Good question! First of all, great of you to start networking and already getting offers for referrals. Definitely the way to go!
Your referees have a strong interest that you’re prepared well in case you get invited to an interview. Hence, I would discuss with them directly the level of your case preparation.
There’s basically 2 options:
- Defer the referral until you get more practice. Might take the momentum out of your networking approach but otherwise a safe option.
- Get the referral now and in case of interest from HR discuss with them directly a timeline that works best for you. This option has the advantage that you’re working towards a more tangible goal.
In my case, I was invited by McKinsey and asked for 8 weeks extra time. No problem at all since recruiting is on a rolling basis and it makes no difference to consulting firms when they interview you. Hence, I would recommend option #2.
However, best is to discuss with your contacts directly. That‘s what alumni are there for!
Hope this helps. Best of luck!