How to answer "are you going to MBB" question if joining a tier 2 firm?

consulting
New answer on May 14, 2022
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 12, 2022

Recently I recieved an offer from a tier 2 consulting firm. I'm happy about the team, the salary, and the types of work they do in the region. I haven't been disclosing the company name to any colleagues or friends, and many of them will ask “are you joining MBB” after they know I'm switching to a new role.

I just feel odd if I tell them I'm not going to MBB. I guess some of them will even ask “why don't you go to MBB” this sort of dumb question, and I'm not comfortable answering these questions. The truth is, I interviewed with MBB till last rounds but didn't get an offer. How should I answer these types of questions? Thanks a lot!

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on May 12, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.900+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (www.case.tools/results) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Personally? I would just say the truth.

Most people assume, rightly or wrongly, that if you don’t go to MBB and join another consulting firm you have been rejected by them. I had cases where candidates refused MBB for a different consulting company, but that’s not what the majority think could happen.

If you say the truth, you won’t have anything to hide. There won’t be any second thought about what you said. And since you faced the truth, you will also feel better in the end.

  • There is nothing wrong in joining a Tier 2 vs MBB. Yes, MBB can offer better exits, but (i) you can have an amazing career in a Tier 2 and (ii) if you really want, you can apply again to MBB in a few years.
  • There is nothing wrong with being rejected by MBB either. A lot of people working at MBB have been rejected at their first attempt – I was one of them.

Besides that, if someone is asking such a direct question they probably miss some “emotional intelligence”, so probably you should not care too much about what they think anyway ;)

Congratulations on your offer and all the best for your career.

Best,

Francesco

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Adi
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replied on May 12, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Why does this matter to you? In your mind you are already considering Tier 2 to be in some form lower than MBB. Actually, I personally dont use this Tier 2, Tier 3 non sense terminology. Its meaningless.

If you are a great fit for firm X, its a beautiful thing for you. You may get into MBB but not fit , life will be miserable. It doesn't matter what others will think or ask. You dont have to justify your life plans to them. You have a plan, so, stick to it. Dont live to please others- it never ends and doesn't bring any fulfillment.

All the best with the new job!

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Ian
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updated an answer on May 12, 2022
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

You have some options here:

  1. Tell them directly you did not get MBB
  2. Tell them indirectly you did not get MBB
  3. Tell a white lie and focus on the fact that you're happy about Tier 2
  4. Lie outright

Alas, this is a personal decision for you to make.

Me personally? I would just emphasize how excited I am for the Tier 2. 

(edited)

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Anonymous B on May 12, 2022

Terrible advice this is....

Ian on May 13, 2022

I'm sorry you feel that way! This is a personal choice for the individual - if it were my candidate I could tailor my advice, but here I'm not comfortable telling them exactly what to say (I can only lay out the options!)

Anonymous on May 13, 2022

You are advising to "lie"..really?!

Anonymous C on May 13, 2022

What an inspiration…

Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 14, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I think it´s going to be an easier situation than what you are picturing in your head. 

People will be happy for you if you are happy with the change, and none will say: A is great, but why didn´t you go to B? It would be totally unpolite and hard to believe. And if they do, you don´t want those friends tbh. 

To true friends, you can always explain that you tried and didn´t work out. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Ken
Expert
replied on May 12, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

I agree with Adi that it sounds more like something you personally need to come to terms with instead of worrying about others.  I would take it positively that your colleagues and friends regard you highly in immediately assuming you will move to an MBB.  The response is surprising but I feel I am lacking context (perhaps you told them you really wanted to join an MBB before, etc.).  

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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