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Off cycle experienced hiring

Anonymous A asked on Apr 09, 2019

Hi All,

I am a 3rd year investment banking analyst in London and am trying to get interviews in non-MBB firms (before applying to MBBs via referrals) to hedge my bets and get some practice in ‘real’ conditions.

Unfortunately I keep getting told that they are not hiring or no response at all after reaching out via linkedin or email. What is the best way to obtain interviews without referrals in your experience?

With the exception of Inner Square who are the headhunters for strat consulting?

Does anyone know any headhunting firms in Dubai?

Also, for experienced hires coming in as senior associates or Junior consultants, is it normal to take the PST or equivalent in London?

Thanks a lot!

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updated her answer on Apr 10, 2019
McKinsey & Company | Ex-Google | Ex-Accenture | Interviewee/Interviewer-Led | Complimentary Extensive Prep Materials
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Awesome to know that you are considering a career switch from IB to MC and I'm sure many firms will be keen in your profile! To answer your first and last question:

1. Obtaining interviews without referrals would be slightly more challenging as an experienced hire, however, both MBB and non-MBBs have several other recruitment channels which include: workshops, target-specific talks and networking sessions, hackathons, etc. You can find out about these opportunities by following their social media pages, and some of the company's KOLs / recruiters.

2. It could also be that you applied during an off-peak period. There are several boutique consultancies and large consultancies with an "on-demand hiring model", and they vary their hiring demands based on their project flow throughout the year. Hence, do continue to apply and reach out to such companies!

3. To my knowledge, experienced hires will still have to take the PST for McKinsey, and PST-equivalent for other MBBs, irregardless of whether they enter as a senior associate or junior consultant. However, in special cases (e.g. solid referrals, office-specific requirements etc.), you may not be required to take the test. It would still be good to prepare for it in advance!

Regarding your second and third question, I am not too familiar regarding the headhunting scene for strategy & management consulting. Hopefully, someone who is familiar with this process will shed some light!

All the best! :)


Thank you Regine, that is very helpful! — Rob on Apr 10, 2019

Vlad replied on Apr 10, 2019
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Let's make it a bit more clear:

  1. 3 years is not considered as an experienced hire in a full sense of this word. You'll probably get a fellow associate role (McKinsey scale). For BCG the requirements are even more strict. Tier 2,3 companies have their own scale that varies case by case
  2. For you, the implication is that your recruiting will still depend on the cycle and the office demand in consultants. (If you had 4-6 years of experiences, you'd be treated as an experienced hire and the recruiting would be less volatile).
  3. There are several ways to obtain interviews without referrals:
  • Applying with a strong resume
  • Applying to the office with less demand
  • Participating in company events - quite often they invite directly for the interview


Thank you Vlad! — Rob on Apr 10, 2019

Thank you Vlad! Do you know anything about which Headhunters could be of help in London and Dubai? — Rob on Apr 10, 2019

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