Physicians in Consulting.

Matt asked on Feb 22, 2018 - 6 answers

I am a British medical graduate with my postgraduate medical exams and eight years of very successful progression within medical careers. (32 y/o) I left medical careers in Sept 2017 and I am currently undertaking an MBA at Leeds University Business School.

My motivation for this move was to ultimatley to transition into consultancy and in an ideal world MBB.

Essentially, I am recieving quite conflicting advice from various sources and wondered if this community could offer advice.

- What are the prospects for medics within the likes of MBB.

- Given that I would be applying as an 'experienced hire' is the fact that my MBA is from a non-target school a significant hindrence to gaining an offer from MBB.

- Is there anybody in this community that has made a similar transition that might be able to offer some specific insight?

Many thanks



6 answers

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Best Answer
Anonymous updated his answer on Feb 22, 2018

Hey Matt,

I've already answered you privately to this question, but would like to leave my answer here because it might benefit other people in similar situations:

  • As Juan Pablo already refferred, getting into MBBs are difficult for everyone at all, even people coming from Harvard or Stanford, just because competition is huge and the number of available spots are quite reduced
  • That said, your background is not an handicap at all as far as you're able to clearly demonstrate why you want to move, as consulting firms (especially MBBs and even more especially McKinsey) do love background diversity, so as far as you're able to show business accumen and perform well in the dimension the firms test for you would get an offer (they can't care less about your previous background!) - as an example, the majority of the ex-physicians in my MBA cohort transitioned to Consulting; as another example, I just coached 2 ex-physician at LBS who got an MBB offer, and let me tell you that both of them performed much better than many people with a business background
  • Finally, for me the biggest issue with your case is that you don't come from a target University for virtually any MBB, which makes much complicated to get an interview in the first place. So, my reccommendation is for you to network as much as possible in order to try to secure as a referral. E.g., search on LinkedIn for people with a very similar profile as yours in your target companies

Btw, I don't think it's going to be any easier for you to get into a tier 2 consulting firm, as they tend to value much more a traditional background. The biggest alternative might be boutique companies specialized on healthcare or life science topics!




replied on Feb 22, 2018
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Hi Matt,

I was working on healthcare projects at Mckinsey for 2 years and I know the folks who came to McKinsey with a pure medical background.

Application process: While medical background + MBA is a good fit, non-top school may be a problem. Big 3 companies are hiring most of the guys from the Top schools. Two hints here:

One hint that may help you - try to contact your classmates who worked at Big3 companies before MBA and ask them to recommend you. For example, at Harvard, McKinsey only invites for the interviews the guys who are recommended by classmates. It's not a referral in most of the cases. Big3 HRs are just in contact with their employees pursuing an MBA.

Alternatively, you can get a referral from current employees, but that only works if you are applying full-time (does not work with the summer internship). Tip: it will be easy to connect ex-doctors and current McKinsey employees on LinkedIn and get their advice and maybe even help. More on the referral here:

Interview process: for these candidates interview process was the same as for other candidates, thus you should be well prepared for cases and fit

Work experience: While healthcare projects went for them pretty smooth, I saw the guys struggling with the other industries. Unfortunately, you have to make this transition to get exposure to other teams and partners. Thus I recommend you to have the first projects in healthcare, get all the necessary skills and then gradually and very accurately increase your exposure to other industries.

Exit opportunities:

Guys with medical and consulting background made probably the best exists from McKinsey I've heard of. Even though some of them were underperforming at McKinsey. On the contrary, if you are doing healthcare and have no medical background the exit opportunities will be limited



Many Thanks — Matt on Feb 22, 2018

Juan Pablo replied on Feb 22, 2018
I did my internship in consulting and now I am preparing actively for interviews


Hope you are doing great. Getting to MBB is indeed difficult for everybody pre MBA or post MBA. Definitely everything is going to depend on the office that you are aplying for. For example, if you are aplying to Manchester´s office, they could have several clients in the health care industry that could improve your chances of getting hire, however, graduating from a non target school, makes the process much more difficult.

I think you could have higher chanches applying to a 2 tier firm or even a consulting firm that focuses on the health care, biomedicine or some related industry. Being said that, the worst thing that could happen if you apply is being rejected and it will just make you be more prepare for the next interview.

Apply to wherever you want, just making sure that you have developed a strong resume and are prepared to answer the question ¿ Why are you switching from a medical career into a consulting ?.

Wish the best for you.

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replied on Feb 23, 2018
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Hi Matt,

I have answered to your questions below:

What are the prospects for medics within the likes of MBB.

Prospects per se are very good:

  • Medical background + strategic thinking (which you will have to show in your interview) are a good background for an invitation from a consulting company
  • Exit opportunities can easily lead you to the industry in top position major healthcare companies.

Given that I would be applying as an 'experienced hire' is the fact that my MBA is from a non-target school a significant hindrence to gaining an offer from MBB.

  • The fact you are from a non-target MBA is not an issue for an offer per se, rather for the invitation. So far that you manage to get the invitation, your MBA school will not matter much in the following steps

As Vlad and Bruno suggested, referrals could be a very important step to land the interview in the first place. You can find some additional information at the following post:

In case MBB doesn’t work out, a good backup could be companies specializes in the healthcare space, like ZS Associates and IQVIA.

Hope this helps,


Thank you. These responses are useful and very much appreciated. — Matt on Feb 23, 2018

replied on Feb 25, 2018
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One thing that I didn’t see mentioned: MBB like perseverance and grit, and doctors are recognized for spike in these areas (together with lawyers).

Besides all the good advice you received, I would definitely highlight head aspects in your interviews

Matt replied on Feb 22, 2018

Many thanks to both of you for your time. Very useful comments. I know that MBB and consulting in general is highly competitive but it is nice to know that it is a realistic ambition, albeit one which may be difficult to achieve.

Thanks again