So I wonder how I should plan the timing of my applications. My target firms are definitely MBB, but I also plan applying to Tier2 firms like OW, S&, ATK etc. once I feel ready and well enough prepared (still a couple of expert sessions to go ;)). Does it make sense to first send out applications for Tier2 and hold back MBB for a couple of weeks, or should I send out all applications simultaneously? How long do firms take to respond anyways?
Order of applications
I believe it might make sense to adopt the following strategy:
1. Concentrate on proper preparation with excellent case partners/experts
2. Make sure your written applications (CV, cover letters, referrals) are on point!
2. Once you feel really comfortable on fit, cases and your application, apply to all Tier2 firms
3. Continue practicing cases!
4. Schedule interview days with the Tier 2 firms
5. Once T2 interviews are scheduled, apply to MBB
6. Continue practicing cases!
7. Go through T2 interviews and get used to the setting (if you focused your preparation on MBB, you will realize that interview formats and cases might be a bit different at T2 firms, but don't get irritated by that fact). Try to get at least one offer (this is a great psychological help!)
8. Schedule interview days with the MBB firms that invited you
9. Continue practicing cases!
10. Nail interviews with MBB firms and celebrate your offer(s)!
I agree with the general process mentioned by Sidi. In some countries, you won’t be available to apply such strategy though, due to the presence of deadlines for the application. In others, many second tier companies may be reactive to your application (meaning they would reply after several weeks). Thus it could make sense to define your own deadline for MBB application, in order to still meet your expected timeline for an offer.
As for the response time, it may vary from two weeks to several months, according to the company, supply and demand matching in that moment and country where you are applying.
This might sound a really brave or crazy idea, but in case you feel really prepared and are really good on it (having your MBB friends atesting it; it doesn't count if it's peers who never interviewed)... just start with the ones that you really want, because all the others are going to be a waste of time - I know a very large pool of McKinsey friends who did this and got it; only for those candidates that feel the need to raise their confidence levels or practice even more cases, then following a start with tier2 consulting firms make sense.
Hi, Agree with Francesco,
Different companies have different process time for the applications so it is very hard to plan an exact order. I recommend you grouping the companies into buckets:
- Tier 2 companies - you apply to all Tier 2 companies and follow up with the interviews. Get the feedback from your first interviews and assess fairly your performance
- Take some time to work on the feedback and improve
- Apply to Tier 1 companies. The general rule - first apply to the least favorable company and track the progress. As soon as you feel that you are doing well - start applying to the most favorable one. Don't worry about multiple offers and time constraints, once you have one big 3 offer, you can expedite the process in the company of your top choice