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How long do I have to accept a contract at MBB?

Anonymous A asked on Sep 19, 2017 - 4 answers

Hello community!

I heard that McKinsey gives candidates about 2 weeks to decide on an offer. Do you know how it's like for BCG or other consulting firms? How flexible are they with extending that period and how should I approach the issue of extension?

Any help is appreciated! Thanks in advance

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replied on Sep 20, 2017
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Hi Anonymous,

as for the period to decide on an offer, the standard in the industry is 1-2 weeks; as Hugo mentioned, there could be some differences, but mostly you will receive that time range.

As for the period extension, I will quote one of my previous answers here. I agree with Hugo that it would be safer to speed up the process with the other firms – if you call them and explain that you have an offer and would be very interested to interview with them as well, they will likely accelerate the process. It happened to me after an Oliver Wyman offer with BCG, and manage to complete the whole process in four days instead of the usual 3-4 weeks.

This sometime will also have the additional benefit to decrease the number of interviews you will have to do. Some examples I know first-hand:

  • Once I received my offer from Oliver Wyman, I called the other companies I had in pipeline, to mention I had to take a decision soon. I ended completing the process with BCG with 2 interview rounds, instead of the usual 3.
  • One of the people I coached went through a first round with a MBB company and passed it. At the end of the interview they asked him if he was interviewing with other MBB and he replied he was indeed in the process with others. When they proposed him the final round day, he tried to put it off in order to have time to interview also with the other MBB. They ended presenting him an offer directly, without even doing the final. Of course, his performance was excellent in the first round, but they would have hardly done so without the candidate making clear he was in high demand.

In case it is not feasible to accelerate the process with the other firms, you have two options:

  1. Ask the company who presented the offer to wait more – usually difficult to justify and risky in terms of final outcome
  2. Sign the contract and continue the recruiting process with the other firms – you have to consider if this works for you from an ethical point of view

Hope this helps,


replied on Sep 19, 2017
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Dear consultant,

The time depends on each specific context: office, educational degree (undergraduate/graduate), the urgency of hiring, the company, etc. Some examples:

  • A company gave me 7 calendar days to decide since they already knew that I was going through interviews with other companies and they needed someone experience to start a project asap.
  • During business school (probably the same for undergraduate), the process is more structured, and almost every consulting companies have the same schedule

How to approach the extension? This is a delicate matter.

What I have recommended is that people should approach the other companies they are applying by calling them (if you have the confidence of doing so, otherwise send an email): tell the responsible that you are highly interested in the company because X,Y,Z but that you have received an offer from other company. State that you have a short-deadline to decide whether to accept it or not. Finally, ask if they could please speed up the process

By approaching the company that sent you the offer, you might send the signal that they are not your first choice, leading to a bad perception as a proffesional.

I hope this helps.



Anonymous C updated his answer on Sep 20, 2017

This really depends on where you live. In European countries the firms are more lenient in general with respect to signing deadlines and the flexibility of the process overall. I received a McKinsey offer but wasn't ready to sign. They gave me a month initially but after some calling back-and-forth they gave me an extension. This gave me time to interview with Bain and BCG.

Ultimately, I signed my Bain offer, but this case shows that the companies are much more flexible than they appear to be at first sight when they want to have you.


Anonymous B replied on Sep 20, 2017

I just received an offer from McKinsey for an internship position, and they gave me 3 months to sign. Of course I have already signed it, but depending on the position and how many that applies, I guess it is different.

I know that a friend who signed for another company had way less time, about 1-2 weeks as someone mentioned above, but I think it varies between the companies and how much "legroom" they have.

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