I don't speak the local language now, would going to a big-4 advisory for 3 years and learn the language a good detour?

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New answer on May 26, 2020
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 02, 2018

Dear experts,

I'm from a European business school (a target school for MBB) but don't speak the local language. I was already lucky to get a referral from a partner and now interning at a big-4 transaction advisory. I love my team a lot and they are always willing to teach me new things like some data analytics tools or some good practice. Recently my 2 managers approached me to extend me a full-time offer and encouraged me to specialize in data analytics and learn python, etc. The company is willing to pay for my language courses and would probably make an exception for me to start from now. I'm very very thankful for this result halfway of my internship, however, my only concern is that if this would shut the door for me to get in strategy consulting after 2 to 3 years.

I clearly understand, without speaking their local language, I won't get into most consultancies anyway. Further more, I’m already the exception as being the only intern who doesn’t speak the local language. Even though I want to get into strategy consulting, I don’t want to be greedy and I know good results take time. So I would assume the options in front of me are as following:

- Stay in my transaction advisory team (no risk) and seek for a change (for sure) when my language skill is ready, hopefully in 2 to 3 years;

- Apply for some English-friendly in-house consulting firms (results unsure) and seek for a change/or not (might stay if the team is good) after 2 to 3 years.

(*Some addition to my background: Accounting bachelor, Accounting and Finance Master, cross-continental study and internship experience, 2 years of internship and startup experience including one in a management consultancy and one in M&A)

It would be really nice if someone of you could explain on my concern and it would be even better if you can share your thoughts on the 2 options I listed or add more options for me to consider.

Best regards,



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Anonymous replied on May 26, 2020

Dear A,

I'm very much familiar with your situation. Good friend of mine also had the same situation, when she moved to Germany after MBA without speaking German language. It's always recommendable to stay where you currently are, especially if your employer gives to you that many exceptions. So that means that they really value you and you have secure environment to stay there for a couple of years and learn a lot of things about transactional advisory and also learn local language in parallel. Afterwards you always would be able to switch the employer and look for MBB in 2-3 years from now.

If you have help, advice or insights, feel free to reach out.

Good luck,

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Content Creator
replied on Dec 02, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Agree with Guennael - you can try applying to other countries as well. Also, I know some people working in Germany in consulting even without the local language (even MBB).


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Tara on Dec 02, 2018

Hi Vlad, I learnt a lot from your answers in Preplounge, I’m in Germany. But I've been to all MBB events that I could go to and every time I got the same answer--the language requirement will only be lowered in the case someone is doing an office transfer. If it also holds true for some new consultants, do you know why they got to be the exceptions? Thank you again for you help.


Anonymous on Dec 03, 2018

I would be interested to know the same thing as Tara! I have C1 German and go to job fairs and MBB events in German, and previously interviewed in German, but at this point am not client ready/could not do a case in German. This has been one of my concerns as well. Tips/insight are welcome!


replied on Dec 02, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

No door will get "shut". Looks like you have a good opportunity now, which you can take advantage of right away. Make sure to not forget your ultimate goal if you do though.

Having said that, if MBB is what you want... why wait? Have you even tried it? What about in another country if the one you're in won't work due to linguistic skills?

Good luck, and congrats for now

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Tara on Dec 02, 2018

Thank you Guennael. I"m well relieved now. Would you mind sharing your thought on the chances for big-4 people getting to MBB? Thank you.