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MBB Application Timing for 2020/2021

Experienced Hire
New answer on Jul 02, 2020
3 Answers
1.4 k Views
Fe asked on Jun 25, 2020

I understand that hiring for 2020 start dates is for all intents and purposes frozen except for very, very special candidates like ones with specific expertise in areas like digital transformation or epidemiology, but I was wondering if anyone could weigh in on the timing to apply as a generalist experienced hire.

Given that there's a bottleneck of delayed new starts, I'm guessing that the first few recruitment cycles that start back up are going to be incredibly competitive, especially for non-campus hires where the firms don't have a secondary interest in maintaining school relationships.

My question is if one has referrals from EM/Principal types as an experienced candidate with <2 years of WE since leaving graduate school (aka going for C1), would it be a waste of resources to apply immediately if I have anything short of a Rhodes and that I should apply next year instead? Or is hiring likely to be impacted for several years and I might as well apply at the end of this year when my references are the strongest and I know they haven't left yet?

I ask because I don't have a terribly deep network of people that could refer me and I'd like to make my referrals count. My guess is that the the most immediate recruiting cycle will be most impacted by this current botleneck of deferred starts but there's a lot of uncertainty about COVID19's future effects, if there's multiple waves, etc. Hoping someone with more internal knowledge can speak more definitively on the best course of action here.


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Content Creator
replied on Jun 29, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


In the last weeks, there has been a boom again in terms of processes re-opening, so there is a ray of sunshine coming!



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Anonymous replied on Jun 26, 2020

Hi there,

You raise very good points - And I'm sure you know that it is tough to calculate or estimate when is the best time to apply.

The good thing is that you have access to referrals - Referrals are great because if pushed hard by your referrer you could skip the line and go straight to interviews!

So, a referral would not be wasted if you use it now (as long as you are ready for the interviews) - if you pass the interviews, the worst case is that the company would offer you a joining date in Q1/Q2 2020. (approx 6 months from today)

My recommendation is to use your referrals sequentially to "beat the market"; just like "dollar-cost averaging" the investing :) - every 2 months, use a referral to one of the MBBs - eventually you will hit the sweet spot in timing.

I hope this helps



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Content Creator
replied on Jul 02, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi Fe,

I agree with Khaled that you stagger your referrals :)

Also, the fact that you have referrals means that you can actually directly ask them if they think now is a good time to apply! I.e. are there roles open (there should be...there are always people leaving).

So, just ask each referrer if now is a good time or if you should wait a bit!

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Clara gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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