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Is it worth trying to get an McK referral after a BCG rejection (CV screening). If yes case how?

Anonymous A asked on Mar 25, 2019

So here my situation. I'm in Switzerland and applied (online) for BCG Zurich office (Associate Position), and didn't pass the CV screening.
My university definitely target (arguably best business school in the country), and I'm finishing my master's in Finance this semester there.

  • Where I don't shine: my GPA is quite less-than-stellar (roughly 3.3 or in Swiss metrics 5-5.2 / 6), I wasn't too interested in joining university clubs' boards and didn't do my internships specifically in consulting
  • Good things: Spent time abroad (exchange in China), worked for a Chinese startup while there, I speak 3-4 languages fluently and another 1 "just okay" and co-founded my own venture (which was a niche-consulting firm. After 1 year I'm leaving it without any hard feelings, there's been a change in our target activities/clients and it's significantly drifting from my initial vision, albeit still being a valid path. Therefore, after discussing the matter with my co-founders I'm leaving the company in their hands). Recently I've been also been active in coordinating a group (more than 100 members) of research & developers (basically we combine people from the large group into small team that focus a topic of interest and research it, our broad topic is the DLT/blockchain space and we have 4 focus teams working now)

Generally, people around me say that I have good interpersonal skills, I'm personally at ease meeting new people, talking with them, presenting in public etc.

While it's clear to me that I won't pass the screening at another MBB, I've seen that many people suggested networking. I was wondering:

  • would my case be borderline enough to be considered for a referral? (based on the hard facts, I know there's a whole other soft factor part, but I can't really post it here)
  • who should I focus on at the firm (Partners or EM or more junior staff)? assuming I don't know them personally, although many attended my university.
  • how "direct" should the email be? I would personally start with something me and person have in common and use it to break the ice, after that -> Should I ask for help preparing my docs? or a mock interview? Or to schedule a call? I'm assuming it's a terrible idea to ask for a referral directly (especially when making first contact), but at some I suppose I should at least hint it, right?
  • finally, at the time I'm don't feel 100% prepared for a case interview (I was preparing for the ones at BCG, so I'm in the middle of my prep.). Would it be better to wait until I'm 100% ready for a case before attempting any contact?

PS ideally I'm focusing McKinsey people. I like Bain as well, but right now my gut feeling is that I'd like McKinsey more (based on the relatively small but distinctive differences between the two)

PPS is there anything you would recommend that I didn't specifically asked?

(edited)

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Nirmit
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replied on Mar 25, 2019
I will get you an offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire specialist
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Hi,

The first thing you should do is get your resume screened and reviewed by an expert. Sometimes it's not about the content but the way you're telling the story. We have selected quite a few people at McKinsey for interviews with low GPAs because their resumes stood out in other areas. I'm happy to work with you on that if you prefer.

A referral alway helps. It doesen't always have to be a Partner/AP. Even EMs hold weight in these decisions.

Finally, I think it's good to have a few cases under your belt and know where your gaps are, but you don't need to wait till you're '100% ready'. Remember perfection is the enemy of getting things done! ;)

Thanks,

Nirmit

Anonymous B replied on Mar 25, 2019

Considering that McK's screening process is significantly more challenging to get through compared to BCG (anecdotal evidence), a referral from a Partner/AP would definitely be in your favour. Especially when your GPA which has much room for improvement.

Perhaps you could also boost up your resume over the next few months in school to have a better chance, such as starting your own new initiatives in school, joining some McK focused initiatives or brands that they are interested in, improving your GPA, maybe approach it from another angle/story.

Hope this helps.

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