Get Active in Our Amazing Community of Over 455,000 Peers!

Schedule mock interviews on the Meeting Board, join the latest community discussions in our Consulting Q&A and find like-minded Case Partners to connect and practice with!

Question about McKinsey application

Application application process McKinsey Online Application Referral
New answer on Jul 31, 2023
5 Answers
667 Views
Aaron asked on Apr 30, 2023

Hello!
 

I've asked this to a couple coaches already but I'm looking for some more reassurance and clarity.


I have a PhD in chemistry and 10 years of experience across a few different industries.  

5 years in scientific instrumentation sales.
3 years teaching one class per week at UCLA.  
1 year full time scientist at UCLA.
4 years at three different startups.

Neither of my degrees are from target schools and my GPA isn’t stellar.  PhD GPA is okay at 3.4 (graduated 2013).  Undergrad GPA is dreadful at 2.9, however I graduated in 2006.  For reference, I grew up in one of the poorest parts of the US with horrible secondary school education, so it took me a long time to figure things out.

I was able to obtain a McKinsey referral and applied (US) this past Friday (April 28).  The McKinsey application asks for most recent degree and undergrad degree.  I put both and the field for GPA is required so I put that as well.

A few questions:

1/ Are there any automatic filters that would filter out my application?

2/ Should I be worried about my undergrad GPA given I graduated 17 years ago?

3/ It is worth withdrawing my McKinsey application and resubmitting without my undergrad degree on there?  Would this somehow flag me or remove my referral?


I’ll also be applying to others but this is my first referral, and McKinsey is my goal.

 

Bonus question:  I've been looking at some of the non-MBB firms.  Are there no generalist positions?  It seems that they are all extremely specific and nothing I'd be qualified for and/or interested in.

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 01, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Aaron,

1) Are there any automatic filters that would filter out my application?

Not sure if your specific office has filters in place. However, the answer doesn’t really matter as you cannot do anything about it in any case.

2) Should I be worried about my undergrad GPA given I graduated 17 years ago?

Same as before - you cannot change your GPA and if they ask for it, you have to provide it. So I would just not focus on this point and instead be sure you have crafted the best possible CV.

3) It is worth withdrawing my McKinsey application and resubmitting without my undergrad degree on there?  Would this somehow flag me or remove my referral?

If they do require the GPA in the application, I see no benefit in withdrawing your application. You will have to provide it again in the new one.

4) I've been looking at some of the non-MBB firms.  Are there no generalist positions?  It seems that they are all extremely specific and nothing I'd be qualified for and/or interested in.

Non-MBB firms do have generalist positions as well. Please note that in most cases you will still join in a post-MBA position if you have not worked in consulting before even if you have several years of experience, which means that most of your current experience won’t be recognized.

Good luck!

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2023
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

I would be surprised if any employer (consulting firm or other) would care about your undergrad GPA from 17 years ago. Your professional experience from the last 5 years is probably what matters most. There you need to show that you bring along something relevant for consulting firms.

Since you would come in as an experienced hire, the likelihood of firms looking for industry or functional experts is higher compared to campus recruiting. You typically start as a generalist in consulting and then start to specialize in an area come project manager level. But with your tenure of work experience, you wouldn't really add enough value if you were hired as a generalist like any recent graduate. That's probably also why you don't find that many generalist positions for experienced hires.

Best of luck

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 01, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

HI there,

Congrats on the referral and good luck with the application!

Look, my main advice is to no worry about that which you cannot control. Influence the factors that matter and that can increase your chances of success.

1/ Are there any automatic filters that would filter out my application?

In many instances yes (applying via undergrad, masters, etc.). Given this was almost 2 decades ago, you might be ago (I'm assuming there's a lot of experience on your profile between then and now)

2/ Should I be worried about my undergrad GPA given I graduated 17 years ago?

No. Because…worrying does literally nothing. (But, see answer above for more detail)

3/ It is worth withdrawing my McKinsey application and resubmitting without my undergrad degree on there?  Would this somehow flag me or remove my referral?
Please don't! You have your referral and you've applied. Just let the die land now. You'd have to include your undergrad degree anyway.

I’ll also be applying to others but this is my first referral, and McKinsey is my goal.

Good to hear you're applying to others. Please do! Of course McKinsey is your goal. The Navy Seals is a military cadet's goal…but the pass rate is single digits.

Love that you're shooting for the stars, but remember everyone wants the #1 spot, so make sure you set expectations as well.

 

Bonus question:  I've been looking at some of the non-MBB firms.  Are there no generalist positions?  It seems that they are all extremely specific and nothing I'd be qualified for and/or interested in.

Yes there are! The Big4 all have generalist positions and do many of the others (LEK, Kearney, etc.)

Was this answer helpful?
Sophia
Expert
replied on Apr 30, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

Congratulations on getting a referral, that's excellent news! I think we chatted a bit about your situation already, but just in case it helps clarify:

1/ Are there any automatic filters that would filter out my application?

No - you would be coming in as an experienced hire, so recruiters are going to be much more interested in your industry experience than your GPA. There are no guarantees and they may still filter out your application for other reasons, but I don't think a low undergrad GPA from 17 years ago will matter much.

2/ Should I be worried about my undergrad GPA given I graduated 17 years ago?

No, mostly for the same reasons as above. You've gone on to secure jobs with that GPA already, right? In any case, there's no use worrying about it in the sense that you can't change it at this point, and if McK asks for it in the application, you should provide it.

3/ It is worth withdrawing my McKinsey application and resubmitting without my undergrad degree on there?  Would this somehow flag me or remove my referral?
I don't think this is worth doing - as I mentioned, if they specifically ask for undergrad degree and GPA, you should provide it, but I suspect for someone with your profile it's more of a formality. Including your undergrad degree and GPA is standard practice, so not having it at all would be a bigger red flag than including it, regardless of how low the GPA is, in my opinion. 

Bonus question:  I've been looking at some of the non-MBB firms.  Are there no generalist positions?  It seems that they are all extremely specific and nothing I'd be qualified for and/or interested in.

This is going to be very firm- and office-specific. I would network with people in the offices you are interested in to figure it out.

Was this answer helpful?
Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 31, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach
Was this answer helpful?
Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching
4,537
Meetings
46,784
Q&A Upvotes
397
Awards
5.0
1624 Reviews
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely
You are a true consultant! Thank you for consulting us on how to make PrepLounge even better!