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Is it possible to transition into MBB for a person in their 30s? (details below)

Entrepreneurship Experienced MBB recruiting
New answer on Apr 22, 2024
9 Answers
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Ronaq asked on Apr 20, 2024
Impact entrepreneur with 12 year experience - aiming to transition to MBB

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to get a better understanding of how MBB hires. Is it possible for someone in their mid 30s to transition into MBB? Past experience includes 3 years in IB and then 9 years as a social impact entrepreneur. I have the option to do an MBA (not a heavy feeder school, though). My question is that will an MBA make any difference to my ability to recruit for consultant roles in MBB? Or is it too late and an MBA won't make a difference?

Appreciate your help. Thanks.

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Nish
Expert
updated an answer on Apr 21, 2024
Ex BCG | MBB | Tier 2 | Building a Problem Solving Mindset | 6yrs of Consulting experience in Asia & Europe

Hi Ronaq

Short answer is yes, its possible for a person in their 30s to transition into MBB. I joined BCG a month after my 30th birthday :)

You have a stellar background and my recommendation would be the following in descending order of preference from a conversion POV:

1. Try for the ‘Expert track’ directly: Given your extensive exp. in social entrepreneurship, you might be a great fit for MBB offices that have a reasonably large Social Impact Practice. Do your research and reach out to Social Impact Partners directly.

2. Apply for the Generalist track directly: In case you aren't very keen on pursuing Social Impact as an area, you could apply for the generalist track. Try the organic referral route here. What I mean by that is to identify 2nd degree MBB connects (on LinkedIn or otherwise) and reach out to them via your first degree connects (with whom you presumably have a stronger bond) for a higher conversion of the referral.

3. Do an MBA and then apply: I would rate this lower than option 2 above in absence of the school being a feeder to MBB. Be prepared for extensive networking off the campus in case you choose this option.

Hope this helps, and reach out in case of questions.

Best of luck! :)

(edited)

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Owais
Expert
replied on Apr 20, 2024
Owais Qureshi - Ex-McKinsey Consultant - Case coach - All types of cases and FIT questions

Hi,

I did my MBA at 30, and joined McKinsey as an experienced hire at 32. Prior experience included working as an engineer in Oil and Gas. I had no consulting background what so ever before that. 

Based on my experience, there are some points you may want to consider:

1. An MBA might help you land a job in consulting as a generalist, but the MBB usually targets a set number of schools for recruitment. Having said that, MBBs are increasingly hiring graduates from all disciplines, if their prior experience aligns with firms core work areas. 

2. Specialized backgrounds in specific fields can help in getting a role at McKinsey as an expert. It depends on your prior experience.

 

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Iman
Expert
replied on Apr 20, 2024
Systemiq | Ex-BCG | 10 years experience with 8+ specialising in sustainability | Free Intro | Ex-PrepLounge candidate

Hi Ronaq,

I think your background sounds good enough to apply straight away without an MBA. Your IB experience and social impact entrepreneurship should have given you most of the skills you'll need. Social aspects are becoming increasingly important in Sustainable Finance - so I could easily see you being staffed on cases within that practice area. 

But you may prefer to do the MBA first for other reasons (like networking). 

I would say the main downsides to joining in your 30s is (a) your peers will be 10-15 years younger than you, (b) you may be getting tired of long working days :).

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 22, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi Ronaq,

Q1: I'm looking to get a better understanding of how MBB hires. Is it possible for someone in their mid 30s to transition into MBB?

Yes it is. I personally joined McKinsey at 32 years old. I have also personally interviewed an recruited people with McKinsey over their 30s and 40s.

Q2: My question is that will an MBA make any difference to my ability to recruit for consultant roles in MBB? Or is it too late and an MBA won't make a difference?

I don't think an MBA would make a difference in your case. You have an extensive professional experience that you can leverage to access the recruiting process. Recruiters give less importance to MBAs to profiles with +6-7 years of experience.

You can check how the recruiting process works from an internal MBB perspective here:

MBB Hiring Hacks - Behind the Curtain Secrets

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 21, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Ronaq,

Q: Will an MBA make any difference to my ability to recruit for consultant roles in MBB? Or is it too late and an MBA won't make a difference. 

Given that you are in your mid-30s with 12 years of experience, I would recommend applying now with a referral. You can find more on referrals below:

How to Get an MBB Invitation

If it doesn’t work out, you can do an MBA and apply again afterward. 

A top MBA could increase your chances. At the same time, given the time and money required for an MBA and the generally low probability of an MBB offer, I would recommend enrolling in an MBA if it will be useful for other paths as well.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 20, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Ronaq, 

It's not too late. 

By no means. 

MBA will help because it makes your value prop stronger and because it serves your story better (MBA is seen as an opportunity for a career pivot). 

But don't assume you need the MBA. I would apply directly now in parallel with applying for an MBA. In case it doesn't work out on the first go, then do the MBA and apply again. 

Also, investigate with the recruiters for each of the firms and from your target office if, with your experience, you'd be more suitable for the expert / specialist track. There, your experience would make you super valuable. 

If you're looking into applying, this article might be helpful:

Best,
Cristian

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 20, 2024
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Being in your 30s is not a barrier to entry into an MBA. However to have a real shot you need to go to a top MBA program. Anything else will not really help with recruitment into a top consulting program. 

Another approach would be to start networking and sharing your profile with senior people at MBB and leverage that to get in without an MBA. 

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Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 22, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

Difficult to give you personalized advice without additional personal information.

On the face of it, the IB experience + entrepreneurship sounds promising for MBB. But finer details will give more clarity.

It is common for early-30s to join MBB. Late 30s can get a bit tricky - usually they aim for expert consultant tracks in MBB.

Either way - with your amount of experience - your key to success is pitching your profile correctly, and having the right Fit/PEI answers to prove sufficient motivation for the move.

Does that make sense? Happy to help more over an intro call.

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 22, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Short and Direct:

  • Yes, it is possible to transition. 
  • You have a valid experience and have a chance
  • Before considering an MBA you should apply directly, because you may be able to get an offer before / without the MBA
  • An MBA may help, but it has to be a top tier MBA. Otherwise, it's between neutral to negative impact.
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Nish gave the best answer

Nish

Ex BCG | MBB | Tier 2 | Building a Problem Solving Mindset | 6yrs of Consulting experience in Asia & Europe
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