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On office transfer

New answer on Apr 17, 2020
8 Answers
1.6 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 25, 2020

How hard is it to make an office transfer? I am considering applying for Middle East office but want to work in west coast in the future. But I heard that it is fairly hard to transfer from ME office (especially for tier 2). So applying for European offices might be better? (But I only have ME and Asia experience)

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Anonymous replied on Feb 26, 2020

Hey Anonym,

In my career I had two transfers:

  1. From the Financial Services practice to Automotive within the same region
  2. From Munich to Dubai office

I need to say that transfers are a pretty tricky thing and require a lot of sensitive political skills.

Different companies offer three types of transfers:

  1. Temporary project assignment abroad (for the duration of the project)
  2. Short-term office exchange programms (usually between 3 and 12 months depending on the company)
  3. Permanent office transfer

All of them are different in terms of difficulty to get. While project assignments abroad are quite common and easy to get, permanent office transfers are very challenging and require hard work from your end and a bit of luck.

In any way you would need the support of your mentor, the staffing manager in your region as well as partner in the targeted office, who will push your transfer.

If you want to live on the west coast or Europe why don't you apply directly there?

If you need any help, just drop me a PM.

Happy to share my experience.



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Anonymous A on Feb 26, 2020

Work Permit Issue mostly. Probably go for ME office

Anonymous on Feb 26, 2020

Working Visa is just a matter of money. What really matters - is the willingness of the local partner to lobby your transfer from the domestic office! And it could be really nasty political game ;)

replied on Feb 26, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

There are several things to take into account regarding office transfers in MBB firms:

  1. Dynamics between offices: if you are transferring from less competitive office to the more competitive ones, it will be an uphill battle, vice versa is much easier
  2. Performance: one needs to be a strong or very strong, even distinctive performer to apply for transfers
  3. Network with the destination office leadership: start getting acquainted 1-2 years before you decide to apply.

Europe would typically be a good stepping stone for West Coast, better than APAC and ME most of the time.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,

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Anonymous A on Feb 26, 2020

Why better stepping stone? Similar projects?

Content Creator
replied on Feb 25, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


It strongly depends on the office. In BCG there is a structured program called "Associate abroad" that allows you to do a transfer for one year (that you can easily transform into a permanent transfer). Anyway bear in mind that you can not choose an office, but you have to match your preferences with the offices available at that time (but if you want to work in USA that's not a big issue).

To have an idea about other companies, consider that the smaller is the company, fewer will be the possibilities to have the desired transfer.


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Anonymous A on Feb 25, 2020

Transfer via "Associate abroad" even as a post-MBA hire?

Content Creator
replied on Apr 17, 2020
150+ interviews | 6+ years experience | Bain, Kearney & Accenture | Exited startup| London Business School

At Kearney transferring into the ME and doing temporary projects abroad are pretty standard. As other people mentioned it is specific to performance/skills, network, and timing. There is a personal card to play if the company does not want you to go.

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

You absolutely can. You do generally have to wait at least a year, however, and it's of course dependent on 1) The relationships you develop 2) How good you are and 3) The demand at that time

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 25, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

it is possible, but I recommend to start developing strong relationships with seniors in the target office (try to be staffed there at least once). Another important KP is of course your performances.

Best, Antonello

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 25, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


You can perfectly request it, but it´s not guaranteed. Depends on multiple factors:

  • Performance
  • Target office -some are totally impossible, such as Singapore, and others are very demanded, such as NYC or London-.
  • Relationship with the target office, since someone needs to "sponsor" your move
  • VISAs
  • Being an expert on a topic that is highly valued in this office
  • etc

This said, if working in Europe is really a priority for you, I would aim at those ones.

Hope it helps!



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Anonymous A on Feb 25, 2020

Why Singapore is impossible?

replied on Feb 25, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


You can request a transfer basis of family reasons. However, there is 0 guarantee that they'll do that. The ways to increase the chances:

  • Being a Top Performer
  • Being in good relationships with some Tenured Director locally who will support you
  • Having someone in that country's office who will support your transition

In your case, you can't apply to European offices if you don't have work permit


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