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Partner Referral

Application application process interview process MBB networking Referral referrals
New answer on Apr 05, 2024
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 09, 2019

Hello. I read here the higher the position of the referral person the better opportunity of interview invitation. I know I must only wait and see, but I wonder: if I have a MBB partner recommend me in the system is there very high chance of interview? My background is very not traditional but the partner I speak with says I have very high potential and when I want to apply they will recommend me which makes me hope. I try to network with other firms too because I know getting interviews is very hard. I try to be confident but not to get my hopes too very high because I know I may not get interview offers. So I just wonder. Thank you.

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replied on Apr 05, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

A referral is just a door opener such that the recruiting team will look through your application more thoroughly. Depending on the seniority, tenure and advocacy of the person referring you, you have a better chance of getting a first round interview. The more senior (manager level and above) the person referring you is, the better. The longer the tenure of that person with the firm is, the better. 

The reason is that such voices carry more weight than referrals coming from super junior or brand new people. They typically know the HR folks better and have been involved in recruiting activities for a while so it is usually assumed that they have a good grasp of what types of candidates with which sets of qualifications the firm needs. But any referral is better than no referral.

Ideally, you get a referral from someone from the same office (or same country) you are applying to. But again, a referral from someone within the same firm but different country organization is still better than no referral.

A direct rejection after the CV screening stage can still happen - even with a referral. In that case the HR team usually provides some feedback to the person having given the referral. So you should follow up with them to better understand the rationale in case that happens. On the flipside, you can still get an interview invite when you just apply online without a referral - the probability is just lower on average, especially when your CV is not stellar.

And as always, factors such as economic conditions and headcount/budget planning of the individual firm also matter significantly in these decisions - but they are not within your control.


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replied on Jan 09, 2019
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

If a partner recommends you internally, the chances are very high. At least 80% I would say. In fact the only problematic scenario I could think of is if you could not be employed for firm policy reasons (e.g., I know of a son of a McKinsey Senior Partner who could not apply to McKinsey since it is internally prohibited (not sure whether it is global or office specific though)).

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous replied on May 13, 2020


I will try to explain how it works. Generally, getting a “partner referral” brings you to the pole position for the interview. You may compare it to “skipping the line for business class” at the airport.

Feel free to ask any further questions


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replied on Jan 09, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Yes - if a Partner truly recommends you, your odds of getting an interview are very high indeed. Make sure you start prepping for the case interview also, it takes a long time to really feel confident doing cases.

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replied on Jan 09, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Chances are pretty high with any consultant, but especially when it is the partner.


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Dennis gave the best answer


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Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe
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