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Importance of referrals and office of referrer (US MBB)

different office Referral
New answer on Jul 08, 2020
6 Answers
1.9 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 04, 2020

If you have a referral from PL or Principal in one office but are applying to another office (both within US), how important is it to still network in the target office? Or would you likely pass screening if you have a half-decent profile with a PL/Principal referral?

Heard the bar for screening is going to be especially high this year since there's fewer spots.

As an addendum to that, how would you go about networking in the target office if you're out of school? Cold emails or is there a better way of going about this?

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 04, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

A PL or Principal referral from another office may still work. However, if you manage to get it from the same office - or from a partner in the same or another office - you will have higher chances to pass the screening. I got my BCG referral from a US partner for the Italian office and it worked well.

Cold emails work. But you have to follow the right steps.

To find a referral, you should follow three steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement.
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions.
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chances. There are specific ways to phrase it.

Before the call, you should have your CV and Cover ready – in this way you can send them right away it if the person wants to refer you.

If you are interested to know more on referrals, please feel free to PM me. I provide a 30 min session at 50% discount to understand the exact steps to get MBB referrals, directly from home – no events participation required.

Following the same process, I managed to get 6 invitations out of 6 applications – including all MBB – and I regularly see my mentees getting referrals for MBB with that.




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Content Creator
replied on Jul 05, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

The referral is not bound to the specific office - so perfectly fine if your referrers are located in a different office.

And yes, you are right - referrals are now more important than ever!

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


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 06, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

In regards to your referral:

You're perfectly fine/safe. Go ahead with the referral and you can select your office - no problem :)

Just make sure the Pl/Principal knows you're applying to that office.

In regards to networking tips:

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

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Anonymous replied on Jul 06, 2020


Referral from the target office will be more ideal, however, a referral from any office is better than no referral specially in this testing times.

For networking I would suggest all channel, e.g. cold email / LinkedIn to increase your chance of receiving a response. Try to be very concise in your email / LinkedIn message and the objective should be to get a time to discuss. Don't bombard with questions as it is too much demand from someone you don't know to reply the email with answers.

Hope it helps :)

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Anonymous replied on Jul 08, 2020

Dear A,

First of all, my congratulations that you are able to get referral from project lead or a principle in the US. This is already a good news and it doesn't matter that you're applying in the different office, if it's within the US. I think this will definitely increase your chances to get invited to an actual interview. May be you could also ask your refery to introduce you to some other colleagues in the targeted office so that you can also engage with them and even further increase your chances of passing the actual intervies through learning more about actual culture.

Other than that, you can also send cold emails and have a look in your network by asking whether some has friends withing company in your targeted region. Or you can also get back to me, I also have some contacts and might help you with an introduction.

I wish you best of luck,


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 06, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


No problem at all, referrers from different offices are usually the norm.

MBBs pride themselves of being global firms, hence, it does not matter.



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