Missed an MBB Coffee Chat - What should I do?

Interview MBB networking
New answer on Jul 02, 2021
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 30, 2021

I'm a rising UG senior and had a final round last year at an MBB (for their internship). I got an email from the recruiter to schedule a time for a coffee chat with consultants. I signed up for a specific time slot with an unnamed consultant (just showed their initials on the time slot). Note that the recruiter email specifically said to only sign up if this office was my first choice (it is) and I know other people that interviewed last year who did not get an invite, so it was a relatively exclusive event (I remember there being ~10 time slots). Anyways, I ended up completely forgetting about the chat until that weekend, so it was too late to send an apology email. 

I know that this was a stupid (and completely avoidable) mistake, but now I have two options. 

A.) I just hope that I get the interview anyways. This office is my top preference due to culture fit, and considering I amde it to the final round last year and was invited to an exclusive event means that without this mistake I would have almost definitely gotten an interview.

B.) I preference a different office. I would probably get an interview at another office as I'm from a national target and got multiple MBB interviews last year. However, I would like to avoid doing this if I'm not likely blacklisted from the original office.

For formalized coffee chat events, do consultants give feedback to the recruiter (ex. He didn't show up), or is this just an informal event that the recruiter won't hear about? If the recruiter does hear about this, will I be automatically blacklisted?

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with the other consultants here.

Not only have I run the analytics around how important networking is (it's important), but missing a company-sponsored coffee chat is not good. I unfortunately think it's unlikely that you'll be invited to interview this year (but you won't be "blacklisted", that's different).

In case you were curious, see below for the research I did around networking/connections and recruiting success. Feel free to message if you'd like to read the full article and see the Naive Bayes regression + variable coefficients.

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Anonymous B on Jun 30, 2021
Hi A! I'd be careful putting too much weight on this analysis. For two reasons: (a) It's actually bad consulting practice: Ian throws in fancy tool names and is suggesting causation that might or might not be there. Nobody would claim that networking is not important, but the number of touchpoints is largely driven by e.g. the school - candidates from target schools get flooded with contact opportunities and going to these schools drastically increases chances for an invitation. But the number of touchpoints is not necessarily the driver of this. (b) It suggests that the more touchpoints the better. An anecdote to the contrary: I run the MBA recruiting for my MBB office. We are actually tracking who reaches out to our consultants and sign up to coffee chats. In the past we have actually discounted applications from candidates that flood us with coffee chat requests just to maximize the number of touchpoints for the sake of it. I'd rather hire somebody that respects the time of my colleagues and asks pointy questions when relevant, than somebody that wastes our time just to make their name being recognized by as many people as possible.
Anonymous A on Jun 30, 2021
Thanks for the response to this B! I'm not worried because I didn't get to have a coffee chat, I have a formal recommendation and have attended other events. My main concern is that the recruiter will see me missing the chat as wasting their time. Do you think they could interpret my actions that way?
Anonymous on Jun 30, 2021
Na, I agree with the other coaches on this. Missing a coffee chat isn't ideal but it won't disqualify you from the application, especially if you have a referral.
Ian on Jun 30, 2021
Hi Anonymous B, I always appreciate active discussion, especially when it concerns data! Now, there's always an issue of causation vs correlation, but I isolated a range of variables and these were strong predictors of success (for example, someone with a high GMAT score may network more, but if we isolate across a set GMAT range, we can see this relationship holds true). Furthermore, the sample size for this data was just one school, therefore your point regarding school differences is moot. Feel free to check out my analysis on SpencerTom where I dive into the actual process. If you still have issues with it after you've given it a fair shot, I'd love to hear how I could improve it! Note: I emphasized how important a coffee chat/networking is, but I never said "reach out to everyone and anyone you can"...would appreciate no strawman logical fallacies against me please :)

(edited)

Ian on Jun 30, 2021
I would also note that, while I worked at the career office for my MBA program, we did know of candidates who were eliminated from the process because they missed a coffee chat. This doesn't mean you are disqualified, but I have seen it happen.

(edited)

Ken
Expert
updated an answer on Jul 01, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

I wouldn't worry! The coffee chats are more of an informal event that isn't part of the selection process. Consultants will only share feedback to recruiters if something stands out; unless its an ethical conern, the impact will be marginal.

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Jun 30, 2021
Thanks for the response Ken, do you think not showing up counts as "something standing out"?
Ken on Jun 30, 2021
It would depend on that individual consultants proactivity around flagging it to HR. I would genuinely shocked if an MBB rejected a strong candidate based on missing a coffee chat with a junior consultant.
Adi
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

No need to overthink this..honest mistake and it happens. Not a big deal. Agree with Ken and Henning.

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 01, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I confirm it is not an issue. Feel free to stay in touch with them to know next steps and application windows

Best,
Antonello

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Henning
Expert
replied on Jun 30, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Agree with Ken. This is unfortunate, and the message will probably have made it to the recruiting team, but I also don't think that this will be a reason to not invite your for your office. Besides: Recruiting files are probably accessing the same database, so I don't think just by sending your application to a different office you'll be starting with a clean sheet.

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | Imbellus Expert

Hey there,

I believe you are overthinking this a bit and the impact on a future application will be minimal to non-existent. The main benefit/opportunity you lost was to score a referral during the chat.

Even that can be ironed out with some networking efforts.

Cheers,

Florian

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 02, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hi!

Careful with correlation vs. causation when you see data about networking!

Agree that is not ideal, but you cannot change the past. I would honestly stand up and own the mistake, apologize, and see how they react to ask for a new slot. Honestly and courage rarely work badly

Hope it helps! Cheers, 

Clara

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Anonymous A on Jul 07, 2021
Hi Clara, thanks for the response. Unfortunately, it is too late to send an apology to the recruiter. Additionally, I already have a recommendation so scheduling another coffee chat isn't something I'd benefit from. However, what I am concerned about is that the recruiter will see my absence (and lack of an apology/explanation) as a reason to not extend an interview to me. If this is likely, than I can simply preference another office. However, I do have a slight preference for this office. Do you think the best course of action is to preference another office?
Ian gave the best answer

Ian

Content Creator
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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