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Ken

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8

How to prove your connection with an MBB office

I plan to enrol in an MBA program at INSEAD next year. After that, I want to apply to an MBB office in Dubai. I have never worked/studied/visited this city, I have no relatives there and I have never studied Arabic (thank goodness this is not required in this office).
The question is how to show my tie to the city? Can you please clarify whether it is possible to consider 1-month studying (say non-credit course at a university) as a connection to a country? Or should I attend a major conference/summit?
Another option is to apply to the London office. I have visited the city several times which, coupled with knowledge of the language, should proof my connection. Am I right?

Thank you in advance!

I plan to enrol in an MBA program at INSEAD next year. After that, I want to apply to an MBB office in Dubai. I have never worked/studied/visited this city, I have no relatives there and I have never studied Arabic (thank goodness this is not required in this office).
The question is how to show my tie to the city? Can you please clarify whether it is possible to consider 1-month studying (say non-credit course at a university) as a connection to a country? Or should I attend a major conference/summit?
Another option is to apply to the London office. I have visited the city several times which, coupled with knowledge of the language, should proof my connection. Am I right?

Thank you in advance!

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Book a coaching with Ken

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My understanding for McKinsey MBA recruiting is that if you meet the language requirement, you are technically allowed to apply to that office, just like how post-MBA associate salary is the same gobally. This is not the case for other entry points such as BA, APD, etc. For that reason both offices you have mentioned have people exactly like you who have never been or lived in that geography join after their mba (e.g., Indian joining Dubai, American joining London, etc.)

Having said that it all comes down to how competitive your profile is. If you have no local connections and you are an average candidate then the chances of you receiving an interview invitation will be low whereas offices with high demand may be more open minded. In the past, Dubai office use to be exactly that when the office was growing rapidly.

My advice is to network well with consultants from the office you are considering so that they can also vouch on your behalf. You don't want to be a nobody who also happens to have no meaningful local connection when your cv is being reviewed.

Good luck!

My understanding for McKinsey MBA recruiting is that if you meet the language requirement, you are technically allowed to apply to that office, just like how post-MBA associate salary is the same gobally. This is not the case for other entry points such as BA, APD, etc. For that reason both offices you have mentioned have people exactly like you who have never been or lived in that geography join after their mba (e.g., Indian joining Dubai, American joining London, etc.)

Having said that it all comes down to how competitive your profile is. If you have no local connections and you are an average candidate then the chances of you receiving an interview invitation will be low whereas offices with high demand may be more open minded. In the past, Dubai office use to be exactly that when the office was growing rapidly.

My advice is to network well with consultants from the office you are considering so that they can also vouch on your behalf. You don't want to be a nobody who also happens to have no meaningful local connection when your cv is being reviewed.

Good luck!

(edited)

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Hi there,

There are 3 main ways you can show a connection with an office:

  1. Interest/connection with the specific projects in that region (easier to justify for Dubai)
  2. Personal knowledge of consultants in that region (to be developed via networking)
  3. Personal ties with the region

If you are missing 3, I would try to leverage 1 and 2. Short courses and tourism won’t really help as mentioned by the other coaches.

INSEAD has also a campus in Abu Dhabi, which may help with some of the previous points.

I helped several INSEAD candidates to get offers in MBB ME and those are exactly the points they followed, in case you have additional questions please feel free to PM me.

Best,
Francesco

Hi there,

There are 3 main ways you can show a connection with an office:

  1. Interest/connection with the specific projects in that region (easier to justify for Dubai)
  2. Personal knowledge of consultants in that region (to be developed via networking)
  3. Personal ties with the region

If you are missing 3, I would try to leverage 1 and 2. Short courses and tourism won’t really help as mentioned by the other coaches.

INSEAD has also a campus in Abu Dhabi, which may help with some of the previous points.

I helped several INSEAD candidates to get offers in MBB ME and those are exactly the points they followed, in case you have additional questions please feel free to PM me.

Best,
Francesco

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Hi there,

I'm sorry but none of these options really prove your connection with these offices :/

1 conference, a few vacations/visits, and even a 1-month course don't really cut it.

Really, you need to have physically lived/worked there and/or attended university (or have working rights).

That said, it's not impossible to get offered an interview in an office where you don't have ties. To improve your chances, make sure to network extensively. If you can, do a study abroad with INSEAD and/or get an internship in the region that interests you.

Good luck!

Hi there,

I'm sorry but none of these options really prove your connection with these offices :/

1 conference, a few vacations/visits, and even a 1-month course don't really cut it.

