Networking with Partners

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New answer on Jun 09, 2020
51 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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Originally answered question:

Networking Question

Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 25, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 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

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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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Originally answered question:

Questions about networking

Moritz
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updated an answer on Jan 15, 2022
ex-McKinsey | Senior Interviewer & MBA Coach @ McKinsey | Personalized key-skill coaching |Blue-chip Strategy Lead

Hi Daisy,

Good question! First of all, great of you to start networking and already getting offers for referrals. Definitely the way to go!

Your referees have a strong interest that you’re prepared well in case you get invited to an interview. Hence, I would discuss with them directly the level of your case preparation. 

There’s basically 2 options:

  1. Defer the referral until you get more practice. Might take the momentum out of your networking approach but otherwise a safe option.
  2. Get the referral now and in case of interest from HR discuss with them directly a timeline that works best for you. This option has the advantage that you’re working towards a more tangible goal.

In my case, I was invited by McKinsey and asked for 8 weeks extra time. No problem at all since recruiting is on a rolling basis and it makes no difference to consulting firms when they interview you. Hence, I would recommend option #2.

However, best is to discuss with your contacts directly. That‘s what alumni are there for!

Hope this helps. Best of luck!

(edited)

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Daisy on Jan 16, 2022

Thank you!

Originally answered question:

Networking Question

Ashwin
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Content Creator
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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Originally answered question:

Questions about networking

Ian
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replied on Jan 16, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Daisy,

First of all, nice work! You're networking and preparing at the same time which is exactly how to do it. Additionally, it sounds like you're networking effectively - well done!

My strong advice is to strike while the iron is hot. Life is about timing - if they are interested in you now and will refer you, you need to followup in a timely manner. If you said you will send them the CV+Cover Letter next week, do so. Otherwise, you will appear to them as lazy/dis-organized, etc.

Ultimately, the process does take a while so you likely have a few weeks at a minimum to get ready. Additionally, you can always delay the interview itself - when they reach out to schedule you can ask for 1-2 months to fully prepare.

Well done and good luck!

 

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Daisy on Jan 16, 2022

Thanks I will do it!

Originally answered question:

Questions about networking

Stephan
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replied on Jan 16, 2022
Former BCG Con and political advisor here to help you crack the case (MBB, Europe & MidEast, non-business backgrounds)

Hi Daisy,

you are doing a great job getting both the networking and the case preparation right here :)

I would also recommend you to take the referral straight away, as the follow up and handling through HR will take some time, and you have additional flexibility when scheduling the interview.

However, you were talking about ‘Alumni’ - if you mean people who already left the company you are applying to, I would advise you to get a referral from an active consultant within the company (difference) who actually knows you and is not just an accidental LinkedIn connection (big difference) to make the referral more real and effective.

Best

Stephan

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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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Originally answered question:

Networking at Consulting Event Days

Cristian
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replied on Sep 14, 2022
Top McK Coach|Public & Verifiable success rates|Honest feedback: no sugar-coating|Success stories ➨ tinyurl.com/43rkxa8f

Hi there, 

These sort of events are great opportunities to learn more about the respective firms and the consultant life. 

To make the most out of it, I recommend the following:

  • Research the firm and any potential roles that you're interested in before the event. This way your questions can be more targeted
  • Don't over-prepare in terms of coming up with ‘smart’ questions at home. Instead, listen actively when discussing with the consultants, and the questions will naturally pop in your head
  • Be curious. Don't see them as gatekeeper, but as more senior fellow colleagues who are doing already for a few years what you are planning on just starting doing. 
  • Remember that at the end of the day the consultants who show up at these events also want to unwind and have a good time. So don't ask questions that are unnecessarily difficult or bringing the mood down, e.g., what was the hardest moment of your career / what was your biggest disappointment.

And as a last point, there's no need to network with the consultants on Linkedin before the event. It makes more sense to do it afterwards once you actually met them in person.

Best,

Cristian

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Originally answered question:

Networking at Consulting Event Days

Dennis
Expert
replied on Sep 17, 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

I agree with the previous answers so no need to repeat here. 

I just want to additionally point out that such networking day is obviously a recruiting tool used by consulting firms. So while the atmosphere is meant to be “relaxed and informal”, don't forget that you are still being tested

This ranges from your ability to carry conversations, the kinds of questions you ask, how you interact with different seniority levels and other candidates at the event to how you eat your meal. The HR recruiting team will usually collect feedback (e.g. consultants' impressions) on each candidate after the event.

The consultants at the event also know that each candidate will try to shine and wants to get a referral from them of course. The best way to get there, in my experience, is to be as authentic and genuine as possible while remaining professional. Give them the chance to get to know you as a person and try to refrain from dropping “pitches” that might come across as rehearsed.

On the flipside, you should also use this as your chance to “test” the firm. Do you like what you see in terms of company culture and chemistry? Can you envision working with the people you meet?

