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Ian

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201 Meetings

16,373 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

6

How to network naturally and keep the relationship going?

I am trying to network with consulting professionals in my town. However, I am not planning to apply recently. I am thinking of building a more solid relationship with consultants at different firms, and I am planning to apply in 1 to 2 years. I have 2 questions:

1. How to maintain and deepen the relationship? I am quite good at cold mailing and building relationships. However, I find it difficult to maintain the relationship continuously and naturally. For example, a couple of months ago I attended a boot camp coached by one of MBB's regional head, and had great conversation with him. However, ever since the event I couldn't think of any good opportunities to approach him and enhance our relationship.

One career book advised that "For someone you’ve met at a conference, for example, and haven’t seen since, an e-mail every six months or so is a good way to say hello and keep the relationship going. For folks you’ve seen a little more regularly, a friendly e-mail once a quarter is effective." However, I find it weird sending formal emails to people to maintain relaitonship.

2. Is it a good idea to network with very senior people (partner for example), who will be the key decision maker of the office's recruitment? In this case, I feel that I will be directly pirtching myself to the partner. Would this be too bold? I have this concern since I've heard that some firms don't encourage employees to get in touch with candidates as this would create some conflict of interest.

Thanks a lot!

I am trying to network with consulting professionals in my town. However, I am not planning to apply recently. I am thinking of building a more solid relationship with consultants at different firms, and I am planning to apply in 1 to 2 years. I have 2 questions:

1. How to maintain and deepen the relationship? I am quite good at cold mailing and building relationships. However, I find it difficult to maintain the relationship continuously and naturally. For example, a couple of months ago I attended a boot camp coached by one of MBB's regional head, and had great conversation with him. However, ever since the event I couldn't think of any good opportunities to approach him and enhance our relationship.

One career book advised that "For someone you’ve met at a conference, for example, and haven’t seen since, an e-mail every six months or so is a good way to say hello and keep the relationship going. For folks you’ve seen a little more regularly, a friendly e-mail once a quarter is effective." However, I find it weird sending formal emails to people to maintain relaitonship.

2. Is it a good idea to network with very senior people (partner for example), who will be the key decision maker of the office's recruitment? In this case, I feel that I will be directly pirtching myself to the partner. Would this be too bold? I have this concern since I've heard that some firms don't encourage employees to get in touch with candidates as this would create some conflict of interest.

Thanks a lot!

(edited)

6 answers

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

201 Meetings

16,373 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi there,

Honestly, I'm not a fan at all of this Dale Carneige "How to Win Friends and Influence" people sort of thinking. I understand why people do it, I get why you might, and hey, try whatever you think will work!

However, I can tell you what works on me as an ex-BCGer: Genuineness.

What doesn't work? Cheesy quartlery emails/LinkedIn emails pretending that they care about me when I know they just ultimately want a referral :)

My view? Networking is NOT about having lots of connections and business cards of people that you barely know. Networking is much more about building deep, lasting connections with people and having a reputation for good quality work. This gets built over time through consistent face time. Get involved in extra cirriculars, work events, clubs, volunteering, etc. From this you'll form deeper connections, which leads to real opportunities.

Hi there,

Honestly, I'm not a fan at all of this Dale Carneige "How to Win Friends and Influence" people sort of thinking. I understand why people do it, I get why you might, and hey, try whatever you think will work!

However, I can tell you what works on me as an ex-BCGer: Genuineness.

What doesn't work? Cheesy quartlery emails/LinkedIn emails pretending that they care about me when I know they just ultimately want a referral :)

My view? Networking is NOT about having lots of connections and business cards of people that you barely know. Networking is much more about building deep, lasting connections with people and having a reputation for good quality work. This gets built over time through consistent face time. Get involved in extra cirriculars, work events, clubs, volunteering, etc. From this you'll form deeper connections, which leads to real opportunities.

