Networking with Partners

Bain Bain & Company BCG McKinsey networking
New answer on Jun 09, 2020
22 Answers
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Anonymous B asked on Jun 08, 2020

Hi,

I have a call scheduled with a Bain partner tomorrow morning (am in EST) and I was just wondering how to network with a partner? what are some of the questions I can ask about his experience and the firm. Hoping to build a rapport with him but unsure how to do so.

Thanks,

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Mehdi
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replied on Jun 08, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi,

For your call, I would advise you to think about the following:

  • Present yourself: briefly introduce yourself with the key points in your professional & academic lives
  • Establish a common ground: explain why you reached out to this person in particular and not another one (it might be that you are from the same country, you are interested in his area of expertise, you went to the same school, etc.)
  • Be clear about the goal of the call: a Partner is generally very busy, so make a good use of his/her time. Be prepared!
  • Show interest in his firm/practice/region: a Partner knows that you are looking for a referral (he/she is also looking to hire talent), so be yourself, show interest in the work done in their office and ask for advice for the recruitment process

Do not hesitate to DM if you need to further discuss those points.

All the best,

Mehdi :)

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Julie
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replied on Jun 08, 2020
McK interviewer, Ph.D (advanced degree) | Experienced coach (150+) | Practical tips, confidence-based approach

Hi!

There are a few important things you want to get right in this call :

  1. Make best use of the time. The partner is busy, and will likely be taking this call from a cab or in line to get in his next plane. That means you need to be very concise, straight to the point. Prepare what you want to say, and impress the partner by being efficient. A little chit-chat at the start of the call will help, but do not make it last more than 1 min! Don't ask questions you'd ask to an associate and BA. You want to be bigger picture with a partner.
  2. Lead the call. You want to impress the partner by showing that you are a leader, that you have an agenda for the call. Don't be too rigid about it, as the partner will want to talk about his experience. Thank him for his time, briefly introduce yourself (no more than 1 minute!), and then list the questions you have for him
  3. Be very clear on what you want to get from the call. Understand the type of work Bain does in a certain sector? Know more about his specific contribution to this sector? And relate this objective to your application as a candidate - show that you are active about your career decisions and that you are not applying to Bain out of nowhere - it should be the result of a serious understanding of your strengths and motivations. Explain why you want answers to these questions.
  4. Establish rapport with him. A little stalking can go a long way - do you and him have anything in common you could bring up to establish a positive connection? Did you go to the same school, practice the same sport, grew up in the same city? This will also show that you have the right people's skills to be a stellar consultant.

Hope that helps !

Julie

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Anonymous replied on Jun 08, 2020

Hi there,

I think it would help to answer these questions to help you frame the discussion:

  • Why did the partner agree to have the call with you in the first place?
  • What do you think the Partner is expecting to talk about during this call?
  • What are the key takeaways you want from this call
  • What are the next steps you would like to have after this call?

By answering these questions on paper, you would force yourself to truly think about what you want to talk about in order to meet your objectives.

It is hard for someone to give you "good questions to help you build rapport" without knowing the background behind this call, your motivation, and the partner's motivation.

I hope this helps.

Khaled

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Réka
Expert
updated an answer on Jun 03, 2020
3+ years McKinsey consulting experience|Oxford MBA

Hello,

I would use this opportunity to understand the job better through someone's personal experience, rather than trying to impress the person.

Whenever I'm trying to understand someone else's job, I ask some of the the following questions

- What were their motivations when they joined that company?

- Were these expectations met? What are the things that they love about their job and what are the things they wish they had known before?

- How does their day look like? What are some examples of problems that they are working on?

- What were your most/least interesting/impactful projects?

- What are the growth (and career) prospects in that sector?

I hope it helps.

Best,

Réka

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Jun 11, 2020
This is great!. Thanks so much.
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 09, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Ask For Yourself

While a coffee chat is a way for you to make a good impression, please remember that it's also about you making sure this job + path are right for you!

To prepare, think about things you'd like to learn about the company. Ask about your person's experience at the firm, where they've come from, if they have any advice for you etc. Be inquisitive and interested in what they have to say, and feel free to ask thoughtful follow-up questions.

Most importantly, remember this is a conversation! Keep it dynamic, two-way, etc.

Have Your Pitch Ready

In terms of what they'll ask you, make sure you have your 30 second pitch prepared! Who are you in a nutshell and why are you interested in Bain and strategy consulting?

