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How to get referral for MBB, when you have no connection in the company?

Referral Referral program at MBB
New answer on May 31, 2020
5 Answers
1.7 k Views
Anonymous A asked on May 30, 2020

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Content Creator
replied on May 30, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

1) LinkedIn - Reach to 2nd degree connections, alumni etc.

2) HR - Speak to HR at the offices you're interested in

Some general rules:

1) Never ask for a referral upfront - it's rude. If they were interested, they might not be anymore. If they weren't, well now they definitely aren't. You let them offer, and you let them know you're interested in applying. That's it

2) Play tag - If you can hopscotch across people, that's the best way to land on a good conenction (don't be annoying about it though). What I mean is, if an alumni at x office agrees to speak to him, but you're fundamentally interested y office, let him or her know at the end of the call, and ask if they know anyone you could speak to to better understand that office. Same goes for other industries!

Some great Q&As already here:

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Content Creator
updated an answer on May 30, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


This question has been largely discussed in the past in this Q&A.

Not having (yet) the right contacts is not a deal breaker, since there are "methodologies" to get them.

Sharing some toughts:

  1. You only need 1 referral per MBB firm, so no need for over kill either.
  2. Precisely for this is best to ensure that you get the know the person before. Think that the referral is linked to their name, so they also need to indeed check if you would be a good fit. Best is to have the possibility to meet, even briefly (e.g., coffee chat, recruitment event, etc.)
  3. Don´t ask direclty for a referral in the first interaction. Stablish a communication line and only then tackle the topic, so you leave the other person the chance to "take the lead" and propose the way he/she wants to go.

Hope it helps!




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replied on May 30, 2020
Ex Kearney Senior Manager | Ex McKinsey Engagement Manager | Interviewer & Case Coach at McKinsey (200+ Real Interviews)

Hi There,

There is a lot of ways to do it, some that can be quickly done:

  1. Connect and reach out to your University Alumni that worked or is currently working at MBB
  2. Through Linkedin, reach out to the consultants who are working in the office that you are aiming to apply
  3. Reach out to coaches in PrepLounge

However, you cannot directly ask for a referral in the 1st attempt or message. You need to build a good relationship by asking "smart" questions or asking for tips & tricks. After sometimes, then you can definitely request a referral. Try to reach out to as many people as possible to increase your chance of getting a referral.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching
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Anonymous replied on May 31, 2020

Dear A,

I would go through the cold calls with employers of these firms and try to establish personal link with them. Or you can also reach out to me. I'm helping candidates to get referrals in MBB and other firms around the world.

Happy to help you,

Good luck,


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Ian gave the best answer


Content Creator
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate
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