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Antonello

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7

MBB as an experienced hire (10 years)?

Dear Community,

It seems I have done everything as wrong as it could possibly be in terms of approaching MBBs so far.

When I was a student some 10 or 11 years ago I have won the nationwide student competition organized by McKinsey in Central Eastern Europe coming at the 1st place over more than a few hundred students selected by McKinsey. I was a rising star for them at that time and was invited to join multiple events, e.g. fancy evenings in the top restaurants or meetings with partners in McKinsey office. Then there was a McKinsey Keep In Touch program that I have participated in for a few years. Unfortunately, the time has passed and I no longer have any contacts with current McKinsey employees (those I got in touch have already left McKinsey years ago). In the end, I never used that opportunity to apply for an internship or a full-time position with McKinsey as I felt I was not ready yet...

... so instead of MBB I started a career in one of leading corporates (5 years) and then switched to one of the large global consulting firms (not a strategy) and spent there the next 5 years doing mainly implementation/ operations/ project management/ change management/ digital transformation type of work. So 10 years have passed and... I started researching for opportunities with MBBs again as I have never come to terms with the idea that I have not tried my best to get a job at MBBs*

* Meanwhile 4 years ago I was invited to join BCG by a headhunter and failed the final interview with Partners but was told to re-apply in 2 years or so (I did not do it though).

My current observations are as follows:

1. MBBs have changed a lot as they no longer focus primarily on strategy, but do a full spectrum of consulting services they have not done 10 years ago, so seems they really started competing with Big4, Accenture, etc.

2. MBBs usually search for entry-level positions (up to 3 years of experience) for their traditional strategy consulting practice, so it seems impossible to get direct entry at EM/ Manager level

3. MBBs usually search for experienced hires to join outside of their traditional strategy consulting practice, e.g. implementation, operations, digital, technology, analytics, etc., where they are looking for some deep technical or niche skills that are currently in demand

Given the above and having the primarily non-strategy consulting experience myself, is there any good approach I could still try to land a reasonable offer in MBB? It seems that I am "too experienced" even in terms of my tenure and age to be a consultant, yet I realize that Managers/ EMs are almost solely promoted internally at MBBs.

On the other hand, I do not have any deep tech expertise, e.g data science or software engineering that MBBs are looking for employing experienced hires (and I am not even interested to join any of their non-core "support" teams).

Given the above does it still make any sense to look for opportunities with MBB now? Or is too late in this life already and I should stick with my current career (all in all quite successful)?

I am ready to invest some time and money but only if it really makes sense.

Best Regards,

Max

Dear Community,

It seems I have done everything as wrong as it could possibly be in terms of approaching MBBs so far.

When I was a student some 10 or 11 years ago I have won the nationwide student competition organized by McKinsey in Central Eastern Europe coming at the 1st place over more than a few hundred students selected by McKinsey. I was a rising star for them at that time and was invited to join multiple events, e.g. fancy evenings in the top restaurants or meetings with partners in McKinsey office. Then there was a McKinsey Keep In Touch program that I have participated in for a few years. Unfortunately, the time has passed and I no longer have any contacts with current McKinsey employees (those I got in touch have already left McKinsey years ago). In the end, I never used that opportunity to apply for an internship or a full-time position with McKinsey as I felt I was not ready yet...

... so instead of MBB I started a career in one of leading corporates (5 years) and then switched to one of the large global consulting firms (not a strategy) and spent there the next 5 years doing mainly implementation/ operations/ project management/ change management/ digital transformation type of work. So 10 years have passed and... I started researching for opportunities with MBBs again as I have never come to terms with the idea that I have not tried my best to get a job at MBBs*

* Meanwhile 4 years ago I was invited to join BCG by a headhunter and failed the final interview with Partners but was told to re-apply in 2 years or so (I did not do it though).

My current observations are as follows:

1. MBBs have changed a lot as they no longer focus primarily on strategy, but do a full spectrum of consulting services they have not done 10 years ago, so seems they really started competing with Big4, Accenture, etc.

2. MBBs usually search for entry-level positions (up to 3 years of experience) for their traditional strategy consulting practice, so it seems impossible to get direct entry at EM/ Manager level

3. MBBs usually search for experienced hires to join outside of their traditional strategy consulting practice, e.g. implementation, operations, digital, technology, analytics, etc., where they are looking for some deep technical or niche skills that are currently in demand

Given the above and having the primarily non-strategy consulting experience myself, is there any good approach I could still try to land a reasonable offer in MBB? It seems that I am "too experienced" even in terms of my tenure and age to be a consultant, yet I realize that Managers/ EMs are almost solely promoted internally at MBBs.

