MBB / T2 office-transfer Germany to Switzerland

location officetransfer switzerland
New answer on Jan 22, 2023
6 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Jan 20, 2023

Hi Everyone,

I, German national, am currently at the end of my two-year master's degree in finance (European target school), following an undergraduate degree in business in Switzerland. After several consulting internships over the course of the last three years, I would very much like to start working full-time in the industry following my graduation this summer/autumn. Problem is that, ideally, I would like to start in Switzerland, where me and my partner have been living for over fours years during my studies and a subsequent internship as part of my gap year (she herself is Swiss and has been working full-time at a Swiss bank in Zurich for little over a year now).

After having mostly been rejected for consulting internships in Zurich last summer (often reasoned in my non-Swiss nationality), to play it safe, I mostly applied to the German offices of all the big consultancies in course of my recent full-time applications. The interviews went really well so far, having already received two offers (McKinsey and OW) while several other interviews (among other BCG and some of the other T2s) are still pending. Though despite my personal situation, as expected, both McKinsey and OW have already clearly communicated that an “offer-transfer” to the Zurich office is not possible. Instead, HR indicated that there was the possibility of an office transfer, one having joined the firm. However, I have not yet been able to find out exactly how "easy" such transfer is, let alone what conditions need to be fulfilled in order to be allowed to switch offices towards Zurich. HR has been quite generic on that matter, even when specifically asking for more details during recent calls.

I would therefore like to ask if any of you have any experience with office transfers, in particular towards Switzerland as a German speaker? I assume that – no matter the firm – one has to show above-average performance for at least one year(?). Is that realistic? What else is to be fulfilled to be eligible for a Zurich-transfer (besides having a solid reason such as a partner living in the other country in the first place). 

Would highly appreciate any insights on that matter &


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Content Creator
replied on Jan 20, 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hi there, 

It's not easy, but possible. 

There are a few things that you need to optimize for:

  1. Time - you need at least one year, ideally at least two to initiate a transfer
  2. Push - you need to get senior supporters from your office being in favour of you leaving and moving away (especially the local office head)
  3. Pull - you need senior supporters (ideally a couple of Partners) from your destination office to request your transfer. In practice that means that you should aim to work with Swiss Partners so they could motivate in a year or two why they want you to move full-time to their office.
  4. Value proposition & good performance - if you're a generalist like any other, without a particularly good performance or network, it's unlikely that it will work out. Aim to be top quartile (over a couple of cycles) and sharpen the value proposition that you stand for. 

There are a couple of things that work in your favour however:

  • You speak German - which is a requirement for Swiss offices
  • You've already lived & studied in Switzerland which are a good motivation for the move
  • Your partner is in Switzerland, yet again a good reason for the transfer

And a few things which work against you:

  • This is not a good time to be look for a job. Companies are contracting their hiring, so transfers are the last thing they care about
  • You're just starting - i.e., you have a long way ahead of you. 

My suggestion would be to either play the long-game and plan a transfer to Switzerland in a couple of years, or just start with one of the offers you have for Germany and continue applying for jobs in parallel for Switzerland (eventually you'll get some offer that's worth moving there for).

Best of luck!

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 22, 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

As part of your learning, please be concise and direct. 

Lead with your question.

This is going to be immensely important to succeed as a consultant. We did not need your 1st two paragraphs…all you had to ask was “how do I transfer to Switzerland as a German speaker”.

I've transfered a few times within companies and have the following advice:

1) Build a stellar reputation - do good work, work hard, and be known as "the guy/gal" for xx

2) Build your network - network agressively (yes, networking doesn't end once you've gotten the job offer). Make sure you're known by and have allies in people who make decisions such as staffing managers, Partners (specifically those responsible for recruiting/resources and who are heads of industry/function verticals), etc.

2) b). When I say network "aggressively" please don't be needy/annoying :) There's nothing worse than someone who is obviously working the room or trying to please!

3) Look out for opportunities - Look for office transfers, short-term projects, ambassadorships, etc.)

4) Practice patience and be flexible - This might take a year or two. And you need to be ready to go at the flip of a coin.

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 21, 2023
Ex-Bain and interviewer for 7+ years | >95% success rate | mentor and coach for 6+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on the offers!

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • It's important to note that office transfers are typically based on the firm's business needs and the individual's performance within the company. The criteria and process for office transfers can vary from firm to firm, but in general, the following conditions are usually considered:
    • Be a part of the business for a sufficient amount of time (somewhere in the range of at least 1-2 years).
    • Perform consistently in the top X% of the company (which often also takes time to position yourself in the company).
    • Be fluent in the language spoken there. That would be English, German, and French for the Zurich office, with French proficiency preferred but not necessary.
    • Local commercial demand is vivid. It's important to keep in mind that the strategy consulting industry is currently experiencing a hiring slowdown with an undetermined end. To my knowledge, Swiss offices were among the first to experience this slowdown.
  • Given that you have a solid reason for wanting to transfer, such as a partner living in Switzerland, and you meet most of the above criteria, an office transfer should generally be possible. However, it's recommended to speak with your HR contact or a mentor within the firm to get a better understanding of the specific requirements and process for office transfers. They may also be able to provide you with more information on the likelihood of a transfer to the Zurich office.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.




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replied on Jan 20, 2023
BCG, ex-Goldman Sachs | Free Intro Session! | 30% off first session | Delivered 100+ mock case studies


It is generally firm-specific, but MBBs and majority of Tier-2 firms generally do permit office transfers under the following conditions: 

1) Reasonable timeframe of service at the firm (for BCG specifically, this is 1.5 years)

2) Top 30% performance (which also takes time to demonstrate, so the 1.5 years timeframe in reality is more like 2 years)

3) Fluency in local language (For Zurich office, that would be English and German, with French knowledge being desirable but not required)

4) Local business demand (There is a worldwide slowdown in consulting at the moment, but this is expected to reverse in 2023, so should also positively impact the Swiss offices)

As long as you have the above and a reasonable reason such as the one you highlighted, an office transfer should generally be possible

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 20, 2023
430+ consulting offers | Highest rated coach for sessions | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of "The 1%"

Hi there,

Petros already provided a perfect answer! It is definitely not a short-term endeavor in any case.

I want to add one thing: As far as I know, McKinsey Switzerland has stopped hiring at the moment and even withdrew interview invitations for Q1. The current situation does not play in your favor. Let's hope it improves soon!

All the best,


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Anonymous B on Jan 21, 2023

Do you happen to have any insight on Bain Switzerland and their hiring situation?

Content Creator
replied on Jan 22, 2023
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I secured a transfer to Switzerland (where McK used to have a branch of the MGI) without knowing German, so you will be fine!



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Cristian gave the best answer


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