Ideal level in firm hierarchy for office transfer?

officetransfer
New answer on Jun 17, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 17, 2020

I know one should wait a minimum of 1.5 to 2 years after joining an office before requesting a transfer.

a) Does it get more difficult to transfer offices the more senior you get?
b) If so, what is the best level to secure a transfer?

c) What about office transfers as an Associate Partner or Partner? Is that common?

d)Is the Associate or EM level the easiest to secure an office transfer?

Thanks alot!

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Clara
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

My toughts (I actually secured a transfer within McK, so of this topic I know a little):

  1. No, the opposite, the difficult thing is when you are too junior
  2. I don´t think there is one ideal one. As BA, most likely, is the most difficult one.
  3. Yes, I know cases in McK. Either for family reasons, or to open a new office.
  4. See the answers above

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous B on Jun 18, 2020

Is it possible to switch firms to transfer to another region at BA level?

Sidi
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

I transferred across geographies everal times within my time at McKinsey and BCG. In general, global mobility is still a bit easier within McKinsey. They also have the most structured and globally harmonized process.

a) No. It is just about being in good standing (good performance rating) and a clear "story" of why you want/need to move. On top of this, you have to get the support of the receiving office ("pull"), ideally by a partner, and your current office's PD needs to support you.

b) There is no best level, even though the first year is difficult because it is hard to cater for point a) above at such an early tenure

c) Yes it is very normal.

d) Does not make a difference in principle. However, at McKinsey EMs are a very scarce and valuable resource. Hence, it is easier to get the pull from the receiving office as an EM (almost all offices are in structural need of good performing EMs)

Cheers, Sidi

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Robert
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
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Hi Anonymous,

I believe it's same principle for all consulting firms, but I can specifically answer for McKinsey only:

  • a) no - you need to first proof your value and then you can request a transfer. If you are a higly valuable resource, everyone wants to have you anyway. So I would even say it's more a matter of your performance than seniority, even though in the first 6-12 months you don't have that much opportunity to consistently build your reputation.
  • b) level is less of an issue - it's really about your performance so that the firm is willing to support that. The more senior and more valuable you are, the easier it becomes - but it's about the value and not seniority.
  • c) I don't have data on it, but based on my observations, relative to the base population of each level, there is not a big difference
  • d) please see point b)

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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Antonello
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
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Hi, I confirm senior BA/associate is the best period to transfer. However, I have met multiple cases of principals and partners that changed office, so it is totally feasible. The increasing difficulty is due to the client relationship. While you are junior you are only assessed for your performance in the engagements. For more senior roles instead, having solid client relationships is crucial, and it is often related to your country. If you have in mind to transfer you will have to establish also relationship in the target country and often work there.

Best,
Antonello

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ISR on Jun 17, 2020

Yes, makes sense. Thanks alot!

Anonymous replied on Jun 17, 2020

Hi,

a) Does it get more difficult to transfer offices the more senior you get?

From Manager and beyond, it's a bit more difficult but still possible (I have a lot a lot of examples at BCG!).

b) If so, what is the best level to secure a transfer?

I would say Senior Associate / Consultant. Like this you have already acquired the working methodologies, you have a little experience and therefore you limit the risks.

c) What about office transfers as an Associate Partner or Partner? Is that common?

Not common, but there are examples (at the BCG Paris office, there were former transferred to the US who later returned to Paris once Partner)

d)Is the Associate or EM level the easiest to secure an office transfer?

see previous answers

Best

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Ian
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
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a) Yes and no

Technically you have more power, influence, etc. over decision-making. However, remember that you're older. This means 1) You probably have family 2) You have more ties at home 3) You won't as easily meet new people and 4) You value is tied to your network...i.e. winning business

b) Definitely Consultant / Senior Associate

c) Australia had a lot of German Partners come over. If definitely happens. I genuinely don't know how they do it at that age / level though!

d) See point a :)

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Luca
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
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Hello,

If you are talking about transfer within the same company, it gets more difficult after 2/3 year of experience. Starting from manager position (or even before) you develop your network of clients and partners that is hard to be replaced and built from scratch again.
The perfect window, as you said, is after 1.5/2 years

Best,
Luca

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Anonymous replied on Jun 17, 2020

Hi there,

I think the sweet spot is around Associate/Engagement manager level. This is when you would have established a certain skill set and reputation that can make both offices arrive at an agreement faster.

Regarding Partner level transfer, to be honest I haven't seen such a case yet. But I think it would be very tough for the Partner to succeed after the transfer because he/she will have to start their business development activities almost from scratch in a new region.

I hope it helps.

Khaled

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Anonymous A on Jun 17, 2020

Thanks alot!

Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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