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Udayan

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I am planning to Join MBA next year when I will be 34 will finish at 35 and my aim is to join MBB is 35 too old?

And I have not worked in a prestigous company. I work in Local NGO in Africa with no brand name and most probable none of the MBB heard of it . So am worried that at 35 years old with no brand company name , it will be impossible to join MBB any insight on that? Thanks in advance.

And I have not worked in a prestigous company. I work in Local NGO in Africa with no brand name and most probable none of the MBB heard of it . So am worried that at 35 years old with no brand company name , it will be impossible to join MBB any insight on that? Thanks in advance.

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The answer to your question ultimately depends on your end goal.

MBB helps if your end goal is the following

  • Bulding your strategic toolkit to be able to leverage that for a more senior role
  • To pivot to a different role that values MBB experience
  • To change careers and try a new industry

MBB is unhelpful in the following instances

  • If you want to continue down the path of Supply Chain - you already have the expertize here, MBB will not add any additional value. If anything you will have slowed down your growth trajectory
  • You want to go into a career where MBB skills aren't explicitly valued (Banking, Digital Martketing, Entrepreneurship)
  • You are bored and looking for a change - MBB is way too demanding for this

In terms of age - I have mentioned in the past that my mentor when I was at McKinsey started his career at 38 and quickly rose up the ranks. However he was also single and very career focused. There are a few things to keep in mind

  • Are you genuinely willing to sacrifice your personal life at this point? I cannot begin to emphasize the depth of this sacrifice - you will be working 12-15 hour days EVERY day and you will be traveling post covid EVERY week. This is not a simple commitment. Everyone's situation is different make sure you are genuinely okay with this commitment
  • There is a genuine toll on your health working these hours and sitting down all day, traveling, eating out all the time etc. You can control some of it but not all at the same time
  • Do you have the energy and focus this job will demand? It is a lot of learning and constantly being challenged. Excellent if that is your goal and not so good if you are looking for a slower pace

All the best with your decision, you are in a great place right now! Feel free to reach out with any questions

Best,

Udayan

The answer to your question ultimately depends on your end goal.

MBB helps if your end goal is the following

  • Bulding your strategic toolkit to be able to leverage that for a more senior role
  • To pivot to a different role that values MBB experience
  • To change careers and try a new industry

MBB is unhelpful in the following instances

  • If you want to continue down the path of Supply Chain - you already have the expertize here, MBB will not add any additional value. If anything you will have slowed down your growth trajectory
  • You want to go into a career where MBB skills aren't explicitly valued (Banking, Digital Martketing, Entrepreneurship)
  • You are bored and looking for a change - MBB is way too demanding for this

In terms of age - I have mentioned in the past that my mentor when I was at McKinsey started his career at 38 and quickly rose up the ranks. However he was also single and very career focused. There are a few things to keep in mind

  • Are you genuinely willing to sacrifice your personal life at this point? I cannot begin to emphasize the depth of this sacrifice - you will be working 12-15 hour days EVERY day and you will be traveling post covid EVERY week. This is not a simple commitment. Everyone's situation is different make sure you are genuinely okay with this commitment
  • There is a genuine toll on your health working these hours and sitting down all day, traveling, eating out all the time etc. You can control some of it but not all at the same time
  • Do you have the energy and focus this job will demand? It is a lot of learning and constantly being challenged. Excellent if that is your goal and not so good if you are looking for a slower pace

All the best with your decision, you are in a great place right now! Feel free to reach out with any questions

Best,

Udayan

Hi,

Your age is only a number and it will definitely not play against you. In fact, more and more clients are looking for "consultants with grey hair", which means they are looking for experienced people who can add value to them. Having said that, you should definitely think about the following and only apply to join Management Consulting if you can overcome the points below:

  1. Be open to learn new things: at the age of 39, people tend to be recognizes as experts in their fields (especially when you hold a PhD), and by moving to management consulting, you will certainly be a beginner in several elements (consulting toolkit in general). Your experience will help you learn and grow quickly, but you should not forget that you are joining a new industry for you and that you will need some time to adapt. Also keep in mind that if you join as a generalist, your computer science skills can be irrelevant to the job you will be doing and that you are starting a new career
  2. Accept to be managed by younger colleagues: at the age of 39, you will probably be the oldest member of the team. You will have Partner (or sometimes Senior Partners) who are younger than you. It might look a bit strange, but a lot of people find it difficult to be managed by people who are much younger than them (as a consultant, your Manager will probably be 10-12 years younger than you). Keep in mind that you are there for a reason and that you need to maximize your learning from everyone, despite how young they are.

