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How to position myself (M&A background) and be hired at MBB?

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New answer on Oct 05, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 04, 2020

Hi, all, I have gone through MBB's interview process but failed in the last round. I would like to seek advice on how to maximize my chance to get hired in 1-2 years of time frame.

To start, here's a bit of myself. Post MBA, I'm currently working at big four's financial advisory team, working on M&A projects on the financial (valuation, M&A brokerage, etc) and consulting (market assessment, target screening, commercial due diligence, etc) side. I have decided to take this role as I could leverage some project experience or techinical skills to re-apply to consulting firms.

Here are my questions:

(1) Which group at MBB should I target?

I have noticed that for McKinsey and BCG, there are specific groups that focus on corporate finance. For example, PE/Principal investment and corporate finance group at McKinsey, and corporate finance and strategy at BCG. I'm wondering whether these grouops are filled with ex-investment bankers and whether I should target these groups or a generalist role when I reapply. My key concern is I've just started working in the M&A field, and by the time I reapply, I will accumulate around 1.5 years of experience. Although I will be able to leverage related skillsets, I'm worried that I may not be able to stand out against others if most applicants are mainly from investment banking.

(2) Which case types (strategy/finance) should I focus most?

As mentioned in the beginning, I work on both financial and strategy projects of M&A deals, with more emphasis on the consulting side given my MBA background. I'm thinking of which types of projects should I work on in order to make my profile look more interesting to consulting firms. Should I focus more on strategy projects (to stregthen my consulting skillsets and experience), or should I focus more on financial projects (positioning myself as a finacial expert)? Or, it's good to have a blend of both?

Thank you so much for your advice.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 05, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

When I started in McK, there was a guy in my class who precisely came from the M&A team from a huge telco in Spain. He then did great in Mck btw!

To your questions:

  1. TBH, any of the 3 will be very very similar at firm level. I will have a close look depending on the location, to ensure to apply to an office that indeed does engagements in the desired field.
  2. I would say a blend of both, but I don´t think it´s going to make a big difference honestly

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 04, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

To be honest, I think you're asking the wrong questions. If you were invited to interview at MBB, then Q1 doesn't really matter...you already know how to get in the door. That said, my answer would be "it depends". It depends on where your networking with MBB in this next iteration takes you....ask them what they think!

For Q2, that's a very limited question! There's surely a lot more you need to work on in order to make it past the final round! To answer this, however, you need to prepare for both! Fundamentally, you need to be prepared to answer any question that comes your way.

Now, you real questions should be: How do I get past the final round of my interviews next time?

In order to do this, you need to figure out what you did wrong! Get feedback from your interviewers to identify your areas of improvement. Hire a coach to do a deep-dive interview and identify the major weaknesses. You need to figure out what went wrong and fix it! Rather than avoiding the real problme with 2 tangential questions!

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Udayan
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 05, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Hi,

To add to the others' points of view

1. I would say it depends on what you want to do, If you want to do Corporate Finance then McKinsey for example has a specific practice you can apply to and so do Bain and BCG. I will say though that M&A from Big 4 is not looked at in the same way as M&A at a bulge bracket Investment Bank...

2. If you want to apply to Corp fin roles then work on Finance, if not then focus on consulting work. At the end of the day you should do what motivates you and not what will get you an interview at MBB because once you get into MBB you will want to work on things that are exciting to you in order to be successful when there.

Best,

Udayan

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 05, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Please find my answers below:

  1. Given your background, I would apply for the PE practice whenever present. I helped people to join the PE/corporate finance practice in MBB and they were coming from consulting companies, not IB M&A
  2. M&A strategy projects are usually more suitable for a lateral move, but you can still keep a blend of both. You may also want to take a look on LinkedIn at the profile of current consultants working in the MBB PE practice of your target office, and see if you can identify the most common project types there

As a final point, when you reapply it will be very useful to have a referral. You can find more information on that here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Best,
Francesco

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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