Really, you need to have physically lived/worked there and/or attended university (or have working rights).

That said, it's not impossible to get offered an interview in an office where you don't have ties. To improve your chances, make sure to network extensively. If you can, do a study abroad with INSEAD and/or get an internship in the region that interests you.

Good luck!

Ian, thank you for this! But I'm wondering if English proficiency is not in itself a reason for contacting an English-speaking office? By saying this I mean a situation where knowledge of French can be considered some kind of connection with the Paris office. — Anonymous A on Jan 16, 2021

Hi there, unfortunately it doesn't work well the other way around. Speaking any local office language is a huge plus...unless it's English...pretty much table stakes to know English in the consulting world now! — Ian on Jan 17, 2021

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There are two questions - Why that location & why that office. You must have genuine reasons for choosing that location (Dubai or London). Tourist visits or doing bits here and there for a month or so wont cut it. So please make sure you think hard about why do you want to choose a particular location- looking for new challenge, want to take risk, lifestyle, geographic location, opportunty to work in a particular sector/industry ect etc

Why that office- do you research, talk to people, attend webinars to understand how that office will be a natural step for you post MBA. The functional & industry opportunities that the office offers is exactly what you are after. Show that you have done your homework.

There are two questions - Why that location & why that office. You must have genuine reasons for choosing that location (Dubai or London). Tourist visits or doing bits here and there for a month or so wont cut it. So please make sure you think hard about why do you want to choose a particular location- looking for new challenge, want to take risk, lifestyle, geographic location, opportunty to work in a particular sector/industry ect etc

Why that office- do you research, talk to people, attend webinars to understand how that office will be a natural step for you post MBA. The functional & industry opportunities that the office offers is exactly what you are after. Show that you have done your homework.

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Hi A,

going to INSEAD will help. Literally half the class at least is coming from consulting and the majority of the class wants to go into consulting. All MBB firms recruit from INSEAD. I would focus on networking the hell out of every opportunity you see. As the other coaches explained, I agree that some bits and pieces wont cut it. There are always undesired options as to saying you have a partner there but that can come back to haunt you. Definitely go for Dubai, but definitely consider applying to London (or even other countries) too. INSEAD is expert in placing ppl into consulting this is literally one of their USPs - you will be able to leverage their resources.

Also, you could at some point transfer to Dubai even if you start in another office. Yes, more tedious and coming at a higher risk but possible.

Best,
Denis

Hi A,

going to INSEAD will help. Literally half the class at least is coming from consulting and the majority of the class wants to go into consulting. All MBB firms recruit from INSEAD. I would focus on networking the hell out of every opportunity you see. As the other coaches explained, I agree that some bits and pieces wont cut it. There are always undesired options as to saying you have a partner there but that can come back to haunt you. Definitely go for Dubai, but definitely consider applying to London (or even other countries) too. INSEAD is expert in placing ppl into consulting this is literally one of their USPs - you will be able to leverage their resources.

Also, you could at some point transfer to Dubai even if you start in another office. Yes, more tedious and coming at a higher risk but possible.

Best,
Denis

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Hi,

Several points here:

  1. Post a top MBA you are quite flexible in choosing the office if you satisfy visa / language requirements, and they are ready to make you a visa
  2. Dubai is very open to foreigners. You don't need language and the visa is done relatively easy
  3. I know quite a lot of cases of INSEAD > Dubai transition.

Best

Hi,

Several points here:

  1. Post a top MBA you are quite flexible in choosing the office if you satisfy visa / language requirements, and they are ready to make you a visa
  2. Dubai is very open to foreigners. You don't need language and the visa is done relatively easy
  3. I know quite a lot of cases of INSEAD > Dubai transition.

Best

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Hello!

TBH, connection to the city is not such a big deal, for sure not big enaugh to considering spending a month of your life there just to proof some sort of connection.

MBA candidates indeed have flexibility when choosing offices, hence I would not worry about this now.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

TBH, connection to the city is not such a big deal, for sure not big enaugh to considering spending a month of your life there just to proof some sort of connection.

MBA candidates indeed have flexibility when choosing offices, hence I would not worry about this now.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Hi,

I think that showing a tie to the city is not a game-changer for the success of your application.

You could apply for both offices and learn more about both of them while you interview for the company.

Good luck,

Antonello

Hi,

I think that showing a tie to the city is not a game-changer for the success of your application.

You could apply for both offices and learn more about both of them while you interview for the company.

Good luck,

Antonello

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