You might also think about joining some technology practices in order build on your current expertise and get a specialization early in your career. Some consulting firms (most of the MBBs) have a technology branch that might also interest you. I will invite you to learn about BCG Platinion, McKinsey Digital Labs, etc.

Finally, do not forget why you are joining this industry. For many people, management consulting is a gateway to some bigger professional goals they have and that is why they accept to make several sacrifices, because it is definitely worth it!

Do not hesitate to reach out to me should you need further advice on these elements.

All the best :)

Mehdi

Hi,

Your age is only a number and it will definitely not play against you. In fact, more and more clients are looking for "consultants with grey hair", which means they are looking for experienced people who can add value to them. Having said that, you should definitely think about the following and only apply to join Management Consulting if you can overcome the points below:

  1. Be open to learn new things: at the age of 39, people tend to be recognizes as experts in their fields (especially when you hold a PhD), and by moving to management consulting, you will certainly be a beginner in several elements (consulting toolkit in general). Your experience will help you learn and grow quickly, but you should not forget that you are joining a new industry for you and that you will need some time to adapt. Also keep in mind that if you join as a generalist, your computer science skills can be irrelevant to the job you will be doing and that you are starting a new career
  2. Accept to be managed by younger colleagues: at the age of 39, you will probably be the oldest member of the team. You will have Partner (or sometimes Senior Partners) who are younger than you. It might look a bit strange, but a lot of people find it difficult to be managed by people who are much younger than them (as a consultant, your Manager will probably be 10-12 years younger than you). Keep in mind that you are there for a reason and that you need to maximize your learning from everyone, despite how young they are.

You might also think about joining some technology practices in order build on your current expertise and get a specialization early in your career. Some consulting firms (most of the MBBs) have a technology branch that might also interest you. I will invite you to learn about BCG Platinion, McKinsey Digital Labs, etc.

Finally, do not forget why you are joining this industry. For many people, management consulting is a gateway to some bigger professional goals they have and that is why they accept to make several sacrifices, because it is definitely worth it!

Do not hesitate to reach out to me should you need further advice on these elements.

All the best :)

Mehdi

Thanks Mehdi! I certainly have more questions. I'll book a session with you soon. Thank you — Anonymous B on Jun 10, 2020

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I know a few people who joined consulting only in their 30s also.

It is not so much of a question about the age. It is more about:

(1) are you okay with the consulting life style, given that some people in mid 30s tend to have more family obligations etc. and thus it requires a lot more understanding from family if the path of consulting were to be choosen

(2) are you humble enough to be working with or even working for people who are younger than you but have been in consulting much longer than you. Would your ego get in the way?

If none of these 2 would be an issue for you, then I don't see a barrier why you shouldn't try.

Best,

Emily

I know a few people who joined consulting only in their 30s also.

It is not so much of a question about the age. It is more about:

(1) are you okay with the consulting life style, given that some people in mid 30s tend to have more family obligations etc. and thus it requires a lot more understanding from family if the path of consulting were to be choosen

(2) are you humble enough to be working with or even working for people who are younger than you but have been in consulting much longer than you. Would your ego get in the way?

If none of these 2 would be an issue for you, then I don't see a barrier why you shouldn't try.

Best,

Emily

(edited)

Thanks a lot am ok with both of those two issues. — Anonymous A on May 20, 2020

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You're never too old! (If it's the path you want)

It really depends on your career trajectory. What have you done with this NGO? Have you reached a director level? Will you be joining a top/target MBA?

I knew plenty of people in their mid-30s during the MBA and they went on to MBB.

However, you do need to be conscious of a potential downgrade (i.e. either Consultant or Project Lead), as well as the difficulty in adjusting to the MBB style (long hours, high-level strategic thinking) after NGO work

You're never too old! (If it's the path you want)

It really depends on your career trajectory. What have you done with this NGO? Have you reached a director level? Will you be joining a top/target MBA?

I knew plenty of people in their mid-30s during the MBA and they went on to MBB.

