(Multiple) Rejections by MBB - Clarifications and advise for next steps

Anonymous A asked on Oct 19, 2019 - 3 answers

I'll briefly tell you my application history for MBB:

- McKinsey: I interviewed in October 2018 for offices in my home country and got rejected (I was really bad at cases back then). Not knowing that the 1.5-2 year ban is global, I re-applied after a few months for another country and got rejected. Furthermore, I applied for 3-4 other countries where English was the official office language, using a different email address and a shorter version of my first name in the application. It obviously did not work. In the very last rejection letter, they even manually added a small paragraph that the feedback applies globally and that I should reapply 1 year after my graduation.

- BCG: I interviewed with my home country offices in April, and did not make it (the interviewer encouraged me though to reapply, theoretically even after 1 year). Similar to McKinsey, I applied for other countries using another email address and nickname, and got rejected probably because I was in the system.

- Bain: not knowing about central recruiting, I applied in October last year for US on-campus interviews and got rejected. A couple months later for another country and some time later for my home country and one month ago again for the US with different email address and nickname, all applications were not successful.

To be honest, there is very much uncertainty floating around on the internet regarding global vs. local recruiting system in consulting. Even HR did not give me precise information at all. Before applying to my home country at BCG, I called HR and asked about this issue, they explicitly told me that even after a rejection I could continue applying to other countries and that the ban only counts country-wide. At McKinsey and Bain I asked the same questions to HR via email, they only said that I was welcome to re-apply whenever and to any international office I wanted and that the waiting period is only a suggestion from the firm (and did not answer the question whether recruiting was global or not and whether the ban period is internationally applied).

After being rejected once, I had informational conversations with multiple consultants on the phone, some of them agreed that I mention them in the cover letter and even forwarded my CV to recruiting. Meanwhile I know that MBB recruiting is global because a consultant told me so after trying to refer me.

Nevertheless, I am afraid of 2 things: 1. that I maybe got on their nerves and they banned me forever (although, as I mentioned, HR never clarified that the ban period is global and even told me I was welcome to apply at any time, for any country, so it would be weird if it has negative consequences to reapply within the waiting period when even explicitly told by them to be welcome to do so), and 2. that the waiting period is automatically extended after each application.

Therefore, I have 2 questions:

1.) Given that, at each of those firms, the maximum time between the earliest and the latest of my applications is 11-12 months (McK, Bain), could it be the case that they have extended the ban period each time? Therefore, should I wait a year and apply again, or rather 2 years from now?

2.) Meanwhile I have 2 interviews with Tier3 consulting firms, one with ATK Middle East (which, as often stated on threads here, will take place after January) and one with an Inhouse firm. For having a good starting position to be able to re-apply to MBB after 1 year, would the best option for me now to try to get into Tier2-Tier3 consulting, Inhouse Consulting or a trainee position in industry? Actually, would anything beyond Tier2-Tier3 Consulting hurt my CV for re-applying to MBB?

I am sorry, I know I sound quite desparate right now... It just feels like it is the end of the world, although it is probably not...

3 answers

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Francesco
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replied on Oct 20, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

answering to both your questions, I would recommend the following:

  • Try to get an offer from another consulting company for your application, ideally a second tier (Strategy&, ATK, OW, RB); a background in consulting can definitely improve your future MBB applications. In case that doesn’t work, target a strategy position in a big brand
  • In both cases, I would recommend to apply after two years to MBB given the number of applications you have done to be on the safe side and to show sufficient improvements in your work experience
  • If you still get rejected after the two years, you may consider an MBA, which is going to provide an additional opportunity to join MBB after it

Hope this helps,
Francesco

Vlad
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replied on Oct 20, 2019
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Hi,

1) You need to understand why you got rejected for the first time

2) You need to take responsibility for your actions. Why did you keep applying so many times with different credentials? No one here knows how exactly the algorithm works and can give you advice at that point. You've done it yourself and now it's complicated. You should better wait, improve your resume and reapply via a referral

3) You can always try Tier2. Why not

Jamie replied on Oct 19, 2019
Former Tier 2, now MBB

Hi there,

First of all is important to understand at which point were you rejected at MBB level. CV screening? Math test? First round? If you were rejected at CV screening level, applying to different offices without updating/improving your CV will not suffice.

Now, assuming that your ban is not permanent, which in all honesty I don´t see that being the case, what can you do?

First you need to see in what stage are you in your career. Still halfway through your studies? About to finish them?

Gaining experience in other consulting firms apart from MBB is definitely a major option.

The only thing you need to be sure is not simply apply and thinking its going to be a walk in the park because its not MBB. At ATK or any other firm the process will be competitive.

My recommendation is to make sure you get help early on and you address all the possible pitfalls: 1. polishing your CV & CL 2. how to get a referral. 3. how to prepare your fit. 4. how to excel in cases

Plenty of great experts in this website to help you achieve that!

Why do you think the ban is not permanent? — Anonymous A on Oct 19, 2019

P.S. the rejection at Bain was CV screening, McK and BCG 1st round — Anonymous A on Oct 19, 2019

Regarding my career stage: I just graduated — Anonymous A on Oct 19, 2019

I say it is not permanent because I dont see HR making those decisions by themself and I dont see the purpose of permanently banning someone for applying. — Jamie on Oct 19, 2019

as I said, it is the perfect time for going for tier 2 and then you move to MBB later on. That is what I did actually — Jamie on Oct 19, 2019