Best of luck and enjoy the experience

 

 

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Originally answered question:

Questions about networking

Pedro
Expert
replied on Jan 16, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

You should take the opportunities as they come. So if someone want to refer you, you should accept it. Don't risk postponing / turning down and then not having one when you need it.

The fact is that you can defer your first interview, so when they reach out regarding scheduling, ask for a timeline that suits you. It won't be a problem.

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Daisy on Jan 16, 2022

Thanks!

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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10
Originally answered question:

Networking Question

Lucie
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 04, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & 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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(edited)

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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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7
Réka
Expert
updated an answer on Jun 03, 2020
3+ years McKinsey consulting experience|Oxford MBA|On a break

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.

Originally answered question:

Networking Question

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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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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5
Originally answered question:

Networking from a target school?

Florian
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replied on May 10, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

You want to differentiate yourself in a pool of candidates with similar backgrounds, successes, grades, work experience, etc.

Most people from your school have a similar profile. To stand out, networking will help you to get your foot in the door more easily. Ian's chart (love it btw - first time I am seeing data on that) brings the point home.

Network with intention!

The outcome of your networking should be one or several referrals, the more senior the better.

All the best!

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 08, 2020

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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4
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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4
Robert
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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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Originally answered question:

Networking from a target school?

Udayan
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replied on May 09, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

 

Great question! In general yes you do not need to network as hard at a target school because the process is very standardized. However, going to events, showing up at discussions and generally building a relationship with the on campus ambassadors will give you a great shot at being invited to interview. Being at a target school does not guarantee an interview, so you want to show enthusiasm and desire to be at the firm and that will help tremendously with scoring an invite. It will also help with getting many insider tips on how to prepare for the various rounds. In short networking will only help you with the interview process if done right.

 

Best,

Udayan

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Axel
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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
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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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Originally answered question:

Tips for networking events with MBB?

Benjamin
Expert
replied on Oct 03, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework

Hi,
As said by Vlad, there are several format of event possible. In any case I recommand you to behave as a contributor and not a spectator. You are here to learn about the firm and give them the will to call you for an interview. So you'll find below a listf of the tips I used back in time :

- Behaviour : somehow candidate are always considered on how they would do in client facing situtation. Be open, willing to discuss. If you are at a networking event, its to meet people, so don't hesitate to engage conversation with anybody from the firm by simply introducing yourslef or asking question to the person based on his own intro.

- Ideas : don't hesitate to share your ideas, participate in a case resolution, and stay as structured as possible in your arguments. In case you are involved in a group discussion, leverage as much as possible elements brought by others to show your ability to work / act in

Hope this will help

Best

Benjamin

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Originally answered question:

Tips for networking events with MBB?

Anonymous replied on Oct 02, 2018

The candidates I remember are always the ones I could have good conversations with - not the ones with impressive experiences or who tried to "put on a show". You have the opportunity to leave feedback on any recruits after, and have done so on 1 or 2 occassions - but this doesn't guarantee an interview unless it comes from a Principal/Partner

Some tips:

1) Try find someone you might have something in common with - might be difficult as you may not get bios in advance but a shared interest, passion, or background can be a bighelp in establishing a strong relationship

2) Don't focus on your grades, work experience or leadership during conversation - unless asked

3) If possible, try speak to more senior people - a referral from a partner counts much more than one from an associate

4) ask questions about them and their experiences in consulting / at their firm, not about the firm itself- people would much rather talk about themselves than details about their employer -- for example, you could ask about their experience if they ever did a transfer or long haul project, but don't ask about industries where the firm is growing the fastest.

Finally, a big part of these events if for you to actually learn more about the firms! Try get a real feel for the different firms and the people, and which ones you like best. This will serve two purposes: firstly, it will give you something good to say during the interviews to the "why McK/BCG/Bain?" question. Secondly, if you end up being in the fortunate position of receiving multiple offers, it will help you make a decision based on where is the best fit for you!

Good luck and don't stress!

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2
Antonello
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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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Originally answered question:

Tips for networking events with MBB?

Guennael
Expert
replied on Oct 02, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

3 things come to mind:

1. Come early / leave late -> these are the quiet times, when it is easiest to get quality 1on1 time

2. Ask good, open questions & listen intently -> a good question is one that will make me think and/or that will get me excited. So yes, you have to figure out what I'm passionate about. Good conversationalists are the ones asking questions and letting their interlocutors talk all the time

3. Have a compelling story -> I will never forget that candidate who ended up in a pond counting toads because one of this friends knew he was pursuing a PhD of some kind and asked for help on a statistics-heavy question

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Anonymous on Oct 02, 2018

Wow that #3 sounds like a genuinely memorable story indeed!

Originally answered question:

Networking Tips

Sofia
Expert
replied on Aug 20, 2021
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach

Hello,

Francesco said it best - I would recommend emailing the partner with a brief introduction, and try to set up a call. Definitely try to indirectly ask for a referral in the call too. You can find more advice on that in previous PrepLounge threads.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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