I didn't have the offer in a tier-2 consultancy. Should I apply for MBBs?

Application internship MBB
New answer on Oct 02, 2022
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 28, 2022

Hello,

I would love to have your help on the following situation.

I completed an internship in a tier-2 consultancy without having an offer.

I am now questioning whether I should apply for a full-time position in an MBB or not. 

My fear is to be asked in interviews whether I had the offer in my previous company or not. I am good at cases and have a good explanation about my internship which convinced consultants from other tier-2 consultancies for now. However, I can't overlook the possibility that some senior consultants, partners in particular, consider that not having an offer in a tier-2 consultancy by definition implies that one is not fit or competent enough for an MBB. The probability to be asked about my offer is low but if it happens I fear it might be fatal. I would be very grateful to have the opinion of the community about this.

Another point I would like to mention: if I apply for a MBB, should I apply for a location different from the one in which I had my unsuccessful internship? To remain confidential, I did my internship in a developing country. So, I can apply for an office in this very quickly developing city or in my home-country in the developed world that is less dynamic. By doing so, I could easily avoid talking about the fact I did not have a return offer.

Thank you again for your help. I will be more than happy to give you more details by personal message if you think it can be useful.

Best,

 

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Sep 29, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) I am now questioning whether I should apply for a full-time position in an MBB or not. 

It is totally fine to apply.

If they do ask if you got an offer from the Tier 2, this is what I would recommend:

  1. Say the truth, that is that you did not get the offer
  2. Take 100% responsibility. Say which are the areas where you did poorly. Don’t use any external circumstances like “project was not fit”, “it was a stressful period”, etc. Explain you were lacking some skills, and due to that, you did not perform as expected. The only exception is if they did not hire anyone due to a lack of demand for projects – if that’s the case you can totally mention this (but it should be true)
  3. Explain how you worked hard on those areas and show proof you can do well now in the areas above. Ideally, show another work experience/school project where similar skills were required after that and how you performed well thanks to the learning you had with the Tier 2

In this way you will “own” your failure. This will lead the interviewer to respect you for being honest.

If you use any external circumstances (eg “my team/boss was bad”), even if that’s the case they will very likely think you are covering the real reasons and missing self-judgment. The other alternative would be to lie. I would not recommend that either.

There is nothing wrong with failing at something, if you can show that you have learned from that and applied the learning afterward to succeed.

2) Another point I would like to mention: if I apply for a MBB, should I apply for a location different from the one in which I had my unsuccessful internship?

I don’t think this will make a difference – I don’t think they will ask the question or not based on the office you apply.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
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replied on Sep 29, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Why should the fear of an interviewer maybe possibly asking you a question you don't want to answer stop you?

It's pretty normal to do a Tier 2 internship and then apply to MBB - offer or not.

I'd be shocked if they ask if you have an offer…and, if they do, there are a million ways to respond appropriately (basically, don't answer).

Apply. See what happens. Go for it! You literally have nothing to lose here - don't let yourself get you down!

Apply where you have networked and/or have a referral AND (super important) where your resume makes sense (working rights, prior work/education experience, language spoken, etc.)

Good luck to you!

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Cristian
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replied on Sep 29, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

To be honest, I really think that you're not going to get asked that question. You might be slightly overthinking it at this point :) 

I would also not make the decision of what geography to apply in based on which one would make it easier for me to respond to a hypothetical question I might in the interview. 

Just find an elegant way of responding to that question, don't avoid it :)

Best,

Cristian

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Sofia
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replied on Sep 29, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach

Hello,

If this is your only concern about the application, definitely go ahead and apply. The worst case scenario is that you don't get an offer, which is the same outcome you get if you do not apply. I would prepare a good answer about why you are not returning to the Tier II firm just in case the question comes up, but they won't necessarily ask it, and in any case, not having a return offer doesn't automatically mean that your MBB application is doomed. Just find a way of telling a good narrative about it.

Regarding the location you apply to, choose it based on other considerations (e.g., where you want to live and work, cost of living, industries, etc.). You are not more or less likely to get asked about your internship experience if you interview again in the same country, and it won't differentially affect your chances of success. So if you want to work in the developing country, go for it.

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Pedro
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replied on Sep 29, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

Option 1: Apply. You may or may not get an offer

Option 2: Do not apply. You won't get an offer.

As such, if you want to get an offer, the only acceptable option is 1: apply.

Will you be asked the question? Probably not. 

If you are asked the question are there ways to avoid stating that you didn't get the offer? Definitely. For example, you can say that you'd rather work for the best firm ;)

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Udayan
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replied on Oct 02, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Yes you should definitely apply to MBB. Not getting an offer in a T2 firm is not related to getting into MBB. There are so many factors and unknowns for both.

In terms of how to present the internship - just say that the opportunity was not a good fit. Perhaps the type of work did not suit you, the team culture or anything else that is present in MBB but was not present in your internship (be specific here)

If asked about offer directly you will have to answer honestly. But you don't have to just say no - for example it could have been a mutual decision that you would not be a good fit for the role or that they were not hiring anyone that year in your team so it was bad luck etc. There is always a way to present what happened that is both true and happens a lot.

Do not worry about location based on your past internship. Apply to a location you want to be in. If that is your current country then that is fine - no one is going to go around asking about your internship people have a lot better things to do with their time.

Best,

Udayan

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Clara
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replied on Sep 30, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

100% go for it! Having done consulting it's a great value added to your CV, and also you will see how much easier casing and interviewer becomes once you have seen it “from inside”. 

If they asked you whether you got the offer, I would honestly tell the truth, particularly if you have a good reason why. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Dennis
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replied on Sep 30, 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

There are tons of reasons as to why someone is currently not working at the firm at which they interned. Asking about whether a previous internship yielded a full-time offer is usually not the first thing that comes to mind in an interview. I'd rather be interested in what you experienced and what your takeaways were.

More importantly though, your question suggests that you might be lacking confidence in yourself. You are contemplating not applying to top firms because somebody else did not invite you to return. You are considering even changing the region of your future professional career in order to “escape” past rejection. This is the wrong way of thinking about this and you need a mindset change if this is holding you back.

If you really want to end up in consulting, you should apply to as many firms as possible because getting offers is a bit of a numbers game (sometimes it's just nuances on a given day that can result in you not getting an offer).

If you do end up in consulting, you will have to work for clients and you will be exposed to their questions. Then you also can't be running away every time you anticipate a question you might not like. 

Trust in your abilities and approach the process with a healthy amount of confidence. Otherwise, this entire line of work might not be the right choice.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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