Max years of experience to enter a management consulting firm?

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New answer on Sep 22, 2023
6 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Sep 15, 2023

As of this month (September), I currently have exactly 2 years of experience in the gaming industry (multinational game company), after graduating with my engineering degree at a top uni in my country. 

Is this year the last chance for me to apply to a management consulting firm? I don't mind starting at an entry-level position, but I already have 2 years of experience and feel that I might not be favored compared to a fresh graduate with a similar background. 

I've been preparing for a few months but I feel like I'm still underprepared, as I do have to juggle between my day-to-day work at the office. I don't want to rush my process but at the same time lose my opportunity.

However, (really appreciate honest answers here) if it really is my last chance, I will definitely go all out in my preparation, albeit with limited time.

Thanks in advance!

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 16, 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

There is no max….

You should absolutey try to apply this year. And next. And the year after.

You can absolutely transition with 2 years or 20 (I have coached people in both scenarios to make this happen).

I think you should still go all out in preparation because any prep you do now isn't just magically forgotten next year!

If you're struggling, I do recommend coaching - it's the best time lever you can find!

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replied on Sep 17, 2023
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

there is no maximum amount of non-consulting experience that would make you ineligible to work in consulting. 

In general, the more (industry) experience you have, the more your domain expertise and your network become selling points to consulting firms. This of course is something you should then highlight and you should target consulting firms that are active in the spaces you have expertise in.

Now in your case, you “only” have 2 years of industry experience - which is by no means inadequate but probably too short to position yourself as “an expert” per se. So you might still be regarded as a generalist for one of the entry level positions (maybe not same level as fresh undergraduates but potentially entry level for master graduates - because you still have to acquire the consulting skill set in the beginning).

That said, you are not facing a “now or never” deadline. But if you see consulting as something you want to pursue, you might as well start applying already. If it doesn't work out the first time around, you can always try again later.

Hope that helps a bit.

Best of luck.

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 15, 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hi there!

I'm not sure I understand why you think this would be your last chance. 

I've coached 40+ year olds transitioning into consulting after they worked their entire lives in the industry. 

I've worked with managers that started in McKinsey at 50+ years of age after having worked in the industry or in smaller consulting firms. 

Basically, until you're in your mid-30s, this is the golden time to enter consulting. 

Having some work experience - like you do - is an asset, not a liability. 

What you rather seem to be struggling with is how to position your story and your transition into consulting. And that's what I would focus on if I were you.



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Content Creator
replied on Sep 16, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: I currently have exactly 2 years of experience in the gaming industry. Is this year the last chance for me to apply to a management consulting firm? 

No, it is not the last option you have. You could:

  1. Apply now
  2. If you are rejected, do an MBA and apply again after it for a post-MBA position
  3. If you are rejected, work for a few years and apply again as an experienced hire

In theory, you might apply again after that, although most people would choose a different path at that stage. But overall, you could try at least three times with the timeline above.



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replied on Sep 15, 2023


If I understand your question correctly, you want to know if 2 years of working experience make you ineligible to apply for an entry-level position such as BA Intern at McKinsey or Junior Associate in training at Bain.

Possibly yes, though you should't worry about it. You can still apply for a bit more senior pre-MBA positions such as Business Analyst of (Junior) Associate. Ultimately, if you end up successfully passing your interviews, the position you are offered depends on your interview performance and can differ from the position you initially applied for.

One thing though: make sure to get a solid referral as it might be harder for you to get an interview compared to if you applied through some campus recruiting event.

Also, I wholeheartedly agree with the other respondent that you can totally keep applying for management consulting roles until you are in your forties. My “oldest” student to get an MBB offer was 41 at that time.

Good luck,

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 22, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer with ~5 years of interviewing experience


As others have mentioned - definitely not the last chance. I have known people who have joined BCG at the age of ~40 at the Consultant role, and those with ~10-12 years of industry experience who have also successfully made the switch.

I will say that whenever you decide to try and prepare and apply, you should go ‘all out’ - as there is typically a re-application ban. In my 5 years of interviewing, I have seen too many candidates who clearly have the potential but either have not prepared enough or underestimated the difficulty of the consulting interview.

All the best!

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Ian gave the best answer


Content Creator
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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