On the other hand, I do not have any deep tech expertise, e.g data science or software engineering that MBBs are looking for employing experienced hires (and I am not even interested to join any of their non-core "support" teams).

Given the above does it still make any sense to look for opportunities with MBB now? Or is too late in this life already and I should stick with my current career (all in all quite successful)?

I am ready to invest some time and money but only if it really makes sense.

Best Regards,

Max

7 answers

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Antonello

98% Recommendation Rate

161 Meetings

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USD 249 / Coaching

Hi Max, feel free to text me for a quick chat about it. I have supported tens of experienced hires in securing an offer in MBB

Best,
Antonello

Hi Max, feel free to text me for a quick chat about it. I have supported tens of experienced hires in securing an offer in MBB

Best,
Antonello

Book a coaching with Ian

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23,103 Q&A Upvotes

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Hi Max,

Honestly, I think you'd be a perfect fit for BCG Platinion or McKinsey Digital. I'm quite close with someone who came in as a Project Lead at BCG Platinion (i.e. McKinsey EM). This person has done very well for themselves.

MBB would surely love to have you as an experienced hire at the EM/Pl level for their digital/tech practices.

How do you make up for past mistakes? You need to network. In your specific case, reach out to all those contacts you gained from the past 10 years - even though they left MBB they still know people! Ask them to put you in touch

Networking Tips

1) Check out the PrepLounge Q&As

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/networking-with-people-who-used-to-work-at-the-same-firm-6839

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/networking-with-possible-interviewer-6094

2) Sign up with a session with a coach (I can teach you what you need to know in just 1 session)

3) Follow these immediate tips:

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

Hi Max,

Honestly, I think you'd be a perfect fit for BCG Platinion or McKinsey Digital. I'm quite close with someone who came in as a Project Lead at BCG Platinion (i.e. McKinsey EM). This person has done very well for themselves.

MBB would surely love to have you as an experienced hire at the EM/Pl level for their digital/tech practices.

How do you make up for past mistakes? You need to network. In your specific case, reach out to all those contacts you gained from the past 10 years - even though they left MBB they still know people! Ask them to put you in touch

Networking Tips

1) Check out the PrepLounge Q&As

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/networking-with-people-who-used-to-work-at-the-same-firm-6839

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/networking-with-possible-interviewer-6094

2) Sign up with a session with a coach (I can teach you what you need to know in just 1 session)

3) Follow these immediate tips:

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

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Hi Max,

Your profile seems a good match for MBB.

  • Implementation and digital transformation skills are definitively attractive for MBB
  • It also seems you had a good career growth and always been pretty successful, thus have a strong CV to pass the screening
  • The fact that your profile was attractive 4 years ago at BCG is definitely a good sign – I don’t see why it should be less attractive now with more relevant experience

I would suggest to apply via referral – you can find more on that here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

In case you are looking for a complete program (including referrals) to prepare every part of the interview process, you can find the one I developed here:

https://u.preplounge.com/63phuq

For any other questions, please feel free to PM me.

Best,

Francesco

Hi Max,

Your profile seems a good match for MBB.

  • Implementation and digital transformation skills are definitively attractive for MBB
  • It also seems you had a good career growth and always been pretty successful, thus have a strong CV to pass the screening
  • The fact that your profile was attractive 4 years ago at BCG is definitely a good sign – I don’t see why it should be less attractive now with more relevant experience

I would suggest to apply via referral – you can find more on that here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

In case you are looking for a complete program (including referrals) to prepare every part of the interview process, you can find the one I developed here:

https://u.preplounge.com/63phuq

For any other questions, please feel free to PM me.

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

Book a coaching with Giulia

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Hi Max,

Directly answering your points:

1. You are totally right, I've been told by several Partners in MBBs that Accenture is definitely becoming a competitor in many long-projects due to the fact that clients are raising the demand for implementation/data science projects

2. You usually follow the Generalist path until you become EM. At Manager level, you start thinking about a Pratice/Specialization and by the time you are promoted AP you are on a Pratice/Specialization path

3. I agree with this point, but from your premise, you should have the competences to work in the implementation path (which includes PM, implementation, operations, change management) or in the digital practice (digital transformation + implementation part) since you worked in this sector for 5 years. Plus, I'm sure you acquired many competencies to complement these ones in the previous 5 years.

