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How much do MBB referrals matter for target school applicants?

Bain Bain & Company Bain interview BCG BCG CV records CV CV screening
New answer on May 25, 2024
9 Answers
166 Views
Anonymous A asked on May 21, 2024

Hi, 

I'm a student looking for full-time MBB position. I am at a target/semi-target in the US (think Rice, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Duke). Will my application for Bain and BCG be fine without a referral? I think I have some good leadership positions and somewhat good work experience in finance with a 3.92 GPA.

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Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 22, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

A referral is just a door opener such that the recruiting team will look through your application more thoroughly. Depending on the seniority, tenure and advocacy of the person referring you, you have a better chance of getting a first round interview. The more senior the person referring you is, the better. The longer the tenure of that person with the firm is, the better.

The reason is that such voices carry more weight than referrals coming from super junior or brand new people. They typically know the HR folks better and have been involved in recruiting activities for a while so it is usually assumed that they have a good grasp of what types of candidates with which sets of qualifications the firm needs. However, any referral is ultimately better than no referral. Also for candidates who come from target schools, particularly during tight economic conditions such as right now.

Ideally, you get a referral from someone from the same office (or same country) you are applying to. But again, a referral from someone within the same firm but different office or country organization is still better than no referral.

A direct rejection after the CV screening stage can still happen - even with a referral. In that case the recruiting team usually provides some feedback to the person having given the referral. So you should follow up with them to better understand the rationale in case that happens. On the flipside, you can still get an interview invite when you just apply online without a referral - the probability is just lower - particularly when your CV is not “stellar” on a standalone basis.

And as always, factors such as economic conditions and headcount/budget planning of the individual firm also matter significantly in these decisions - but they are not within your control.

Best

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on May 21, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

 Q: Will my application for Bain and BCG be fine without a referral?

In general, a referral will increase your chances of getting an interview. 

Is it possible to get an interview without a referral? Sure. But if you have the opportunity, I would recommend seeking one to improve your chances.

You can find more on referrals below:

How to Get an MBB Invitation

Good luck!

Francesco

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 23, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • I would highly advise you to actively seek referrals even though your credentials seem to be quite strong. Although no one knows for sure if you will pass the screening stage without referrals until you have received feedback, I would consider it a risky strategy to simply not ask for referrals.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare your applications, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

(edited)

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 21, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach
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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on May 21, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Likely yes, but, in this current market you want to get every edge you can. Hence, I'd try to push for referrals for each application.

It can make the difference.

Cheers,

Florian

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Sidi
Expert
replied on May 25, 2024
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi,


If you are at a target school and meet the formal criteria of your target office, you will not necessarily need a referral. Make sure to show the relevant qualities in your CV and cover letter - this is where things become tricky, since only very few candidates really understand what MBB firms are looking for. In this sense, a referral can help mitigate this risk.

Cheers, Sidi

_______________________

Dr. Sidi Koné 

(🚀 Ex BCG & McKinsey Sr. Project Manager, now helping high potential individuals join the world's top Strategy Consulting firms (McKinsey | BCG | Bain))

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Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 21, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

If you can get a referral - then you should get one. It will definitely help.

These days screening-stage rejections are happening even with referrals, and even with past/current consulting experience, let alone target schooling.

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Pedro
Expert
replied on May 22, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Most people get interviews without referrals.

Does a referral help in improving your chances? Yes, it does.

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Oliver
Expert
replied on May 21, 2024
Former BCG interviewer (75+ interviews for associates, consultants and MBA hires) | I will make your practice perfect

Hi,

Given your background it should be feasible to secure an interview without. However, I would definitely try to get a referral - especially in the somewhat tighter current market conditions.

Best,

Oliver

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Dennis gave the best answer

Dennis

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Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe
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