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McKinsey and BCG recruiting after failure

BCG McKinsey Reapply mckinsey
Edited on Sep 05, 2021
6 Answers
6.7 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 11, 2018

Hi all,

Last October I applied to McKinsey and BCG. I failed the PST and BCG's online test.
I wish to re-apply for next round (approximately will take place in October)... 1 year will pass since my previous unsuccesful attempts.

How should I maximize my chances to be considered again?
Leverage my network to push myself via partner?
Should I contact HR first?

Any advice would be appreciated.


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replied on Jun 11, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

first of all - you should put strong effort in addressing your weak point in these analytical tests! There is no point in pushing for a second invitation if you don't increase your performance to the required level!

If this is addressed, I would strongly recommend effective networking via senior firm members. If you already know Partners there - great! Use these Partners to identify areas (functions, industries,...) that are especially appealing to you and where you bring value to the table with your profile. Have a couple of focused conversations with them where you ask very concrete questions regarding the state and outlook of that specific area within the firm and corresponding career perspectives for you in case you joined. From there, it is only a small step to be channeled into the regular recruiting process via a partner.

If done correctly, this is - by far - the most effective way to break into MBB firms.

Cheers, Sidi

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replied on Jun 11, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I recommend having a referral:

  1. The consultant makes you a reference in the system and uploads your resume. Usually, he has to indicate why he thinks you are a good candidate
  2. You skip some steps in the recruiting process (CV screening at McK, Test at Bain)
  3. The consultant gets a referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

As you can see simply mentioning a person in your CL does not change the process at all.

The conversion to reference will be higher among consultant / manager level people who are still interested in the referral bonus. The basic idea is to ask these people for a mock interview.

Here are some tips on how you can do that:

1) Leverage your own network - find friends or friends of friends who can practice cases with you or make you a reference.

2) Attend company events. Consulting companies do a lot of events both for graduates and experienced hires. Find the social network groups related to consulting or websites, subscribe to newsletters and stay tuned. Also, check if they have events in your University since you are a PHD.

While some of the events will be open to everyone, others will require a resume and a cover letter, so make sure to prep.

3) Talk to people on the events and send Thank You notes. After each event, there is a Q&A session where you can talk to consultants 1 on 1 or in a group. Ask for contact info or send a thank you note after the event ("I just wanted to thank you for visiting our University... It was especially interesting to hear about... Would be happy to keep in touch and apply in the nearest future.). Alternatively, you may use linkedin for that. If you are an experienced hire I strongly suggest to ask for a 1 on 1 meeting in a thank you note.

4) 1 on 1 meetings. All people like giving an advice. So don't hesitate to ask consultants for a career advice. Tell your story and ask how consulting fits into it

5) Mock interview Depending on where you are in your prep process you may ask a consultant for a mock interview. Consultants are very much opened to help even if it is a cold call e-mail. The main problem is a lack of time on their side. So don't be afraid to remind about yourself if the consultant has already committed but finds it hard to find the time

6) Talking to partners If you are an experienced hire I suggest to talk directly to the partners in your industry or the partner responsible for experienced hires (in consulting partners also have additional roles). Get an intro from the HR or from your friends working there. Partners care a lot about experienced hires with relevant industry expertise. Chances to get referral are much lower though. They also will not be interested in giving mock interviews.

7) If you are an MBA graduate Just talk to your section mates and ask for a reference or a mock interview - they will be happy to help. Make sure you attend all the consulting events.

Good luck!

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Sep 05, 2021
Former BCG | Case author for efellows book | Experience in 6 consultancies (Stern Stewart, Capgemini, KPMG, VW Con., Hor


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Anonymous replied on Jul 09, 2020

Dear A,

First, you CV has to be upgraded significantly and polished. And the second important step to maximize your chances is to apply through the referrals.

If you need any help with this, feel free to reach out.



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JUAN PABLO replied on Jun 12, 2018


Make sure you can apply in October, on one of my enconunters with McKinsey recruiters she told me that if i fail in my application i have to wait 2 years to start another process with them.


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Anonymous A replied on Jun 11, 2018

Thanks guys!

Btw, knowing someone at HR could assist me in any way?


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Sidi gave the best answer


McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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