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Expert with best answer

Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

260 Meetings

22,527 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

6

Partner wants me to join her industry team. What if I don't want to?

Hello,

Background: I'm breaking into Consulting. A few days ago I had a networking call with a MBB partner. She seemed very interested in having me join her industry-specific team. While it was great networking with her, I am not interested in joining her team and would rather start as a generalist. I am simply not interested in the industry she covers.

My question: Is it worth telling this partner I would rather start as a generalist and not on her team? If it's not worth it, then how to navigate starting as a generalist?

I don't want to risk offending her and getting my application outright rejected... however I'm also simply not interested in the industry she covers.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks!

Hello,

Background: I'm breaking into Consulting. A few days ago I had a networking call with a MBB partner. She seemed very interested in having me join her industry-specific team. While it was great networking with her, I am not interested in joining her team and would rather start as a generalist. I am simply not interested in the industry she covers.

My question: Is it worth telling this partner I would rather start as a generalist and not on her team? If it's not worth it, then how to navigate starting as a generalist?

I don't want to risk offending her and getting my application outright rejected... however I'm also simply not interested in the industry she covers.

Any advice appreciated. Thanks!

6 answers

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

260 Meetings

22,527 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi there,

A bit of a pandora's box here isn't it!

Ultimately, you should never do something solely because others have guilted you into it. If you won't be happy in her team, you shouldn't be there. By the way, this isn't just treating yourself right, it's treating her right by not wasting her time with an employee who won't be happy and therefore won't perform well!

I would be upfront with her. Say you really enjoyed the chat and hope to be able to work with her, but think it's too early in your career to specialize.

Remember, most people at this level actually appreciate directness and not being played. I remember when, as a 22 year old just 1 year into my first job, I told the Director 3 levels above me "no" regarding a transfer. I was convinced he would hate me for it. In fact, when I saw him again a few months later he said "Ian, I'm glad you were so frank with me. You saved a lot of people a lot of time and energy and that took guts. I'm glad you said no"

Hi there,

A bit of a pandora's box here isn't it!

Ultimately, you should never do something solely because others have guilted you into it. If you won't be happy in her team, you shouldn't be there. By the way, this isn't just treating yourself right, it's treating her right by not wasting her time with an employee who won't be happy and therefore won't perform well!

I would be upfront with her. Say you really enjoyed the chat and hope to be able to work with her, but think it's too early in your career to specialize.

Remember, most people at this level actually appreciate directness and not being played. I remember when, as a 22 year old just 1 year into my first job, I told the Director 3 levels above me "no" regarding a transfer. I was convinced he would hate me for it. In fact, when I saw him again a few months later he said "Ian, I'm glad you were so frank with me. You saved a lot of people a lot of time and energy and that took guts. I'm glad you said no"

Book a coaching with Gaurav

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Hey there!

The best thing will be, to be honest with her. Explain to her in a very polite way your opinion, that you are not interested in the specific sphere and that it will not be efficient if you join her team. It's totally fine and it will not hinder your application process in any way.

If you have any other doubts - feel free to reach out!

GB

Hey there!

The best thing will be, to be honest with her. Explain to her in a very polite way your opinion, that you are not interested in the specific sphere and that it will not be efficient if you join her team. It's totally fine and it will not hinder your application process in any way.

If you have any other doubts - feel free to reach out!

GB

Book a coaching with Denis

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1,956 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

My honest approach - commit to her if that secures you a referral. To be super honest, no one expects you to fully commit to an industry practice after you join. MBB is specifically geared towards more generalist role, i.e. hopping from one practice to another. Getting out of your comfort zone is part of the game - the entire model would not work if people only stuck to their predetermined notions of what they find good or not. In my personal case, I am super glad that Bain did not always listen to or followed my preferences - learned so much and met awesome people.

What is the harm saying yes to her? Best case, join the respective MBB firm, do a case or two with her, then move on to the next practice. Standard practice within MBB. Also, dont forget that partners are in constant selling mode, their job is to make you feel comfy and develop a good relationship with you. There is a good chance that person will not even remeber in a couple of months from now, nor doesnt even care.

Be pragmatic and do whatever you have to to get the offer - all the rest is something you will discuss with your PD Advisor or Mentor anyhow 24/7.

My honest approach - commit to her if that secures you a referral. To be super honest, no one expects you to fully commit to an industry practice after you join. MBB is specifically geared towards more generalist role, i.e. hopping from one practice to another. Getting out of your comfort zone is part of the game - the entire model would not work if people only stuck to their predetermined notions of what they find good or not. In my personal case, I am super glad that Bain did not always listen to or followed my preferences - learned so much and met awesome people.

What is the harm saying yes to her? Best case, join the respective MBB firm, do a case or two with her, then move on to the next practice. Standard practice within MBB. Also, dont forget that partners are in constant selling mode, their job is to make you feel comfy and develop a good relationship with you. There is a good chance that person will not even remeber in a couple of months from now, nor doesnt even care.

Be pragmatic and do whatever you have to to get the offer - all the rest is something you will discuss with your PD Advisor or Mentor anyhow 24/7.

Book a coaching with Francesco

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3,402 Meetings

15,341 Q&A Upvotes

USD 449 / Coaching

Hi there,

Would joining the partner team imply that you could not work in other sectors? If so, I can’t see reasons to join that particular team if not interesting for you.

You can politely thank her for her time and asks if she thinks it would also be possible to join as a generalist at this stage, as, although industry XYZ is interesting for you, you would like to see other sectors as well at this stage of your career.

If you deliver in this way I believe there should not be issues.

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

Would joining the partner team imply that you could not work in other sectors? If so, I can’t see reasons to join that particular team if not interesting for you.

You can politely thank her for her time and asks if she thinks it would also be possible to join as a generalist at this stage, as, although industry XYZ is interesting for you, you would like to see other sectors as well at this stage of your career.

If you deliver in this way I believe there should not be issues.

Best,

Francesco

Book a coaching with Florian

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USD 189 / Coaching

Hey there,

If you are not willing to step on peoples' toes in consulting or create your own boundaries and look after yourself, no one else will and you will have a hard time there.

If you don't want to work in that practice from the beginning be honest about it and tell her. She will understand and no harm will be done. In fact, if partners like your work and performance, they will constantly try to get you to work with them, so YOU got to be selective with who you would like to work.

Change your mindset. :-)

Cheers,

Florian

Hey there,

If you are not willing to step on peoples' toes in consulting or create your own boundaries and look after yourself, no one else will and you will have a hard time there.

If you don't want to work in that practice from the beginning be honest about it and tell her. She will understand and no harm will be done. In fact, if partners like your work and performance, they will constantly try to get you to work with them, so YOU got to be selective with who you would like to work.

Change your mindset. :-)

Cheers,

Florian

Book a coaching with Antonello

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USD 219 / Coaching

Hi, it depends on your profile. If you have a targeted cv for generalist paths I recommend saying it, otherwise I would leverage the opportunity

Best,
Antonello

Hi, it depends on your profile. If you have a targeted cv for generalist paths I recommend saying it, otherwise I would leverage the opportunity

Best,
Antonello

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