I would definitely give it a try, you seem to have all the cards in your hand to be called for an interview. With 10 years of experience, you could either receive an offer for EM/Manager if they don't feel all your experiences are relevant for the MBB consulting job or AP position (which is more in line with the years of experience you have). You are definitely not too experienced. When I joined, there was a guy that joined with me: 9 years of experience in oil and gas doing implementation and project management and was offered (and accepted) a position as AP.

Hope this helps!

Giulia

Hi Max,

Directly answering your points:

1. You are totally right, I've been told by several Partners in MBBs that Accenture is definitely becoming a competitor in many long-projects due to the fact that clients are raising the demand for implementation/data science projects

2. You usually follow the Generalist path until you become EM. At Manager level, you start thinking about a Pratice/Specialization and by the time you are promoted AP you are on a Pratice/Specialization path

3. I agree with this point, but from your premise, you should have the competences to work in the implementation path (which includes PM, implementation, operations, change management) or in the digital practice (digital transformation + implementation part) since you worked in this sector for 5 years. Plus, I'm sure you acquired many competencies to complement these ones in the previous 5 years.

I would definitely give it a try, you seem to have all the cards in your hand to be called for an interview. With 10 years of experience, you could either receive an offer for EM/Manager if they don't feel all your experiences are relevant for the MBB consulting job or AP position (which is more in line with the years of experience you have). You are definitely not too experienced. When I joined, there was a guy that joined with me: 9 years of experience in oil and gas doing implementation and project management and was offered (and accepted) a position as AP.

Hope this helps!

Giulia

Dear Max,

Thank you very much for your comprehensive question. And the best approach just is that may be you could share you CV with me directly, so I could get more familiar with your work experience and your skills. And then, let's have an open discussion what's could be the best way for you.

Since I have many contacts in MBB and other leading firms and might help you with networking.

Feel free to drop me a line directly to continue a conversation.

Best,
André

Dear Max,

Thank you very much for your comprehensive question. And the best approach just is that may be you could share you CV with me directly, so I could get more familiar with your work experience and your skills. And then, let's have an open discussion what's could be the best way for you.

Since I have many contacts in MBB and other leading firms and might help you with networking.

Feel free to drop me a line directly to continue a conversation.

Best,
André

Book a coaching with Emily

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Hi Max,

MBB do have people joining from industry and enter at manager/PL level. It is not easy, but surely possible. The main hurdle is usually getting the experienced hires to be comfortable with the consulting "manufacturing process". Since you already have consulting experience, that'd be a plus.

All the work you mentioned - implementation/operations/PMO/change management/digital transformation - are very relevant to what the consultants are doing in MBB nowadays. So I think you can totally give it a try.

Best,

Emily

Hi Max,

MBB do have people joining from industry and enter at manager/PL level. It is not easy, but surely possible. The main hurdle is usually getting the experienced hires to be comfortable with the consulting "manufacturing process". Since you already have consulting experience, that'd be a plus.

All the work you mentioned - implementation/operations/PMO/change management/digital transformation - are very relevant to what the consultants are doing in MBB nowadays. So I think you can totally give it a try.

Best,

Emily

Based on your profile - I don't think it is too late to consider a career at MBB and as they face shortages at critical manager/junior partner levels there is definitely potential. Your two options:

1) Join as a manager/junior partner in one of their practices such as implementation. A career as an implementation consultant is really not that different from the core track and if you out-perform peers there is always opportunity to change tracks

2) Move to one of their geographies where they are recruiting for managers but this is likely to be Asia example Tokyo although vacancies do occassionaly pop-up in their European offices (have not seen this in US offices)

Best of luck!

Based on your profile - I don't think it is too late to consider a career at MBB and as they face shortages at critical manager/junior partner levels there is definitely potential. Your two options:

1) Join as a manager/junior partner in one of their practices such as implementation. A career as an implementation consultant is really not that different from the core track and if you out-perform peers there is always opportunity to change tracks

2) Move to one of their geographies where they are recruiting for managers but this is likely to be Asia example Tokyo although vacancies do occassionaly pop-up in their European offices (have not seen this in US offices)

Best of luck!

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