However, you do need to be conscious of a potential downgrade (i.e. either Consultant or Project Lead), as well as the difficulty in adjusting to the MBB style (long hours, high-level strategic thinking) after NGO work

Yes I have reached a director level. I am also willing to adjust to the long hours and the high level strategic thinking. Thanks a lot — Anonymous A on May 20, 2020

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Hi there,

I will simplify the problem for you. Obviously, if you have a clear path of growth in Amazon and that's something that gets you up in the morning, you don't need to go to MBB. You are correct, you likely "won't come out on top."

But maybe you want to do consulting anyways! You will learn a great deal of new skills and knowledge. And open yourself up to new opportunities that you don't realize are out there. Or maybe it's just something you always wanted to do!

However, if there isn't a compelling path for you at Amazon, you should be thinking down the road and MBB can definitely help you. Again, it will expose you to areas you didn't know existed and it will give you new knowledge and skills to succeed there.

Finally, something to keep in mind: supply chain in Amazon is extremely respectable. That can also help you go far.

Best,

Allen

Hi there,

I will simplify the problem for you. Obviously, if you have a clear path of growth in Amazon and that's something that gets you up in the morning, you don't need to go to MBB. You are correct, you likely "won't come out on top."

But maybe you want to do consulting anyways! You will learn a great deal of new skills and knowledge. And open yourself up to new opportunities that you don't realize are out there. Or maybe it's just something you always wanted to do!

However, if there isn't a compelling path for you at Amazon, you should be thinking down the road and MBB can definitely help you. Again, it will expose you to areas you didn't know existed and it will give you new knowledge and skills to succeed there.

Finally, something to keep in mind: supply chain in Amazon is extremely respectable. That can also help you go far.

Best,

Allen

FYI I joined McKinsey at 36, there were definite challenges at working with much younger managers, but once I got over myself, I really started to grow. Happy to share all the details over chat. — Allen on Sep 22, 2020 (edited)

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Hi there,

It depends on your goals. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

  • If you are looking for a career in Amazon and you have a clear promotion path in front of you --> Sticking to Amazon makes sense
  • If you want to change industry, build your own company, aim to positions that you cannot reach now or that you want to reach faster for which consulting helps --> ​ MBB make sense

In terms of the age, it is definitely possible (although requiring), I helped a few people older than you to join MBB.

Please feel free to PM me for further questions.

Best,
Francesco

Hi there,

It depends on your goals. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

  • If you are looking for a career in Amazon and you have a clear promotion path in front of you --> Sticking to Amazon makes sense
  • If you want to change industry, build your own company, aim to positions that you cannot reach now or that you want to reach faster for which consulting helps --> ​ MBB make sense

In terms of the age, it is definitely possible (although requiring), I helped a few people older than you to join MBB.

Please feel free to PM me for further questions.

Best,
Francesco

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Hello,

MBA graduates with technical background are really attractive for consulting companies. Anyway, considering your age and experience, you have more possibilities to be considered for a senior experienced hire position (either Project leader or Principal). For sure you have to be opened to learn new things (I don't think it's a big issue for someone that decided to join an MBA) and be managed by younger people, but it may not be enough.
Consulting companies, especially MBB, look at junior position as an asset to invest in. They have a lot of coaching and training programs (also MBA option) to shape these people and make them to be the future of the company. Bearing this in mind, fresh graduates or young worker profiles have some plus.
That being said, you have a big advantage that is your industry experience together with your MBA experience. You should leverage the latter one to create your own network and propose yourself as an industry expert rather than someone that wants to start from scratch.

Considering all of this, your age is not a problem but you have to propose yourself in the right way.
Feel free to write me if you want to discuss this further, I have already worked with senior managers applying as principal for BCG.

Best,
Luca

Hello,

MBA graduates with technical background are really attractive for consulting companies. Anyway, considering your age and experience, you have more possibilities to be considered for a senior experienced hire position (either Project leader or Principal). For sure you have to be opened to learn new things (I don't think it's a big issue for someone that decided to join an MBA) and be managed by younger people, but it may not be enough.
Consulting companies, especially MBB, look at junior position as an asset to invest in. They have a lot of coaching and training programs (also MBA option) to shape these people and make them to be the future of the company. Bearing this in mind, fresh graduates or young worker profiles have some plus.
That being said, you have a big advantage that is your industry experience together with your MBA experience. You should leverage the latter one to create your own network and propose yourself as an industry expert rather than someone that wants to start from scratch.

Considering all of this, your age is not a problem but you have to propose yourself in the right way.
Feel free to write me if you want to discuss this further, I have already worked with senior managers applying as principal for BCG.