Book a coaching with Adi

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Hey there,

Three tips to cover all the points you raised:

  1. Focus on genuine mutual benefits & trust. Put them first before you & remove the pressure of proving yourself every 30 secs. They will extend favours automatically. Thats just how good humans are. As long as you dont come across as agenda oriented or selfish too early on, you will be fine.
  2. Give yourself enough time-sometimes weeks if not months for the relationship to grow
  3. Pitch yourself and express your asks in a natural way and time this correctly. Read the situation and act accordingly- sometimes you may have to get to the point in the first meeting

Have a look at these threads too for some related tips:

Hey there,

Three tips to cover all the points you raised:

  1. Focus on genuine mutual benefits & trust. Put them first before you & remove the pressure of proving yourself every 30 secs. They will extend favours automatically. Thats just how good humans are. As long as you dont come across as agenda oriented or selfish too early on, you will be fine.
  2. Give yourself enough time-sometimes weeks if not months for the relationship to grow
  3. Pitch yourself and express your asks in a natural way and time this correctly. Read the situation and act accordingly- sometimes you may have to get to the point in the first meeting

Have a look at these threads too for some related tips:

Book a coaching with Ken

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I broadly agree with Ian. Finding a small handful of people where there is genuine mutual interest and connection is much more meaningful beyond quantity and seniority. At McKinsey, I found a huge spectrum with consultant/partner's interest in mentoring and helping candidates succeed and so there's also some luck associated. I've not heard of firms who explicitly tell their partners not to connect with candidates who reach out to them but many won't have any incentive to network with you beyond their personal goodwill.

For your case specifically, being upfront with your intentions might be helpful. If you don't intend to apply soon then it's worth thinking about why someone would find it meaningful to network with you now as opposed to later. Unfortunately these networking relationships are transnational in nature and so you need to just make the most of the timing (e.g., I have a round 1 interview coming up, could I get some advice).

I broadly agree with Ian. Finding a small handful of people where there is genuine mutual interest and connection is much more meaningful beyond quantity and seniority. At McKinsey, I found a huge spectrum with consultant/partner's interest in mentoring and helping candidates succeed and so there's also some luck associated. I've not heard of firms who explicitly tell their partners not to connect with candidates who reach out to them but many won't have any incentive to network with you beyond their personal goodwill.

For your case specifically, being upfront with your intentions might be helpful. If you don't intend to apply soon then it's worth thinking about why someone would find it meaningful to network with you now as opposed to later. Unfortunately these networking relationships are transnational in nature and so you need to just make the most of the timing (e.g., I have a round 1 interview coming up, could I get some advice).

Book a coaching with Gaurav

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Hello there!

Networking naturally may come difficult and following the advice from that career book doesn't seem to be natural at all. It may bother people, because they usually know what it's all about.

It is important to find some commonalities and the fact that you didn't find a way to approach may mean that you just haven't found any.
It definitely would take some time, but if you are going to apply 1 or 2 years from now, don't rush. Spend this time wisely - visit events where you can meet such people.

That the quality of the relationships is over quantity and superiority in this case.

Hope it helps.
GB

Hello there!

Networking naturally may come difficult and following the advice from that career book doesn't seem to be natural at all. It may bother people, because they usually know what it's all about.

It is important to find some commonalities and the fact that you didn't find a way to approach may mean that you just haven't found any.
It definitely would take some time, but if you are going to apply 1 or 2 years from now, don't rush. Spend this time wisely - visit events where you can meet such people.

That the quality of the relationships is over quantity and superiority in this case.

Hope it helps.
GB

Book a coaching with Clara

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Hello!

If you want to apply in 1-2 yeras, I would not start now. It´s a but surreal to think that you can keep the connection with super busy people who don´t know you for that long.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

If you want to apply in 1-2 yeras, I would not start now. It´s a but surreal to think that you can keep the connection with super busy people who don´t know you for that long.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Book a coaching with Iman

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Hi,

I think the ultmate goal is to have a referral into the firms.

From my personal experience, if I don't have shared interest then regular email or catch up won't work. It is not easy to network with people of the same interest unless you join an organization / activities where you have genuine interest (e.g. motorcycling, bicycling, painting)

However, if from our first interaction you showed that you are a potential candidate (e.g. smart, interesting experience) you do not need to connect with me regularly for me to get a referral.

Best,
Iman

Hi,

I think the ultmate goal is to have a referral into the firms.

From my personal experience, if I don't have shared interest then regular email or catch up won't work. It is not easy to network with people of the same interest unless you join an organization / activities where you have genuine interest (e.g. motorcycling, bicycling, painting)

However, if from our first interaction you showed that you are a potential candidate (e.g. smart, interesting experience) you do not need to connect with me regularly for me to get a referral.

Best,
Iman