is 28 y/o too old for MBB?

BCG McKinsey and Bain
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
11 Answers
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Alex asked on Apr 17, 2020

Does it make sense for me to join MBB as business analyst at 28 y/o?

When my friends joined the firm when they were 20-22 y/o.

Or better stick to industry and grow there?

I mean if someone joins the firm at 20 y/o by 28 they can become a partner. And i will just start from bottom

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Hugo
Expert
replied on Apr 17, 2020
Digital entrepreneur turned BCG consultant // Coach with focus on PEI

Hi Alex,

Interesting question. It is true that most people joining MBBs are in their early 20s. Some people are partner at 28, but this is clearly fast tracks. That being said, a lot of people are joining post-MBAs as Consultants and are in the 25-28 age range. Experienced hires join at 30 yrs old +.

At the end, it all boils down to what you really want to do. If you join at 28 (I am assuming as an experienced hire) here are the pros/cons I'd see:

Pros

  • Being more mature: this is clearly something that helps both internally but also in your client facing time
  • Exposure to other businesses: this can be highly beneficial as you will have practical experience
  • Networking: you'll probably be able to network way more with people your age - that are higher up in the food chain
  • Seniority: you might get in a higher grade (Consultant vs. Associate)

Cons

  • Being managed by younger people: this is a con, but it all depends on how you handle it
  • Having to adapt and change: MBBs have a very specific way/methodology which you'll have to learn and sometimes ditch some of your learnings in previous roles
  • Money/age ratio: you'll probably be making less than your age peers

As a conclusion: 28 is clearly not too late to join an MBB, you'll just have to weigh pros/cons based on your specific goals

Hope this helps,

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Apr 17, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Alex,

no it is not too old! And to be honest - I believe your perception is very distorted. The probability to start at an MBB with 28 is MUCH higher than to start at age 20 (which is EXTREMELY young and finding a candidate with the required profile at that age is incredibly rare; same is true for making Partner before age 30 - this is also EXTREMELY rare!).

I myself was 32 when I started consulting at BCG. I started as a Consultant (one level above the "Business Analyst" level at MBB, and I had several peers in my Office that were my age or older than me.

So make sure you have/build a very strong profile with the right experience and skills highlighted, then age is not a major issue with MBB.

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous A on Apr 17, 2020
Ciao Sidi, following up on this since it's very relevant (and confusing). I am 25 - 26 in a month -, I have a two-year work experience after MSc Graduation and I am only now applying to MBB. Should I "justify" the fact that I have not applied right after uni? Should I play the card "I have done some experiences that brought me here much more ready than I would have been straight out of college"? Thank you for your support

(edited)

Sidi on Apr 17, 2020
No need to justify anything! Just think through what your professional goals are, and how MBB will be a great platform to achieve this. That's all you need.
Iman
Expert
replied on Apr 18, 2020
BCG | Strategy& |Roland Berger | Interviewed >100 candidates in formal hiring process

Hi Alex,

It is definitely not too old. I was starting at BCG when I was 32 years old at the level above Associate. So definitely age is not an issue, you even able to bring your past working experience to enrich your project works (e.g. industry knowledge, managing client). I even had friends who joined at 35 and taking a paycut / downgrade from their previous position because they are just passionate about consulting.

You do need humility to accept that your peers or even your boss can be the same age / younger than you. One of the partner in my office was 2 years younger than me.

Also do not forget to step up your preparation (i.e. case, mental math, fit interview).

Hope it helps :)

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Anrian
Expert
replied on Apr 17, 2020
Kearney Senior Manager | Ex McKinsey Engagement Manager | Interviewer & Case Coach at McKinsey (200+ Real Interviews)

Hi Alex,
It's obviously not too old. Just to make you feel better, I have a team member that joined the Firm at 30 as Consulting Analyst (Jr. BA). He graduated at the age of 28 (after taking Master degree from local school) and did multiple internships after that. However, he got early designation (6 months i/o 1 years) since he proved that he has more capabilities than a usual Jr. BA has. He is now an Associate after 3 years.

So, you should not worry about being old or young at all. If you want to get to MBB and have the chance in front of you - you should just take it, and never let yourself compared to somebody else for that matter (joining the firm at age 22 and 29 really doesn't tell you anything; and just an fyi - people that start at 20 and still stick around as Partner at 28 is extremely rare)

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 18, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Alex,

does it make sense for you to join MBB at 28?

Much as in a case, it depends on your goal. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? If MBB is the fastest way to achieve that goal, then yes, it would make sense. If there is a better option in the industry to reach that goal, then go for the other option.

The major issue I would expect if you want to join now is that you have to be humble enough not to compare yourself with your younger peers, who may be at a higher level in seniority. Instead, you should focus on your long term goal and consider how you are improving just compared with your previous self, and not with others.

Best,

Francesco

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Emily
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 18, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi Alex,

It depends on your experience. Have you been mostly studying for higher degrees, holding a non-business related role, or have you already had quite a few years industry experience that is business related? If it is one of the first two scenarios, then 28 for BA is not an issue at all. If it is the 3rd scenario, then you might want to assess whether BA is the right level, or you should try for the next level e.g. associate/consultant.

Regardless, one thing that you need to be comfortable with when joining at 28 is that you need to let down the ego and don't compare yourself to others purely by age. Know that you will have colleauges who are younger than you but higher in rank, but also appreciate that they do have accumulated much more experiences and expertise in this specific field, so they deserve the higher rank. The progression and rank in consulting is earned by hardwork, not seniority in age nor short-cut. So if you want to be in this field, you have to play by the rule willingly.

Hope it helps,

Emily

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

Hello!

I don´t agree with the rest of the responses, saying that for sure you are not too old.

I think that it totally depends on your prior working experience, not so much the age.

For instance, if you have worked +5 years as a project manager, then yes, being a BA as a next step would not what so ever be a good idea.

However, if for some reason you did other stuff and you started working not that long ago, then there is no issue at all.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Thomas
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 17, 2020
150+ interviews | 5+ years experience | Kearney & Accenture | Sold consulting startup| London Business School

As a business analyst, you might face some challenges when you do this. Is there a particular reason why you are considered a BA and not a post-MBA role (slightly misleading name as post-MBA can include experienced hires too)? Especially if you have a few years of work experience, a post-MBA role is not out of the picture.

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Anonymous B replied on Apr 17, 2020

I hope not. I will join an MBB in Germany at the end of 31 but as a consultant. I sometimes also worry about being to old but in my old job, I knew someone who joined the firm in the same position as me when I was 26 and he was 34 and three years later he became a member of the executive board.

I think if you are older you have to play into your strength and experiences and try to minimize the weaknesses, which I think are mostly methodogical in the beginning.

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, with relevant experiences in your background you can go for it. I would try to apply - if you can with referrals - and wait for the feedback. In many countries at 28 you are still a senior Business analyst, so it is not a big issue

Best,
Antonello

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Anonymous replied on Apr 28, 2020

Hi Alex,

There is not too early and not too late. Join consulting and start new things in life.

If you don't mind to start at 28 y/o as business analyst and work your career ladder up to the partner while working with younger colleagues, who might be in more senior positions to you. If this fact is not disturbing you, it's absolutely OK. Just bear in mind that consulting is a very dynamic environment.

Best,

André

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Hugo gave the best answer

Hugo

Digital entrepreneur turned BCG consultant // Coach with focus on PEI
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