Is there a place for newly licensed MDs in the MBB firms in South East Asia? Looking to make the switch to consulting.

advanced degree Anyone who has worked at Bain? BCG doctor McKinsey MD physician recruitment timeline SEA South east asia
New answer on Jan 29, 2021
9 Answers
1.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 26, 2021

Hi! I'm a newly-licensed MD based in Southeast Asia looking to make the switch to management consulting as I've decided to pursue a non-clinical career. Longterm, I want to be able to focus more on healthcare-related projects. From my understanding, but please correct me if I'm wrong, you do not have much say on the matter at the beginning of your consulting caree? My only apprehension is I do not have any business/management background. My undergraduate degree was BS Psychology and I went straight to med school from there.

Here are my questions:
1. Given I have no business background, is it best for me to apply for an entry-level consulting position?
2. Does having an MD give me an advantage? I graduated from the top medical school in my country, but not sure if that will bear any weight.
3. Is the application/interview process the same for both college graduates and applicants with MDs/masters, etc? Asking because I've found a lot of resources online but they're mostly directed to undergraduates in their final years. Would it still be helpful for me to review these materials.
4. Would any of you know if the MBB firms in SEA follow a strict recruiting timeline like they seem to do in the US? Haven't been able to find out much about this through their websites.
5. And lastly, has anyone heard of the ADvantage internship Bain offers (targeted to JDs/MDs)?

If there are any doctors out there who made the switch to consulting, I would love to hear any input or advice! Or advice from anyone really! It's honestly quite daunting to make the career switch, especially since in my country, choosing not to practice medicine is fairly uncommon. Hearing advice from any of you would be great help!

(edited)

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Regarding the say in your early consulting career: In McKinsey, the first project is usually allocated to you based on background, staffing needs, etc. From then on, you are expected to chart your own path and find projects you would like to work on. It is a bit more flexible than in other MBBs.

To your questions:

1. No, you are definitely an experienced hire with your PhD

2. Pedigree of school definitely will give you a big advantage. On top, lay out in your application that you were among the top of class as well

3. Yes, the process is mostly the same. The skills that are evaluated in the interviews are exactly the same

4. I believe it's a much more lenient process in terms of timelines. If in doubt give HR a call or reach out via email. They are always happy to help

5. Cannot answer from my experience, sorry

Regarding the career switch, I can provide you with two insights:

1. In my time at McKinsey I started with and met quite a few former doctors. What many of them had in common was that they left the firm sooner than the average to return to their medical profession or research

2. I coached an experienced doctor last year to an offer and he will join McKinsey soon. The key reason for him was to get that consulting exposure to move back to the healthcare industry afterward to drive change

Either way, you cannot go wrong with making that experience, whether you decide to switch back to your MD role or working in a managerial position in the healthcare sector

Cheers,

Florian

Was this answer helpful?
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

1. Nope, you should still apply as an experienced hire (Associate - McK, Consultant - BCG Bain). All PHDs apply for this level

2. It gives you an advantage in a sense that you have the relevant expertise and you can sell yourself as an expert for healthcare / pharma practice

3. Yes, the interview process is the same

4. Even in the US it differs. You should reach out to the local office to check

Best

Was this answer helpful?
Natasha replied on Jan 26, 2021

Hi! I just went through the advanced degree hiring process in the summer and will start at an MBB firm in the late summer of this year. Feel free to reach out directly and I can talk more about my experience. Onto your questions:

1. As others said, for MBB firms you would join at the post-MBA level or slightly below, depending on whether the country has a Junior Associate-type position (that's the name for McK).


2. When applying through the advanced degree track, which I recommend you should, everyone will have a PhD, JD, MD, or other advanced degree. You should mention the school and your academic achievements in your resume; it won't have much impact during the interviews, as your performance on behavioural and case questions are the main criteria.

When working on healthcare projects, the MD will be very valuable. I recommend talking to folks at all three MBBs about specialization, because the recommended timeline to specialize is different at the three firms and they don't all have expert tracks for consultants which you may be interested in.


3. Yes, the application process is the same and the materials online are still helpful for you. However, not all are worth your time/money or are good quality. Happy to talk more about what resources I used via direct message.