Ask About Them

People love to talk about themselves. Just ask them what they've worked on recently or what their journey at BCG has been like. Importantly, do your research beforehand - find out what they've done and try and pick something from their past that looks interesting to you. Tailor your questions just like they tailor their FIT questions to your resume.

"So, how did you end up in the Industrial Goods sector?" "I saw you worked on a big digital transformation for a financial services company - I experienced one myself and it seemed so hard to move such a big organisation. What did you see as the major challenges and breakthrough moments?"

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Anonymous replied on Jun 09, 2020

Dear A,

It's great that you have a chance to talk with Bain partner.

Well, in general, you need to be lightly person on order to do so you need to google the most relevant information about your partner with whom you are going to talk about his background, his competence and focus, past projects. Maybe, you can even find any publications where he was an author. Through this, try to ask him the questions and find similarities with yourself: maybe you cam from the same school, town, or interested in the same topics. This will help you to establish both profesional and personal link.

Listen more than you speak, be an active listener. Partners normally like those person who are smart and listen to them. So make the partner feel great during this conversation. And I'm pretty sure that afterwards he will be eager to help you to get into the firm, which is your ultimate objective.

Hope it helps you,

If you need further tips, just drop me a message,

Good luck,

André

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Emily
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 08, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

Some quick thoughts on this.

  • Make it more personal. Asking the partner about his experience (e.g. what he likes most about the firm, what keeps him in the firm for so long, what is his top challenge, what change his wish to bring in the coming years, what advice he has for younger generation etc.).
  • Don't ask questions that you can google by yourself and get an answer, or too much on process/admin questions. Use his time wisely.

Cheers,

Emily

(edited)

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 08, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Ensure you do a good reserach a priori, this will help you find common points, that is always a plus (perhaps same Uni, or something in common)

During the talk itself, focus on geniune questions to learn more about his career, experience, choices, challenges, etc.

Don´t be transactional , he knows at the end of the day you want a referral, but don´t be too upfront about it. Be enjoyable, as if you met your partner´s parents!

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous replied on Jun 08, 2020

Hello,

in general, partners take a lot of space in meetings and talk a lot.

However, they can also tell you "ok what are the objectives of this call"? In this case prepare a well structured response e.g. in 3-4 bullet points.

But you need to tell us more about the context of this call :)

David

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Robert
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 03, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

The main idea is making the most of the very limited face time available with your interviewers. As a consequence, questions probing personal insights from your interviewers make sense to learn more about the firm ... and that might even lead to some interesting insights. Some questions I am thinking of are e.g.

  • Where exactly do you see the competitive advantage of Bainvs. their competitors?
  • Which three things turned out to be different after joining Bain than what you expected in advance?
  • ...

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Francesco
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updated an answer on Aug 10, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

I would avoid to ask questions about the firm. Instead, you should try to ask questions related to the experience of the person in the firm. People love to talk about themselves.

Generally speaking, good questions should:

  1. not be related to something you could easily find online or that shows you don’t know much about consulting
  2. not be related to the firm per se (eg how is XYZ in Bain), but to the experience of the consultant (How did you find XYZ in your experience as a consultant?)
  3. be related to a positive experience (eg avoid to challenge the consultant on his/her future. Instead, let him/her talk about successes in the past)

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Axel
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 09, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi,

A few suggestions here but depending on the context of your call.

1. Have an agenda for the call that you present at the beginning

2. Make sure you have your 1-2 minute elevator pitch ready where you present yourself and your background, establishing some common ground

3. Prepare some great questions in advance, typically around their experience in the firm

-A

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 08, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

It would help if you could provide more context:

  • How do you know the partner?
  • Are you an experienced hire?
  • How did you describe that call to him while asking for it?

Best

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 09, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I recommend showing your enthusiasm for the firm. About questions, I suggest to study her LinkedIn profile and ask her something related to her practice experience or working/MBA background

Best,
Antonello

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 06, 2020
Top rated McKinsey coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

A lot of great points are covered here. Below are questions I always found thoughtful when candidates asked me about the role

1. How does my role differ from others on the team and how do I get ownership of my work

2. What impact have I had in this job and what has it taught me

3. How do I deal with the challenges of the consulting life - especially handling senior clients as a young graduate

4. What is the mentorship model like? How easy does the firm make it to find mentors? How did I find my mentor?

5. What did I wish I know before I joined McKinsey

6. What makes me excited to come to work every morning

All the best with the call,

Udayan

(edited)

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