How to get into MBB Internship with average grades & average University?

Bain MBB McKinsey
New answer on Dec 07, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 30, 2018

Hello Preplounge

I'm an Engineer with very average Grades and an average University. I read often business books and try to teach new things to me. So I'm very motivated to learn new business skills. How could I get an Internship at an MBB? What are your tips? Should I practice as much as I can on Preplounge? Should I do something else before I submit my application? And what should I take care when I submit my application. Do I have chances with average Grades for MBB?



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Anonymous replied on Oct 30, 2018

It won't be easy at all but it is possible. Having led overall recruiting for the Boston office of McKinsey for a number of years, the only time I would make an exception for a case like yours is if they a) came highly recommended by a fellow partner or b) were highly networked with multiple people (non-partners) in the office that were willing to vouch for them. So, the bottom line is you need to network and do some informational interviews with the offices your targeting.

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 30, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


A referral might help you. There are certain criteria for the referral:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.

The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!

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Anonymous replied on Oct 30, 2018

Hi Magnus, welcome to the community! I think you have a good chance if you firstly network to get your application a look-in, manage to do well in the PST/potential tests, and practice lots of live interviews. If you do those things, you have a chance of at least getting an interview with Marakon, Bain, or BCG.

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Anonymous replied on Oct 30, 2018

Matthew is right, it is important to try network. Attend events if you can, or reach out to people from these firms on linkedin and ask to meet for a coffee or to chat on the phone.

The other thing you should be doing is to start applying to other companies and/or to get involved in extra-curriculars, either at your university our outside.

In my time at Bain, I've met quite a few people from average universities. They all had in common that their pre-Bain experiences were interesting and impressive - e.g. multiple banking/finance internships, starting a university club society/etc.

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Anonymous B replied on Dec 07, 2020

Grades and university are just one part of your profile, albeit a very important one to be honest.

Therefore, if you say you have average grades from an average university, you need to strongly compensate it by other things in your CV (e.g. internships in very famous and competitive companieis, multiple leadership positions in university groups, co-founding a start-up/an organization etc.).

Honestly, though, compensating this will be very hard if you have MBB as a target. Simply because there are applicants who have all the things I listed above plus excellent grades from top-tier universities.

If you are in your undergraduate studies, I would try to get into a prestigious Master's program, work very hard to get an excellent GPA and then give it a shot.

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Content Creator
replied on Dec 06, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Honestly, grades don´t matter that much as long as in your CV you can demostrate important qualities: leadership, drive, impact, etc.


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replied on Oct 30, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework


Networok is your best ally here.Only with a strong reco, you could make through the initial screening. Good news is once you are invited to the interview, only your performance will matters.


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