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Moving to MBB/ Bigger consulting firm

and Bain BCG boutique consulting MBB McKinsey
New answer on Aug 29, 2023
5 Answers
810 Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 17, 2023

Hi,

I have been working as a Level 2 Consultant in a boutique consulting firm (Strategy) for last two years. Previously I was associated with a market research agency for two years as a research specialist. Currently I am looking for opportunities in MBB. 


Suggestions:

1. How hard will it be to move from boutique to MBB firms?

2. Any advice to bridge the gap.

 

Thanks!

 

(edited)

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Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: How hard will it be to move from boutique to MBB firms? Any advice to bridge the gap.

It’s always quite challenging to get into MBB, regardless of the background.

Starting with the invitation, if you want to be invited for interviews with MBB you should work on 3 things:

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1) CV

The key elements they will look for and that you can optimize are:

  • University brand
  • Major
  • GPA
  • Work experience
  • Experience abroad
  • Extracurriculars and volunteer experience

The fact you don't have consulting experience is not a problem if you structure your CV correctly.

Red flags include:

  • Low GPA
  • Lack of any kind of work experience
  • Bad formatting / typos
  • 3-4 pages length
  • Lack of clear action --> results structure for the bullets of the experiences
  • Long paragraphs (3-4 lines) for the bullets of the experiences with irrelevant details
  • Long time gaps without any explanation

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2) COVER LETTER

You can structure a cover in 4 parts:

  1. Introduction, mentioning the position you are interested in and a specific element you find attractive for that company
  2. Why you are qualified for the job, where you can report 3 skills/stories from your CV, ideally related to leadership, impact, drive and teamwork
  3. Why you are interested in that particular firm, with additional 1-2 specific reasons
  4. Final remarks, mentioning again your interest and contacts

In part 2 you can write about experiences that show skills useful in consulting such as drive, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork and convincing others.

It is important that in part 3 you make your cover specific to a particular firm – the rule of thumb is, can you send the exact same cover to another consulting company if you change the name? If that’s the case, your cover is too generic.

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3) REFERRALS

To find a referral, you should follow three steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write to them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

You can find more information on networking and referrals here:

▶ How to Get an MBB Invitation 

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BONUS: INTERVIEW PREPARATION

After you managed to get an invitation you need to find out how to pass the interview. You can find more on that at the link below.

▶ How to Prepare for an MBB Interview

Good luck!

Francesco

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • First of all, I am confident that there is a high chance you will be able to change employers to MBB given your background. While the application processes with MBB are always quite challenging, you are most likely a highly sought-after candidate.
  • Unfortunately, without further information, it is very difficult to assess where exactly "the gap" lies in your current profile. As such, I would highly advise you to reach out to a coach for a thorough assessment.

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

Best,

Hagen

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 18, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

1. How hard will it be to move from boutique to MBB firms?

Hard. Of course! They're the most coveted consulting firms in the world…it's hard for everyone.

2. Any advice to bridge the gap.

Please don't read hard as impossible. But, don't have illusions here. You are going to have to work extremely hard. And odds are you will not succeed. Embark on the journey only if you're ready to push yourself and face potential rejection. But, who ever got anywhere by playing it safe?

To bridge the gap:

  1. Get your resume as strong as possible (professionally reviewed)
  2. Get a strong cover letter
  3. Network extensively
  4. Case prep well in advance. I recommend reading this
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Paul
Expert
updated an answer on Mar 17, 2023
PL-level BCG experience (6 years)|Interviewer at BCG| 6/6 personal + 95%+ candidates offer success rate

Hi there,

1) How difficult to go Botique → MBB

Impossible to answer precisely without more details about the botique you work in, but below some drivers of “difficulty to switch” based on my experience/colleagues I have seen

a. Brand of botique in your MBB target geo (higher - less difficult to switch)

b) Type of works you did (Strategy/DDs - less difficult to switch; implementation type work - harder

c) Vertical specialization that is interesting for MBB (e.g. digital niche, procurement excellence, …). If you have this based 

d) Your profile: e.g. Ivy-league undergraduate for US, high-GPA, high GMAT - very interesting previous work experience ….

d) Your proactivity in following the “golden rules” to land a referral/apply to MBB, that you can find in this platform (e.g. how to craft CV, networking ,….)

2) Bridging the gap - I would honestly 

a) Ask for an assessment of your current profile/experience to a coach here or MBB employees at your target firm. Two scenario

→ they tell you you have a chance: focus on point d) above and try to land an interview

→ they tell you very low chance: try to pivot to Strategy botiques or Tier-2 firms as a “stepping stone” (btw you could discover you love Tier-2 and never switch again) OR go the MBA route in a TARGET school (e.g. USA TOP 7, INSEAD; LBS, …) to access MBB from there as post-MBA.

Good luck - keep me posted!!!

 

(edited)

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 29, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there!

Wishing I had seen this earlier. 

In short, if you're planning on making a lateral move between firms, don't only target MBB, but also Tier2. Even if you move to tier 2 now, then it will be even easier to get into MBB next time you try. 

Best,
Cristian

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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