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 16, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Once you have an actual interview, it will not matter much. What matters much more is how you sell yourself

The school is much more important for the initial resume screening and, of course, company outreach efforts at said school.

Focus on the case + fit - that's what matters here!

Here's some case reading: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-to-shift-your-mindset-to-ace-the-case

And some fit reading: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/tell-me-about-yourself-interview-question

 

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Lucie
Expert
updated an answer on May 17, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

weight of the school diminishes with your experience (my school is far from top tier) and with extra CV activities you have done. Also it will be critical to have extremally appealing CV to overcome the school bias. Spend time on your CV from my experience, even brilliant candidates from top school are usually from optimal CV and it is the step with the slimmest chances of all recruiting steps. 

If all this is met, you definitely have chances, 

Good luck!

Lucie

Was this answer helpful?

 

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 16, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congratulations for the interview!

I think you are putting an extra focus on the wrong set of things atm. The school where you come from doesn´t matter any more at this point, since you already have the offer. 

Now you will be tested just like everyone else, and the decision will be dependent on your performance. You are only competing against yourself now (to meet and raise the bar). 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Christian
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on May 17, 2022
Ex-BCG interviewer|Tailored cases| 95% success rate with 3+ interviews

Good question - and one that is regularly subject of debate.

Read Malcom Gladwell's “David vs Goliath” and you will see that a small school might produce the best version of yourself. (Small pont, big fish > Big pont, small fish). So be confident and build on the narrative IF it should come up. Although I agree with previous answers, that you are past the CV screening already.

Best,
Chris

Was this answer helpful?
Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 16, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Very good question and I understand your perspective.

Rest assured, once you are past the screening stage, only your performance in the case and fit interview count which is the beauty of a meritocratic work environment.

All the best!

Cheers,

Florian

Was this answer helpful?
Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2022
Highest recommendation rate / Top McKinsey coach / 100% success rate at >4 sessions / Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

The university doesn't matter once you have your foot in the door. Coming from a good university can maximize your chances of passing the screening, but after that you're measured on your performance alone, not your CV. 

In fact, the opposite can happen. I got picked on a bit during my interviews because the interviewer wanted to hear my ‘Oxford English’, so coming from a prestigious university isn't always great either. 

Best,

Cristian

Was this answer helpful?
Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching
4,027
Meetings
27,664
Q&A Upvotes
292
Awards
5.0
1480 Reviews