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I have a short digital appointment with a Partner from MBB. How to make a great impression for referral?

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New answer on Nov 15, 2020
9 Answers
1.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 24, 2020

P.S: This appointment is nothing related to hiring. After a couple of email and LinkedIn conversatons, I managed to get their appointment for 15 min to clarify questions for my personal (academic) project. How can I make the most of this short time and try getting a referral? Thanks in advance.

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Elice replied on Jun 24, 2020
Current VC Investor, Ex-McKinsey

Focus more on prepping for the discussion itself rather than focusing on getting referrals. Make sure that you showed him/her that you are sharp and prepared, but also coachable (eagerly listening and taking in opinions). I'd say towards the end subtly mention that you're interested to pursue consulting upon graduation and explain why.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 29, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I would take it also as a networking opportunity, indicating how interested you would be in a carreer in consulting and asking for his/her advise on how to proceed.

Cheers,

Clara

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Udayan
Expert
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replied on Jun 26, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

Getting a meaningful referral depends on the strength of your relationship with the individual. In some cases it is easier to get referrals. Examples of this include :

  • Person is very well known to you or to a close family member or friend
  • Person is reasonably well known to family/friends
  • They went to the same college as you and ideally similar major etc (the more similar the more the sense of familiarity and the more comfortable they will feel referring you)
  • Went to the same high school as you
  • You both volunteer in the same organization
  • You come recommended by someone they trust (a professor, a collegue, their mentor etc)

In other situations, the individual is unlikely to be very comfortable to give a glowing recommendation without knowing you. This requires building a relationship. Ok so how does one do that?

The answer is - it takes time and patience. You will have to have multiple interactions with them over a period of a few months. You have to show interest, ask them for how you can be a good candidate, listen to their advice and then work on it. Once they see you are really interested and are doing all that they suggested they will become more invested in your success.

I know this probably isnt the answer you are looking for, but in my experience this is what stands true for most of the cases

All the best,

Udayan

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Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 24, 2020

Hi there,

You will hear very different opinions based on people's preferences - below are views (and by no means the only option)

Most importantly, don't explicitly ask for a referral - the partner knows that you are aiming for it, but don't be so obvious about it.

Prepare interesting open-ended questions: (examples)

  • Where is the industry heading?
  • What would be the impact of X on Y in his/her opinion?
  • If he/she had a magic wand, what would he change in this industry/company/country?

The best thing to do is to have a nice conversation and leave a nice impression - Give him/her an update 1/2 weeks down the line about the outcome of your project.

Only after that, start asking questions about if he/she thinks you have the right profile to be part of his/her team.

I hope this helps

Khaled

(edited)

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Robert
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replied on Jun 24, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

The main idea is making the most of the very limited face time available with the partner - and focusing on the referral question in the back of your mind will probably guide the conversation into a wrong direction from the first place.

So the most important point here is to have an interesting, engaging conversation for both sides. What I personally appreciate a lot are questions probing personal insights from the partner to learn more about the firm ... and that might even lead to some interesting insights. Some questions I am thinking of are e.g.

Hope that helps to think into the right direction - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Ian
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replied on Jul 03, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

1) Focus on the project - they better not get the impression you're using this as an excuse for a referral. Make the topic of the meeting the project and nothing else

2) Be knowledgeable about the project and be driven - ask sharp questions. Be astute. Be articulate in the project and what you need from them

3) Do not ask for a referral - Never ever ask directly.

I think this is a "long play" for you. Again, you need to focus on the project and just generally make the Partner think you're smart, capable, likeable etc.

Then, maybe 2-6 months down the road you can send a message saying "Thanks for the help before, I enjoyed speaking with you, you made me realize how interesting the firm is and how you all think, and I was actually wondering if you think I might enjoy the work at your firm"

^wordsmithed of couse

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Anonymous updated the answer on Jul 03, 2020

Dear A,

It's great that you have a chance to talk with McK partner.

Well, in general, you need to be lightly person on order to do so you need to google the most relevant information about your partner with whom you are going to talk about his background, his competence and focus, past projects. Maybe, you can even find any publications where he was an author. Through this, try to ask him the questions and find similarities with yourself: maybe you cam from the same school, town, or interested in the same topics. This will help you to establish both profesional and personal link.

Listen more than you speak, be an active listener. Partners normally like those person who are smart and listen to them. So make the partner feel great during this conversation. And I'm pretty sure that afterwards he will be eager to help you to get into the firm, which is your ultimate objective.

Hope it helps you,

If you need further tips, just drop me a message,

Good luck,

André

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Jun 30, 2020

Hi,

I would suggest that you should focus on being natural and not trying to fool the partner. If you manage to look smart in his eyes in your topic he will offer referral.

Best,

Anton

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Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 15, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

Don’t ask directly about a referral. I would recommend you take this chance as a networking opportunity.

Try to find something in common and mention it correctly. Learning a linkedin profile will help you with this.

Do you need any further help?

All the best,

GB

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