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Joining MBB as Industry Experience Hire, But Had Okay Grades in School

Anonymous A asked on Jan 28, 2018

Hello all,

I am currently working as a chartered engineer, in a prestigious multinational company for the past 4 years and with some experience in Green Belt Six Sigma.

I am considering applying for MBB in London, but one thing that i am concern about is i did not graduate with an impressive grades back when i was in university; it was a 2.1 from fairly reputable university in the UK.

Will this be an issue when applying for MBB firms?

Thanks and regards.

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Andrea
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replied on Jan 29, 2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years
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I agree with other reply that 4 years seem too little for being considered an experience hire, even if you have a PhD. Confirm too that for experience hires school grades do not count (because they are not asked).

Would strongly suggest to not apply through website but try to get an interview either through headhunter/recruiter or through referral (current MBB employee who "knows" you and can suggest recruiting to grant an interview). If you apply through online system without any contact to the company there is very little chance to get called in for an interview (because the online system asks all questions including grades, which in your case are not relevant).

Hope it helps,

Andrea

Worked as an engineer for the past 4 years, with chartership qualification, and Green Belt Six Sigma acreditation, had MSc and Bachelor Degrees, no PHD and i have no contacts within MBB firms, no reponse so far from all cold messages i've sent out on Linkedin — Anonymous on Jan 29, 2018

Vlad replied on Jan 29, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Hi,

I can provide some pieces of advice:

  1. In general, for an experienced hire grades don't matter. It is your experience that matters most. On the other hand, I have concerns about your particular case, since 4 years might be not enough to be considered as an Experienced Hire. What is your previous experience? Same industry / expertise? Maybe you got a PHD before?
  2. In consulting companies, there are partners responsible for hiring experienced candidates. It is ok to meet with them and ask your questions including the grades.
  3. I would recommend using a reference to be on a safe side. I provided some recommendations on how to get a reference here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-is-a-referral-really-1103#a2129

Best,

Anonymous B replied on Jan 29, 2018

There is not hard and fast rule in terms of experience.

My Experience:

-Under 4 years of industry experience + 2 summers worth of internship experience (did more in 3 months than i did in 6 months as a ful time employee because I only had so much time), very average grades, but extensive and very experience-filled projects over those years for a few fortune 25 companies.

-Applied online for MBB, currently in last stages hoping to make it through

-Also had a lot of extracurricular activites and informal leadership experience

Disclaimer: For me this experience -from what it sounds like - is pretty uncommon and it looks like I had the Grace of God making it this far, but maybe a data point that applying online soley might work and that if you have the experience and can display the proper characteristics, then there's always a slight chance?

My Suggestions:

-They don't care about grades for experienced hires, they care about your fit, ability to learn, problem solve and display their characterstics they look for

-Sell yourself = Strong commuincator + Genuine and legitimate qualification + relentless pursuit to either make it or gain the experiences necesarry to qualify

-I would defintely continue to try and network and reach out for referrals and grow your chances in the best ways possible

Maybe that's encouraging?

That is slightly encouraging, may i know what industry experience do you have? So you applied purely online with no referral and now you are in the final stage of interview? The thing i am most conerned about is not getting an interview at all and get rejected purely on paper — Anonymous on Jan 29, 2018

Mitchell
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replied on Jan 30, 2018
BCG Consultant |Consulting Case Coach at London Business School
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Hi anonymous,
While 4 years might not be enough to be classified strictly as an 'experienced hire', the London office has a slightly different progression than other offices.
It is Associate (straight out of undergrad), Senior Associate, Consultant (post-MBA).
With your experience, there is a change that starting as a Snr Associate might be possible. This skips about two years of tenure as an associate. This will be assessed on a case by case basis though. So best to apply and then ask what position you might be when you talk to HR.
Best of luck!

Francesco updated his answer on Feb 14, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

so far you don’t have top grades and are not considered experienced hire (unclear in your case - probably won't be considered), you should definitely apply via referral. You can find some suggestions at the second post at the following thread:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/open-house-at-bcg-311#a623

As for your comment to Andrea’s post: you should not send cold messages via LinkedIn, emails work a lot better. Also you should follow a well-defined structure to get replies. If you follow that you should be able to get 30% replies to your messages. If you are unable to find referrals, some experts (disclosure - I am one of them) can provide support on the process to follow.

Best,

Francesco

(edited)