Best,
Luca

(edited)

Hi,

I have a good example of a Senior Partner in the BCG Paris office you joined BCG @37 yo as a consultant (so just before manager). He is working for BCG since 2001 now and very successful. So nothing is impossible, 39 it's still enough young to have great energy and demonstrate willing to learn right ?

It is however possible that you have a shock of juniorisation at the start, this is often the case (this was my case when I joined BCG as a consutlant while I was manager in a T2 consilting firm:)).

Best,

Hi,

I have a good example of a Senior Partner in the BCG Paris office you joined BCG @37 yo as a consultant (so just before manager). He is working for BCG since 2001 now and very successful. So nothing is impossible, 39 it's still enough young to have great energy and demonstrate willing to learn right ?

It is however possible that you have a shock of juniorisation at the start, this is often the case (this was my case when I joined BCG as a consutlant while I was manager in a T2 consilting firm:)).

Best,

Thanks David. This perspective really helps. — Anonymous B on Jun 10, 2020

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Hi,
I have helped 35+ YO candidates in securing their offers in MBB and there is no problem in age. It is only a matter of your motivation in consulting lifestyle (be away mon-fri, work long hours) and in being managed in your first engagements by 30 YO colleagues.

Feel free to text me for any tips or to know more about my program for experienced hires.

Best,
Antonello

Hi,
I have helped 35+ YO candidates in securing their offers in MBB and there is no problem in age. It is only a matter of your motivation in consulting lifestyle (be away mon-fri, work long hours) and in being managed in your first engagements by 30 YO colleagues.

Feel free to text me for any tips or to know more about my program for experienced hires.

Best,
Antonello

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Hi Anonymous,

In general your profile sounds interesting - but I can see you only on the experience hires track in a IT/digitalization related role. In this respect, the age does not matter (it would look odd though if you would apply for an entry-level position).

In terms of how well not-so-extremely-young hires do, it's less a question of their age but much more of their mindset and willingness to grow.

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

In general your profile sounds interesting - but I can see you only on the experience hires track in a IT/digitalization related role. In this respect, the age does not matter (it would look odd though if you would apply for an entry-level position).

In terms of how well not-so-extremely-young hires do, it's less a question of their age but much more of their mindset and willingness to grow.

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Hi,

I do not recommend doing on-campus recruiting with the other candidates. Your age will definitely be a negative factor in the interviews. Moreover, the associate role is not suitable for you.

If your strength is computer science - pls apply for Digital roles, experts track. Thus you will get a desired salary and role

Best

Hi,

I do not recommend doing on-campus recruiting with the other candidates. Your age will definitely be a negative factor in the interviews. Moreover, the associate role is not suitable for you.

If your strength is computer science - pls apply for Digital roles, experts track. Thus you will get a desired salary and role

Best

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If you are making a pivot in your careeer (and you are really committed about it), the MBA program will allow you to achieve that, repositioning you on the job market.

If you have many years of experience in NGOs, why not considering also working in the no profit consulting sector? I can't see in which country you are based, but if you live in the US, why not considering opportunities such as the Bridgespan Group? They started as a spin-off of Bain & Company, provide management consulting services to no profits and foundations and still work very closely with Bain & Company.

Good luck!
Federico

If you are making a pivot in your careeer (and you are really committed about it), the MBA program will allow you to achieve that, repositioning you on the job market.

If you have many years of experience in NGOs, why not considering also working in the no profit consulting sector? I can't see in which country you are based, but if you live in the US, why not considering opportunities such as the Bridgespan Group? They started as a spin-off of Bain & Company, provide management consulting services to no profits and foundations and still work very closely with Bain & Company.

Good luck!
Federico

(edited)

am based in Kenya and am frea — Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

am based in Kenya and am really interested in Strategy consulting. I want to change career thanks for the reply — Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

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Hello!

I don´t think age is what so ever a problem, some of my coalleagues when I joined McK where in their late 30s and they have done wonderful in the firm later, progressing super fast.

However, I would not do in-campus recruiting, but touch base with recruiters separately.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

I don´t think age is what so ever a problem, some of my coalleagues when I joined McK where in their late 30s and they have done wonderful in the firm later, progressing super fast.

However, I would not do in-campus recruiting, but touch base with recruiters separately.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Dear A,

I think it's mostly about your readiness to live a life-style of a consultant (which is quite active and sometimes even exhaustive), combining work-life-family and readiness to learn new things.

Also, recently I have helped some experienced hires to get an offer, so if you need any help, feel free to reach out.

