MBB application after 1 year in Tier 2 consultancy

BCG McKinsey and Bain Cover letter personal experience interview Personal Fit Personalfit
New answer on Nov 29, 2022
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 27, 2022

Hello,

I have been working as a management consultant at a Tier 2 consultancy for about 1 year. Now I would like to apply for MBB, however, I am not entirely sure what to write in my cover letter and what in case of an interview to say (personal fit).

I do specifically not like my current employer because:

1. I have the feeling that I do not learn as much as I expected in a consultancy and the company environment does not allow me to live up to my full potential (especially the learning/coaching process we have)

2. We are staffed for a very long time on the same project for 1-2 years. However,  being able to work for different clients/industries was one of the main reasons why I joined consulting

3. My work is very operational instead of strategic which I do not really like

4. I am not completely convinced of the abilities of some of my co-workers/managers

 

I hope to find exactly a solution for these 4 points at MBB. Should I be honest and tell them exactly that since I find these are valid reasons? I am a bit hesitant since these points sound very negative and could lead to the impression that rather I am the problem and was not able to raise the points and find a solution. Additionally, I don't want to give the impression that I am someone who is only complaining and would maybe do the same at MBB after 1 year.

 

I also assume that they will ask “Why did you not join MBB in the first place?" The honest reason is

1. I thought my chances were rather poor and therefore did not even try to apply

2. I thought MBB does not value the people as much as my current employer

Should I also here be very open and honest? Or find a different story?

 

Thank you very much for your input in advance :) 
 

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Maikol
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replied on Nov 27, 2022
BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

I think your situation is very simple for three reasons. 

1. Applying for MBB is always a good move, regardless of the current status.

2. To MBB's eyes, your experience is zero, so don't worry about what you've learned or not. You will start again from scratch in case you pass MBB's interviews.

3. What you have to say in CL and/or fit questions is very simple: "I want to join MBB because I am sure I will learn more than by staying any further here at Tier-2". 

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Udayan
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

I think you're hitting on the right points by questioning if your motivations for applying are the right ones to put on a cover letter. In my opinion it's much better to focus on the positives vs highlight negatives for all the reasons you mentioned. So for example if you're applying to McKinsey you can say that you really admire the feedback culture at McKinsey and the many opportunities to find mentorship at the firm given its values etc. 

You can highlight the opportunities you will get at mbb (opportunity to work across industries or at least clients and problem types, ability to become a global thought leader in the space both within and outside the firm. Etc. There's many ways to make the same point without making it a negative against your current employer. 

 

Lastly it doesn't help your case if you think you had no shot at mbb (because they'll ask what's changed now?) and if you didn't think they were kind to their employees - same question. So again maybe say that you didn't have the right guidance or knowledge about the industry and went with the firm that came to campus first. But now that you've worked and read about the industry you know exactly what you're after etc etc. 

 

Hope this helps,

Udayan 

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Francesco
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
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Hi there,

1) I hope to find exactly a solution for these 4 points at MBB. Should I be honest and tell them exactly that since I find these are valid reasons? 

I would not frame the reasons as negative points of your current employer. Instead, say that MBB would offer you the opportunity to focus more on XXX, without direct reference to what is lacking in your current company.

If during the interview they then ask why that’s not present in your current company, say that the company was great for YYY reason, but unfortunately didn’t offer opportunities for XXX (without negative judgment). This should create a baseline for a good reply.

2) I also assume that they will ask “Why did you not join MBB in the first place?" Should I also here be very open and honest? Or find a different story?

You should reply with something true, but I would recommend top frame it differently compared to what you shared.

I would say you had the option to join your current company before having a chance to interview with MBB (which from what I understood from your story is true) and that you found that opportunity was great at that time to start your career.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Rushabh
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
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Hello,

Answering your first question of Why MBB, Yes, the 4 reasons you've mentioned are great. Perhaps try framing your reasons in a more positive way instead of negative. E.g.: “I would love to do more of pure strategy work over operational work” instead of “My work is very operational instead of strategic which I do not really like”.

For your second question of why not joining MBB in the first place: I think they will not ask this question. Maybe you did not succeed before at getting an interview at an MBB etc. However, if they do ask something along the lines of “Is this your first time applying to us?", then you could say something along the lines of “I wanted to get some experience in this industry before being confident enough to apply to an MBB”. 

All the best! Let me know if you need any help.

Rushabh

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Emily
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replied on Nov 27, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

You're in a great spot to apply! You've got experience and that's what matters. Lots of people aren't in a position to apply straight out of their undergrad and need some time in the workplace first, so I say go ahead and do it!

That being said, your reasons are all things that you currently don't like, rather than things that get you excited. I highly recommend re-framing to things that you want, rather than things that you don't want - otherwise you will come across as negative. 

Good luck!

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Dennis
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replied on Nov 29, 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

Your reasons are valid for you to be proactive about a career transition. However, as previously mentioned, they are your personal motivation but don't make for good “official” reasons.

Given what you are describing, it doesn't sound like you have been able to gain much experience on your current role which would be considered valuable for MBB - but neither have candidates applying out of college.

Frame your “official” reasoning for wanting to join MBB as a positive focusing on all the things that make working for MBB great rather than trying to eliminate everything that sucks about your current role/employer.

Good luck

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Ian
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replied on Nov 28, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Please avoid speaking in the negative in both the cover letter and during your interviews!

The reasons are all valid, but frame them in the positive! As in, state all the reasons why you are drawn to MBB (not away from your current job)

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Maikol gave the best answer

Maikol

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BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780
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