My grades are not excellent, can I still get into MBB?

BCG consulting grades McKinsey
New answer on Nov 24, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 20, 2020

Hi guys,

my academic records are not the best, is it still possible to get a position at McKinsey or BCG? If not, are there any other possibilities on how I can make myself stand out or make myself seem valuable for them?

Thanks!

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Clara
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replied on Jan 21, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

The HR team who reviews CVs does a "holistic" overview of them.

What does this mean? That is not only looking at grades, but the whole picture. If your records are not great but you were a professional sports player, for instance, your case might be even stronger. Same if you were involved in impressive entrepreneurial activities.

In any case, applying is for free so you don´t have any opportunity cost.

Give it a shoot!

Good luck,

Clara

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Vlad
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replied on Jan 20, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Absolutely. First of all, you can apply later, in a couple of years, when your experience would be more important than your grades.

Secondly, a referral helps a lot. There are certain criteria for the 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 referral bonus ($) if you get a job offer

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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Daniel
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replied on Jan 20, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

Hi there!

In the situations like this following things help:

  • Referrals (especially, from a partner)
  • Impressive professional experience (like founding a start-up or working really high-up in a corporate, e.g. right hand of the board member)
  • Other impressive achievements (cool social engagement, sporting achievements, etc.)
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Gaurav
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replied on Nov 24, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

What do you mean by not excellent?

I suggest you concentrate on other achievements, work experience and additional skills to get your CV stronger.

Feel free to send me your CV, I would check it with pleasure!

All the best,

GB

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 20, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

It depends on what "not the best" means for you. Generally speacking it's really difficult but you can still try to justify those results with other activities that you have done during your studies (e.g. startups, internships ecc.)

Best,
Luca

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 20, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
if you have a strong working experience of 2+ years you can do it, otherwise I recommend applying for smaller consulting firms or starting with a Fortune500 to build a most appealing profile for MBB.

Best,
Antonello

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Giulia
Expert
replied on Jan 20, 2020
McKinsey Business Analyst | 3+ years Experience | MBA at LBS

Hi,

Unfortunately, it is going to be very difficult.

You can either have a very strong referral (like from a Partner or Associate Partner) or wait a few years, gain some valuable experience in a sector you are interested in and apply as experience hire in 4-5 years' time.

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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