How to make partner ?

MBB
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 18, 2024

Hey all,

I will be joining an MBB in a few weeks, as an experienced hire in my early thirties.

My goal is to stay in consulting as long as possible, thus the question : what skills do i need to develop to make partner ?

Thanks ! 

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 18, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Survive.

I've joked with multiple colleagues about this. Of course, it's a generalization (and I have close friends who are Partners who are exceptional), however, making it to Partner is not about being the best/better.

A lot of top talent leave to do other things - the inherent common trait is not being the best.

The inherent common trait is outlasting the others and not being bad. I.e. you just have to be good/average and not burnout over your 6-10 year pathway.

Find a way to be sustainable. Find a way to maintain your reputation. Build and maintain relationships.

Also, probably don't make Partner your front-and-center goal….it's a long road and if you focus on something so far away you'll probably give up before you make it (like being heavily overweight and making your #1 target to have a six-pack and run an iron man).

 

=======HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE ROLE============

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Know that no-one can perfectly prepare for the job and that's the point: You will mess up, you will learn, you will be trained and supported. That's OK!

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First: Read the 25 tips in my consulting handbook

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Second: In terms of things you can learn/do to prepare beforehand:

1) Daily Reading

  • The Economist, The Financial Times, BCG/Mskinsey Insights

2) Industry deep-dives

  • Learn, in-depth, how the industries/companies your office advises, work. (PM me for an industry overview template)

3) Analytics tools

  • Alteryx, Tableau, etc.

4) Excel

5) Powerpoint

  • Best practices/standards
  • Different layouts
  • Quickly editing/updating slides
  • Thinking in PowerPoint

6) Presentation skills / sharp communication

  • There are some online/virtual classes for this

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Third: In terms of doing well in your role when you're there:

1) Understand the context/prompt (what role are you in, what company, who's watching, etc.)

2) Understand the objective (what, specifically, is expected from you...both day to day, and in your overall career progression)

3) Quickly process information, and focus on what's important - Take a lot of information and the unknown, find the most logical path, and focus on that.

4) Be comfortable with the unknown, and learn to brainstorm - think/speak like an expert without being one

In summary, there will always be a flood of information, expectations, competition etc. and not enough time. Find out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

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Fourth: Here are some great prior Q&As for you!

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-makes-a-good-consultant-how-to-get-a-good-review-6790

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-hard-is-it-to-excel-in-top-consulting-firms-6762

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-become-an-engagement-manager-and-partner-quickly-6722

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/need-to-learn-skills-in-the-ample-free-time-before-starting-at-an-mbb-what-should-i-do-6774

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Cristian
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replied on Feb 19, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Wow, what an amazing questions. 

So I'll share with you 1 personal observation, 1 article and 1 piece of advice. 

Personal observation. 

I spent 5 y in McK. If I learned one thing about what it takes to have a long-standing career in consulting, is that it's a lot more about finding sustainability rather than brilliance. Most of those who make Partner are those who retain a long-term perspective on the job and don't rush to make the next promotion as early as possible, burning themselves out in the process. They tend to be people who focus on developing expertise in certain areas and who have a knack for working with clients and maintaining relationships. 

Article

In the link above, I synthesized some of my learnings from when I started in consulting and what it takes to be successful. Hope these will help accelerate your path. 

Piece of advice.

Ask this exact question from a LOT of people. Ideally, Partners and Senior Partners. Write down the main takeaways. Look for Partners. Those you vibe with you should enlist as supporters and mentors. 

Good luck and I wish you an amazing ride!
Best,
Cristian

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Emre
Expert
replied on Feb 20, 2024
14 years | Ex-BCG | Managing Associate Partner | Recruiting team leader

You have asked the million dollar question! (or more accurately, "million dollar / year" question). 

There is no simple answer, people devote years of work hours to figure it out and everyone's journey is different. Some take a straight shot from A to P, some need to make a few careful maneuvers on the way. My journey has been the latter due to various reasons.

Once you start your career, you will notice that partners have a mix of different skills, capabilities and expertise and leverage different strengths to be where they are. Some general advice for a starter:

1) It is a marathon, not a sprint. You will need to plan short term to go up the ranks but always keep an eye on the long term. Have a specific goal and visualize it. For instance, as long as possible isn't the same goal as making partner. Your choice of words here will influence the outcome. 

2) Find a good mentor/coach right away and start working with them weekly. It is an apprenticeship business. Ideally you have one in house and one outside. It is like having a board of directors for the business of you. Getting advice from people who haven't made it there isn't the best use of your time. 

3) Be ready for change - You will be surprised how different the job function of a partner is compared to the consultant when you make it. 

Best of luck!

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Florian
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replied on Feb 19, 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

As a partner-to-be, you are not evaluated on trivial things such as your Excel skills. You are evaluated based on the value you can bring to your firm through managing existing client relationships and building new ones. 

You need a platform, that consists of

  • recognized areas of expertise (industry or function) → where do you add value to your clients and how?
  • a large number of partner colleagues knowing you and your work → do you have the necessary support in the firm to be elected partner?
  • several strong client relationships as well as the ability to develop new clients → can you generate consistent business for your firm?
  • going the extra mile outside of client-facing situations → how do you add value to your firm with knowledge development, organizational things, and leadership involvement?

In short, you need to wear many hats and be resilient because you will always work and are expected to give your everything before becoming a partner. To be honest, for most, it is not worth it!

All the best,

Florian 

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Benjamin
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Content Creator
replied on Feb 25, 2024
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Partner is a long way from where you are. I assume that you are joining at a Consultant or Post-MBA equivalent role. 

Sharing my POV having gone through the ranks, and having left as a Principal (after having considered path to partnership). 

There is much to say about this and I could go into alot of detail and nuance, but you need to understand the path to partnership in 2 parts 

  1. Surviving the consultant role (A/C up till Principal year 2) 
  2. Building your platform to become a partner (from Principal year 2 to equity partner)

To get to #2, you need to have gone through and survived #1. And that in itself is not an easy feat. The skill sets needed for #1 really focuses more on project delivery and execution, but once you get to #2, it's really a different ball game. 

Right now, you should really focus on #1 first, make Principal 1 and then you will still have time to worry about how to get to Partner. 

Happy to have a more detailed chat - just drop me a dm. 

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Feb 29, 2024
30% off in April 2024 | Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

You'll have to develop the complete consulting toolkit. So before thinking about becoming a partner, you have to become a good analyst, then a good consultant, then a good project manager, then a good principal, and finally a partner. 

You don't become a good partner without being decent at the previous level. So start by becoming a good analyst and consultant before anything else.

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Nikita
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replied on Feb 29, 2024
MBB & Tier2 preparation | 85+ offers | 7 years coaching | 2000+ sessions | PDF reviews attached

Hey,

With each consecutive grade your soft skills matter more than your hard skills. Therefore, to make partner, you'll not only have to excel as a consultant and a project leader, but have an ability to develop a vast network of clients to bring in revenue streams for the firm. Also, networking (people) skills and luck play a ton in this.

Nonetheless, making partner is not for everyone and you'll better understand if this track is for you and if you've got what it takes a few years down the line.

Good luck!
Nick

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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