How to join MBB in the US/Canada as an european student

and Bain BCG canada europe international student McKinsey United States
New answer on Apr 14, 2022
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 10, 2022

Hello,

I am French and currently pursuing a B.B.A in Germany but recently came to realize that I have absolutely no interest in working in Germany, or France or even Europe as a whole.

My dream would be to live in the US or Canada and work there for MBB. 

 

After doing some research, below are the possible options and my opinion on them: 

- Apply in North America right after my Bachelor's degree  → Not possible, no one will sponsor a visa for an entry-level position

- Work for 2-3 years in Europe after my BBA then get an MBA in North America to get a job there → I really don't see myself spending another 3-5 years (still have 1 and half year to go to finish my BBA) in Europe.

- Get a Master's degree (not MBA) in North America - in management for example - directly after my BBA → would solve the visa problem + directly get me to the US/Canada without having to work in Europe BUT it seems like a Msc in Management is only really significant in Europe (HEC, Esade, LBS etc.) whereas in North America, either no good University proposes one, or MBB doesn't recruit there. Example: MBB recruits heavily from Ivey Business School (Canada) but only from the BBA and MBA classes and not from the MSc class at all… 

 

Did I miss any other possibility? What would you do/recommend in my position? 

I thank you all in advance for your messages and wish you all a nice day!

 

(edited)

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Nicolas
Expert
replied on Apr 10, 2022
Snr Director | Ex-BCG 5y, Official interviewer |Founder Vilmin Coaching - 8y+ of coaching | 200+ interviews | INSEAD MBA

Hello, 
That is a great question and I believe that “My dream would be to live in the US or Canada and work there for MBB.” is entirely possible! 

If you are trying to accomplish your target of working in MBB in North America the fastest & more likely, I would say your option 3 is on the right track! Although there in an important distinction to make: while Master in Management / Strategy might not be main focus of MBB recruiting team here / or get acknowledge as a higher level than MBB regarding starting position (Analyst) → MBB still do hire from these program (more or less same as if you were graduating a BBA). 

This is a great news as doing a Master would allow you to: 

  1. Get a diploma recognized in the country → Get a post-diploma student visa directly
  2. Do an internship at MBB or at reputable companies that will favor MBB full-time recruitment (more changes that recruiters will know companies you have work experience with) 
  3. Network with MBB offices, school alumni, student clubs, etc allowing you to increase your chances of getting invited to interview

 

I come from Europe, did my BBA & MSC in Strategy in Canada (HEC Montreal) and got recruited by BCG right after my MSC → proof that it works!

Hope that helps! Happy to keep chatting if I can help!
Cheers,
Nicolas Vilmin from - Vilmin Coaching (Career & Consulting Coaching)

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Anonymous A on Apr 10, 2022

Thanks a lot Nicolas for your answer! It was very helpful and gave me more hope to achieve my dreams! Have a nice day :)

Cristian
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replied on Apr 11, 2022
Highest recommendation rate / Top McKinsey coach / 100% success rate at >4 sessions / Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

For sure you need to create some logical link for why you'd apply in Canada/US. Applying randomly lowers your chances of actually passing the screening. 

Studying or work are always the two safe bets because they show a track record of you intending to transition to the US/Canada. The closes to that is your third suggested option. Alternatively, you could find a role where the firm is from the US but you can actually work remotely. It will still appear as you working in the US even though physically you won't be there. It's a small trick, but worth considering. 

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Ian
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replied on Apr 10, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

That's exactly right!

You'll do #3 if you really don't want to wait but #2 if you want to maximize your odds.

Remember, as you go down this path make sure you network extensively - that will be critical to getting your foot in the door. Good luck!

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Udayan
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replied on Apr 10, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi, 

In terms of feasibility to move to the US or Canada, the following is how I would look at it.

  • It is generally easiest to go to a top 10 B school program and apply as the chances of getting in and getting sponsorship are quite high
  • If you are at a target school in the EU, then join in Germany and transfer after 2 years, this is a pretty accepted route in McKinsey 
  • I highly discourage you against pursuing a masters in the US to get into MBB - these are NOT target programs and you will waste a lot of money. Plus they are typically targeted at programs like Data Analytics not as an MBA replacement
  • It could be possible to make it from Europe to Canada if you go to Canada and qualify for PR. You will have to network a lot but Canada is a lot simpler than USA for PR. (Green Cards are a pain)

All the best,

Udayan

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 10, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.900+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

If you want to move to North America ASAP, I agree with Nicolas and the best option is 3. 

On the other hand, if you want to apply faster, you can follow 2. So that:

  1. You apply at MBB after your BBA in Europe
  2. You work for 2 years (regardless of whether it is MBB or not)
  3. You apply for MBA (possibly sponsored by the firm) in the US
  4. If 1) was not successful, you apply again at MBB after the MBA

You can apply this method also doing the Master in the US, but you will “lose” the time of the master in exchange for the different location.

The exact best options depends on how fast you would like to move to North America.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Florian
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replied on Apr 11, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hi there,

I would definitely aim for option 2. I have seen a couple of people start in McKinsey Germany and then move offices relatively quickly, one even within six months.

Key is to

  • perform well. If you are one of the firm's high achievers, all doors are open
  • network very early with relevant partners in the area you want to move to, ideally even getting pulled on one of their engagements
  • have strong arguments for the move (personal and professional)
  • be very open and transparent about it with HR from day one

Cheers,

Florian

 

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Moritz
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replied on Apr 10, 2022
McKinsey | 100+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Top rated for experienced hires & career transitioners

Hi there,

You're right about #2 and #3 but consider what you would have to invest to make your dream of MBB in the US come true:

In case of the MBA, you will have to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 USD for a top school (program fees only) on top of housing and opportunity costs.

Hence, my advice is to try and get into MBB in Europe at the lower levels (even if you don't want to - you may have to), work hard and get sponsorship for an MBA. After the MBA, go back to MBB as part of the deal, and push for a change to the US. Alternatively, join MBB in Europe, skip the MBA, and push for a move to the US further down the line.

Either way, there's no “simple” path. Best you can do now is start networking extensively, especially with people who have managed this kind of transition.

Hope this helps a bit. Best of luck!

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Angelina
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Apr 11, 2022
Digital Health start-up founder; ex-BCG; SDA Bocconi. Youtube: Angelina's Business World

Hi there, 

Another option would be to start working in consulting here in Europe or in an international office such as Dubai and then transfer to North America - via a formal transfer request, a program such as a BCG Associate Abroad or a company -sponsored MBA there. 

Now, it‘s essential to be realistic and understand that there is a huge demand to be transferred to the US (not only from Europe, but also from Asia, S. America, etc.), so if you are requesting a formal transfer, you either need to be a top performer/a niche expert or apply for a less popular US location. I don’t know anything about Canada though, but my guess is that demand for it is on par with some smaller US offices. 

Good luck! 

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Ken
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replied on Apr 10, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

A study abroad in the US/Canada during your bachelor degree??

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Anonymous A on Apr 10, 2022

Hi Ken, I am actually going to Montréal, Canada in 6 months for my semester abroad! What should I do? Try networking directly there? Any other advice? Thank you!

Lucie
Expert
replied on Apr 14, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

I think you have it well thought. the options I see are:

1. Yes start at MBB in Europe, after a year you can apply for an internal role in the USA

2. Get you MBA in the USA and apply from there or through internship

Good luck

Lucie

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Nicolas gave the best answer

Nicolas

Snr Director | Ex-BCG 5y, Official interviewer |Founder Vilmin Coaching - 8y+ of coaching | 200+ interviews | INSEAD MBA
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