Best,

André

Dear A,

I think it's mostly about your readiness to live a life-style of a consultant (which is quite active and sometimes even exhaustive), combining work-life-family and readiness to learn new things.

Also, recently I have helped some experienced hires to get an offer, so if you need any help, feel free to reach out.

Best,

André

I joined Bain post-MBA at 39. Age hang ups are other people's problem.

I joined Bain post-MBA at 39. Age hang ups are other people's problem.

Thanks a lot. That is encouraging — Anonymous A on May 23, 2020

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Agree with most of the things shared already - you would probably need a good MBA/MPP to be considered for MBB in Africa (assuming you want to stay in Africa?). I currently live in Kenya, and, knowing the local environment, it's not just the top 5-10 schools that are competitive, though. Schools with strong social impact focus (e.g., Oxford, Duke) are considered strong brand names in Africa. Both of these programs can be done in 1 year, which could be a good fit for you. Check out the scholarship opportunities for these schools - I know Oxford has a strong focus on the continent and quite a lot of funding for Africans.

Re development consultancies: check out Dalberg, too.

Best,

Réka

Agree with most of the things shared already - you would probably need a good MBA/MPP to be considered for MBB in Africa (assuming you want to stay in Africa?). I currently live in Kenya, and, knowing the local environment, it's not just the top 5-10 schools that are competitive, though. Schools with strong social impact focus (e.g., Oxford, Duke) are considered strong brand names in Africa. Both of these programs can be done in 1 year, which could be a good fit for you. Check out the scholarship opportunities for these schools - I know Oxford has a strong focus on the continent and quite a lot of funding for Africans.

Re development consultancies: check out Dalberg, too.

Best,

Réka

(edited)

Thanks a lot. Oxford is among the schools am considering as well as Insead. — Anonymous A on May 20, 2020

Yayyy! :) — Réka on May 22, 2020

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Hi Max,

Make sure you prepare your PEI part well for the interviewes. Don't worry if you are 30+, if you have a great experience and all required skills, you will get an offer.

  1. I agree with Vlad and Guennael.
  2. Associate at McKinsey, Consultant for Bain and BCG

All the best,

Egor

Hi Max,

Make sure you prepare your PEI part well for the interviewes. Don't worry if you are 30+, if you have a great experience and all required skills, you will get an offer.

  1. I agree with Vlad and Guennael.
  2. Associate at McKinsey, Consultant for Bain and BCG

All the best,

Egor

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Background info so you understand my response: I joined BCG as a >35yo and nearly 15 years of total work experience

1. No, BCG will not look at your candidacy differently. If anything, they will expect you to be a little stronger on the client-facing side but that won't change their expectations of what you can and cannot do

2. Probably 'Consultant', depending on your work experience / expertise

3. Again, depends on your experience / expertise. Of the top-3, McK is the most open to hiring experienced people, with Bain the least (in my experience)

PS: Out of a sample of 3 experienced hires at BCG Dallas I know (I'm one of the 3), no-one did poorly. I left early to go back to the industry (better fit, I like to get my hands dirty); One of the others became a partner, and the other just turned Principal in the minimum time possible. All 3 of us joined as consultants. Small sample, but I'd argue experienced hires do really well on average. Obviously all 3 of us are very glad we went through the trouble of applying!

Good luck -

Background info so you understand my response: I joined BCG as a >35yo and nearly 15 years of total work experience

1. No, BCG will not look at your candidacy differently. If anything, they will expect you to be a little stronger on the client-facing side but that won't change their expectations of what you can and cannot do

2. Probably 'Consultant', depending on your work experience / expertise

3. Again, depends on your experience / expertise. Of the top-3, McK is the most open to hiring experienced people, with Bain the least (in my experience)

PS: Out of a sample of 3 experienced hires at BCG Dallas I know (I'm one of the 3), no-one did poorly. I left early to go back to the industry (better fit, I like to get my hands dirty); One of the others became a partner, and the other just turned Principal in the minimum time possible. All 3 of us joined as consultants. Small sample, but I'd argue experienced hires do really well on average. Obviously all 3 of us are very glad we went through the trouble of applying!

Good luck -

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| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 27.4k times
BCG Questions What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where you were not the official leader.
4.5 5 212
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where ... Open whole case

Bain Questions

Solved 25.0k times
Bain Questions Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills.
4.6 5 297
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills ... Open whole case