Does referral always guarantee interview? I have applied to five firms now (MBB+RB+Deloitte+Simon Kucher), but only one company replied to me. I guess one reason might be because I haven't been networking appropriately. I did spend the effort to network, but most of the time I just had a nice conversation and understood about the firm more, without being offered a referral opportunity. I have talked to some friends working in consulting, but they said it would be weird to ask someone who doesn't really know you to refer you (either directly or indirectly asking).
My question is: (1) What should I do to increase the chance of "being referred"? (2) What would be the probability of getting an interview invitation if being referred?
Appreciate the advice.