4. I don't know much about this unfortunately, but I know an advanced degree candidate applied to McK and was going through the Taipei process at the same time as I was going through the North American process. Recruiters can help you with this.

5. Yes, I applied to the summer advanced degree programs from all three firms. It's worth applying but know that the programs take very few people - fewer than will get an interview during the advanced degree full-time process. However, you can still be put on a "keep in touch" list if you don't get the summer program. Happy to talk more about these as well; networking before and after these summer programs will help too.

I'm not that kind of doctor/physician (PhD here), but I understand switching from something that most people expect you to do. Most advanced degree folks will have that, as consulting is not the typical path for lawyers, dentists, doctors, or academics. It's useful to ask about the transition when networking with current consutlants that have advanced degrees. Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?
7
Ken
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

1. Nothing for you to be worried about. MBBs acknowledge the years and rigour of MD training and will consider you as an advanced degree candidate (e.g., Junior Associate for McKinsey)

2. Yes it will definitely be an advantage where MBBs will acknowledge the achievement. More pratically, healthcare consulting projects are always on the lookout for MDs

3. The process is exactly the same unless you are applying to be a healthcare dedicated consultant which sometimes is an option at certain MBB offices (e.g., McKinsey London)

4. For your profile, they will be open to a year-round recruiting. Having said that, they will have batches to ensure that they are considering multiple candidates in parallel

5. I personally don't know anything about the Bain programme but other MBBs also offer similar programmes although I don't know for SEA specifically

My suggestion for connecting with other MDs in consulting would be to just reach out to MBB partners/consultants in SEA who work in healthcare. As I said, they are always on the look out for MDs and should be willing to make to to speak as well as connect you with consultants who have recently made the transition. Having worked quite extensively in McKinsey SEA, my sense is that there aren't many although I know a few in North Asia and Australia.

Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 27, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

  1. With a PhD-equivalent degree, you join normally at post-MBA level. However, some countries let you join at pre-MBA level with some seniority (Italy is one of them)
  2. The University brand will definitely help to get interviews. It will give you a direct advantage if the company is looking to expand on healthcare projects
  3. Yes, same process. Your Fit stories should reflect your years of experience compared to an undergrad though
  4. I would check the specific office, as it may differ according to the country
  5. All the programs targeting Advanced Degrees give you preferential access so definitely take advantage of it if you can

I helped a good number of doctors to join MBB, please feel free to PM if you need more help.

Best,
Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

To add on top of what has been said and not be redundant: it is perfectly possible to join consulting without a business background.
I am exhibit A, I am an architect, the only one in the Madrid office by the time I joined McKinsey.

If you play it correctly, it can become even an asset in your applicaiton. PM me to chat more about it if you want :)

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 27, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

First, good luck!

Now, to answer your questions:

  1. I would actually say Consultant (BCG/Bain) and Associate (McKinsey. So, the MBA level
  2. From the top medical school, absolutely! It's not as good as an MBA for MBB, but it is certainly respected/appreciated
  3. More or less, yes. Definitely still helpful to review those materials
  4. Most offices around the world have rolling recruiting - you should be fine BUT you can always network and ask HR :)
  5. Yes! I helped someone in that program in Chicago...it's a great pathway to an offer

Some other Q&As you might find helpful:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/doctor-pre-mba-career-advice-8818

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/medicine-to-consulting-9013

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/transition-from-dentistry-to-management-consulting-7910

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 29, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

1) You can apply to more senior positions, like candidates with PhD

2) Of course! You can sell yourself as an expert in healthcare industry

3) It's the same

4) It depends too much on the geography in general. But the recruitment cycles matter more for candidates who recently graduated, for you it might be not that important and you migh be able to apply the whole year

5) Anything that can bring you closer to your goal is worth considering!

Good luck! Let me know if I can be of any further help for you.

GB

Was this answer helpful?
Axel
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi!

I have seen several people make this switch myself while at Bain so its definitely doable and do not see why it would not be feasible also in the SEA region.

I would recommend that you try to talk to some recruiters at your target firms in the locations you are looking at to get a better understanding about what level you would come in at and what the timelines would be.

Best,

Axel

Was this answer helpful?
Florian gave the best answer

Florian

Content Creator
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months
822
Meetings
13,570
Q&A Upvotes
76
Awards
5.0
371 Reviews