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I got referral from a partner in Boston. Will it still work if I apply to HK office?

Someone asked on Apr 13, 2019 - 3 answers

Hi guys,

So I'm wondering does the location of the contact whom I got referral from matter when the companies select candidates for first-round interview? I got referral from a partner at Bain's Boston office but since I will need H1B sponsorship, I'm strongly considering applying to HK office, but I'm concerned whether in that case my referral will not work as much as in the case when I apply for Boston office.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

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replied on Apr 14, 2019
I will get you on offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire specialist


In my experience, Partner referrals hold most weight when they're in the same country, unless you're applying to a certain Practice and the Partner is a part of the same practice.

Best bet is to get to a point with the Boston recruiter when you've almost secured an interview, and then say you want to transfer. Worst case, they check and say HK might not be taking more candidates and you still have the Boston interview in hand.



Francesco replied on Apr 14, 2019
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (2.000+) | Ex BCG | 1.000+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

referrals from partners work better when related to the same office, but can work as well for different offices. I got a referral for my application at BCG Italy from a partner in the US, and was called a few days after that. In your case however it seems the partner already referred you or is willing to refer you to the Boston office – unless you ask them to refer as well for HK would be challenging to get the same strength as for the Boston application. You may ask the Boston HR to move the recruiting process to HK after interview confirmation, but you have no guarantee when and if they will be able to do so.

Since your concern related to Boston is on the visa, I would first clarify with HR if there is any issue with them sponsoring the Visa. If they are fine with the sponsorship, you can apply for the Boston office. If they are not fine with that, you can ask the partner if he/she can refer you for HK given the visa issue.

Hope this helps,


Vlad replied on Apr 14, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


  1. The person doing a referral should select your office preferences
  2. The partners are usually too lazy to make an official referral through the system, so most probably he just sent your resume to HR without an official referral.
  3. I believe you have 2 options: 1) Ask the partner to reach out to HK office. 2) Once the HR invites you for an interview - tell her that your situation has changed and you are considering HK