Networking Question

associate associate consultant Bain BCG business network MBB McKinsey networking Referral
New answer on Jul 04, 2022
6 Answers
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asked on Jun 25, 2022

How does networking work? 
I was advised by alumni to network with associates, presumably to gain an understanding of what I would be doing on the job. But I'm wondering other than that is there any other reason to do so that would be helpful to a candidate? 

I also heard that you should network with associates-- specifically in the office that you are applying to-- so during interviews they recognize your name in the room. Is that true?

Thank you in advance for all your help!

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 25, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Alice,

1) But I'm wondering other than that is there any other reason to do so that would be helpful to a candidate? 

Yes. If you get a referral you will increase substantially the probability they will call you for interviews. As simple as that.

2) I also heard that you should network with associates-- specifically in the office that you are applying to - so during interviews they recognize your name in the room. Is that true?

Actually the higher the seniority the stronger the referral, so I would recommend to network from manager and above. Associates can still refer you though.

Yes, it is better if you are referred by someone in the same office. Although also consultants in other offices can refer you.

Associates don’t normally conduct interviews – they are usually conducted from manager and above.

Not sure what you mean by during interviews they recognize your name in the room – consulting companies don’t usually do group interviews. Also, if an interviewer personally knows you well, they can ask to be changed to avoid conflict of interest.

I wrote down some tips below on referrals, hope can be useful.

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To find a referral, you should follow three main steps:

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

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chances. There are specific ways to phrase it

You should prepare three main things before the call:

  • Your own pitch. 3-4 lines should be enough
  • 3-4 questions on the personal experiences of the person. Avoid to ask questions about the company
  • A closing question for the referral. It should be an indirect request to avoid being too pushy

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You can find more on how to get referrals here:

 How to Get an MBB Referral

If you need more help, I also do a 30min session with scripts to use, access to my network and every other info to land one. Please feel free to PM for more info.

Best,

Francesco

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Ashwin
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replied on Jun 26, 2022
Ex Manager Bain and company | INSEAD

Hey Alice,

Networking helps in two aspects :

Gain better understanding what the job entails and if it fits your interests: By Networking and asking Associates what their day in the life looks like you can get an understanding of whether you would want to follow in their footsteps. Too many candidates get enamored by the prestige that an MBB or a similar consulting firm name carries but they fail to critically evaluate whether they will like the job. The hard part starts when you get in the firm, if you don't like the work you will find it very difficult to succeed 

Signal to interviewers that you are serious about consulting and the firm: When I was interviewing candidates and if someone mentioned a colleague's name and that they have indeed spoken to them, it did act like a ice breaker , there was a common thread for us to connect on. Also, it indicates to the interviewer that you are initiative driven because of the 100 candidates he has interviewed you are among the few who has taken the additional effort to talk to people in the office you

However, keep in mind that networking is only a hygiene factor, it might get you in the door and help you create an initial rapport with the interviewer but if your case performance and fit interview are not above average its unlikely you will get an offer solely on the basis on networking. 

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Moritz
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replied on Jun 26, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

There's two types of networking (from your perspective):

  • Casual networking without any particular agenda
  • Objective driven networking with a specific goal in mind

Both are perfectly valid but if you want to land a job at firm X and there's people from firm X at an event, you need to get your mindset shifted to the second approach.

For that, you need to actually have an overarching objective in mind i.e. join firm X end of the year in location Y and role Z.

This is how it translates into networking objectives:

  • Indeed learn about the firm as much as you can, which is a great thing to refer to in an application as it shows you doing due diligence
  • Making a personal connection at any seniority level to ultimately score a referral, which will have a big impact on the likeliness to be invited for interviews

As for referrals - you don't just ask people for it randomly. Instead, build rapport first and come across as a likeable and capable person. Somewhere down the line, if you have a good feeling about the connection, ask for contact details and if they might be willing to “help” with the application process.

If they like you and have a good feeling about you being a potentially good candidate, they are incentivized by their firm to actually help you and maybe refer you.

So my advice is to be clear on what you want and then go after it confidently with conviction and always friendly and likeable.

Best of luck!

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Ian
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replied on Jun 26, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Alice,

Networking basically works by you reaching out to have conversations with people (about their job, the company etc.).

The reason you network is 1) To understand the job but 2) To drastically increase your chances of getting invited to interview.

Yes you can/should network with Associates but you also shouldn't limit yourself! Network with all levels of the company, and, specifically, you want to aim to get high level referrals.

Feel free to reach out if you'd like to learn more about how to network optimally!

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Lucie
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updated an answer on Jul 04, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi Alice, 

fair question!

Networking should be useful to:

1. Find out more about the firm from unofficial source…about the company, culture, people… to see if you like it, if you would fit, etc. 

2. Understand better how the recruiting works, eventually find out jobs you wont find on the web

3. Potentially hope you can get a referral, which ensures your CV will be checked. BUT overall referrals are overestimated here in the forums… they dont allow you to skip any step of the process, nor give you advantage in the process, hence if you see it would be difficult to get a referral, dont overestimate time on that, rather put all your effort to have the best CV and cover letter.

All the best,

Lucie

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Clara
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replied on Jun 27, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I think it does make sense to reach out to associates or even BAs (depending on your own tenure), since your success rate would be higher than with more senior people. 

However, the target you mention is wrong: is not for them to know your name in the room, but to 1) get to know the job better and 2) get a referral that helps in the process. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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