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Joining a MBB after working at a top 20/50 consulting firm

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Recent activity on Sep 11, 2017
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Anonymous B asked on Sep 06, 2017

Hello there,

I've recently graduated from a top-tier business school in Europe and, quite unfortunately, I failed to secure an internship during my gap year in one of the MBBs (due to not only a lack of practice but also a lot of conceit on my end). Following my conversation with HR, I was told that I needed to gain "a couple of years of experience" before applying again. Following graduation, I did manage to secure a job position at a top 20 consulting firm in France and I was wondering the following:

  • whether it was still possible for me to join a MBB after working for a few years, but not more than 2?;
  • what are the evaluation criteria used in the case of an experienced hire? Are they, at their core, identical to a junior applicant or are there additional criteria that are being used?

Thank you in advance for your response.

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replied on Sep 06, 2017
Former BCG in Paris, Official BCG coach for more than 150 experienced / post-MBA candidates


I have known several people who joined a BCG Paris after having work for a few years in other consulting firms (either top 20 or boutique/specialized)
Evaluation criteria during cases interviews will remain roughly the same. Of course they will expect more maturity. They also keep track of previous interviews so they will expect to see significant progress on the weakness they have seen in your first interviews. HR are usually willing to help and explain what went wrong, so be sure to understand that thoroughly. Call back the HR if needed.

However, to make MBBs interested in your profile again in a few years, I would advise you to get experience on the sectors where MBBs have needs.
In BCG Paris, there are a lot of financial services / IT / digital cases. Bain Paris works a lot on M&A…
So, if you acquire experience on insurance or digital in banking while working at your top 20 consulting firm, BCG will be more interested in your future application, than if you work for the public sector for instance.

Also, when recruiting « lateral hires », MBBs tend to divide by 2 the experience you have. So if you work for 2 years in another consulting firm, you will be hired in the same position as someone who worked for 1 year in the MBB. Considering this, I think that 2 or 3 years may be a good time to re-apply, especially if you got promoted in your firm to prove your progress.

Hope this help!


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replied on Sep 11, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Chances may be the same or different depending on the following factors:

  • Economic cycle - is the company actively hiring or not?
  • Your expertise - i.e. they sold lots of retail projects and need a retail expert
  • Business school - in your case you'll get a post-business school role

Most probably you will get the same post-business school position (e.g. Associate at Mckinsey). Big 3 companies rarely hire for manager roles and 2 years in a different tier is definitely not a game-changer here

Anne gave the best answer


Former BCG in Paris, Official BCG coach for more than 150 experienced / post-MBA candidates
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