MBB Recruiting Experienced Consultants - Do they prefer generalists or specialists?

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New answer on May 11, 2021
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 09, 2021

Hi,

I am looking to apply to MBB & T2 in the next 2 years. For an experienced consultants (with strategy and implementation experience [3-4 years]) do they prefer consultants with broad industry experiences (generalists) or do the prefer consultants with specific industry experience (specialists)?

Ultimately which candidate type is more attractive to MBB & T2 when it comes to recuiting generalists or specialists, and why?

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Francesco
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replied on May 10, 2021
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

MBB look for both generalists and specialists (eg operations, implementation or digital practices).

If you have a specialization and want to continue in that field, it definitely makes sense to apply as a specialist. I would recommend to network with partners active in that sector, they should be able to both provide a referral and confirm the company is looking for specialists at the time you apply.

If you don’t want to apply as a specialist or you understand the company is not looking for specialists when you apply, you can always apply as a generalist.

Best,

Francesco

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Florian
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replied on May 10, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | Imbellus Expert

Hi there,

Usually, experienced hires are more likely to be recruited for specialist roles due to their experience and focus gained over the last couple of years.

However, this is more a function of your resume rather than a requirement set out by the firms. You can also join as a generalist consultant after a few years if you worked across different industries and functions. There is no clear rule and there will be generalist and specialist job ads now and in the future.

All the best with your journey!

Cheers,

Florian

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Udayan
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replied on May 11, 2021
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

The answer to this is role dependent

If they are looking to fill in a gap in their team then typically they want a specialist that knows enough about the subject matter. (e.g., an expert in clinical trials for immunotherapy)

If they are looking to recruit more people for generalist roles due to growing client demand then they will look for a generalist skillset.

Best,

Udayan

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Clara
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replied on May 11, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Agree with other coaches, both can perfectly be, and it totally dpeends on the value proposition of each person.

Cheers,

Clara

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Ian
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replied on May 10, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Honestly, the short answer is both and neither.

What's going to move the needle is where are you optimally placed.

Given your background, I think you should be applying as a generalist consultant. Eventually, you'll specialize, but you don't seem to be well suited to the specialist role just yet.

Don't worry about what's "easiest" on the general level. What matters a lot more is where they can see you, i.e. where your resume works. This applies to the level you apply in, the role, and the office.

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Henning
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replied on May 10, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

If you're trying to get into the general consulting track, then generalist roles are more preferable. All firms hire specialists for specific roles (industry specific, data science, design thinking, etc.), but those would typically also be focused on their specific expertise within the firms.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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