Networking - what to do if there's no connections in the firm?

New answer on May 01, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 26, 2020

As for networking, I believe most people would start with friends, alumni, relatives, etc. But what if you're interested in a firm and was not able to identify a worker who has some sort of connections with you? Would you still cold mail a different person? If yes, what would you do to create a connection between you two and increase the success rate to be referred? Thanks.

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Anonymous replied on Apr 27, 2020

Hi A,

I would recommend for you the following scheme:

* Google relevant people to get their working emails or just search for them in LinkedIn

* Look for those who have something in common with you (school, degree etc). Tru to focus on the partners

* Prepare a short and well written introductory email explaining who you are, how you found that person, and what you want from them (i.e. advice on the application process)

* Email it to the partner using their corporate email (If you don't get one, don't take it personally and move on to the next partner on your list)

* Prepare for the phone call. Focus on making a good first impression and do not try pass on your resume. They will ask for it if they like you.

Good luck!


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 26, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


Cold email the person is just one of the alternatives.
I would suggest first of all to to identify your "potential targets" on linkedin. There you can see if you have some friends in common that could introduce you to him/her. If not, I would prefer to try to connect to him/her by linkedin, that is a softer approach than cold email someone.
Don't be afraid, refer someone that can get a job offer is a good opportunity also for people that are inside the company.


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 27, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


First of all, don´t only guide yourself with LinkedIn. There are many other ways to find connections and friends of friends who could be insightful for you.

Whenever you find yourself in a dead end, something that works very well -at the end of the day, they are conceived for this- is to attend events. There are plenty, not only for universities, and precisely done to network.

Reseach in the different pages to find them (e.g., McKinsey Atrévete for top students, McKinsey´s Next Generation of Women Leaders, etc.)

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Apr 29, 2020
150+ interviews | 6+ years experience | Bain, Kearney & Accenture | Exited startup| London Business School

The two easiest approaches are to look for alumni and relatives, but if that is not possible I would try to attend an event. Either events organized by the consultant or from universities. Alternatively, approach the career center at your university.

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 27, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

to get a referral when you don’t have a direct connection, I would recommend the following three-step approach:

1. Identify who are the people that can more easily help you

2. Write them a customized email

3. Have a call with the consultant, and indirectly ask for a referral

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work a lot better. There are several tools nowadays that allow to find very quickly the email of basically anyone. You should target at least 30% conversion for your messages – if you are not achieving that there is space for improvement in your message.
  • When you write to your target connections, your goal should not be to ask questions, rather to organize a call. Then in the call you should ask the right questions to create a connection with them.
  • Whatever questions you ask during the call, you should have a closing question to ask (indirectly) for the referral. Don’t leave that to chances.

You should prepare three main things before the call:

  • Your own pitch, highlighting who you are in 3-4 key sentences. Previous /experience with relevant brands/companies would be great to show you are qualified
  • 3-4 questions, focused on the personal experiences of the person (and not on the company only). Ideally you should try to learn as much as possible about the contact before. You can also discover relevant information with the first questions. Your goal here is to have a conversation and not a Q&A session.
  • Closing question for a referral. You should ask (in an indirect way to avoid to be too pushy) a referral at the end of the call. If you correctly introduce yourself, do a good job with the questions before and have something in common (eg former alumni, common connections…), you can increase by a relevant amount the likelihood of a referral. If you don’t ask, they may not volunteer to offer one.

Before the call, it would be useful to review your CV and Cover, to be sure they are updated and structured properly for your MBB application, so that you can forward them without delays if needed.

If you are interested to know more about the exact steps and scripts to maximize conversion for referrals, please feel free to PM me. I provide a 30 min session (thus at 50% discount) to understand how to exactly get referrals for your target companies, directly from home – including the transcripts to use. You can also choose to do a full session, if besides referrals you want to have your CV and Cover reviewed so that they can stand out.

Following the same process, I managed to get 6 invitations out of 6 applications – including all MBB – and I regularly see the people I help getting referrals for MBB.

Hope this helps,


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Anonymous replied on Apr 26, 2020

Hi there,

You can still reach out to people via LinkedIn for example. When I was in BCG I had a few candidates reaching out to me via LinkedIn to ask for quick coffee chats. I was quite impressed with 1 particular candidate who actually reached out and secured multiple chats with my colleagues and me via LinkedIn. He didn't just stop at the first round of chats. He kept us updated on email about his application status and asked for follow up coffee chats as well. He managed the frequency quite well (probably one chat every 2 months) so I didn't feel any burden at all. Also the conversations were good because he clearly did his homework and knew what questions were worth asking from a busy consultant (i.e. don't ask simple basic questions that you can google by yourself). He did joined BCG afterwards and seemed to be doing really well.

So in short, you can reach out to total strangers. Just be mindful (1) you can increase your chance by reaching out to more ppl, (2) manage the frequency so you have follow-ups but don't come across as pushing too much, (3) ask intelligent questions that would make the chat worth the time.

Hope it helps,


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Content Creator
replied on May 01, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi, of course connections are easier to engage, but even cold email can work, especially in this period when also consultants have a bit more of free time during the weekdays. I recommend building a standard message where you show your enthusiasm for the firm and you will be super glad of having a quick call + customize the first part by finding something interesting in the LinkedIn profile of the consultant



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