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Rank pre-MBA employers for max chances at MBB?

MBB
New answer on Jun 03, 2023
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 02, 2023

What pre-MBA employers give max chances at MBB, excluding things like PE, IB, previous strat consulting etc.

Is it Big 4, military, Fortune 500…?

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Cristian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 02, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

This is a very smart question. The answer is also highly subjective, as you might expect. 

Yes, brand counts. And whichever has the strongest brand will help you the most. It's not so much the industry that matters, but rather the positioning of your employer within that industry (the market leader will always have a better reputation and that will help your own reputation by extension). 

But what matters more is the role that you have there and the skills that you develop. At the end of the day, that's what consulting firms are most interested in. 

And last but not least, it matters how you position your story in your application (especially in the CV). Somebody with mediocre experience but a great CV is more likely to pass screening than somebody with great brands in their experience but a poorly written CV. 

You can find more guidance on the application process also in the following article:

Best,
Cristian 

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Ian
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replied on Jun 03, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

It's going to be a balance here.

You need to balance:

  1. Brand/name
  2. Role itself
  3. Industry
  4. Network
  5. Growth

For example, I worked at a no-name IT company called Appian. But I was able to get promoted 2 times in 3 years, I was technically a “consultant” so my role worked for MBB, and I got a ton of exposure and personal development.

Appin was a negative for #1 Brand and #4 Network. But it was incredible for #2 Role, #3 Industry and #5 growth.

You need to find a balance.

Most importantly make sure the role/work you're doing has consulting-based skills.

It doesn't matter to MBB if you worked at the best consultancy in the world but you were a data-entry person or an executive assistant.

Make sense?

Another note: Don't rank these employers now. Apply to all of them. See where the cards land. Maybe you only have 1 offer. Maybe you have 2. Regardless, make your decision then…not now…because the ones you grace with choosing might not choose you!

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 03, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: What pre-MBA employers give max chances at MBB, excluding things like PE, IB, previous strat consulting etc.

Besides those you excluded, other options are strategy positions in Fortune 500 or growth-stage startups. Additionally, if you do a top MBA and network properly, you will most likely have a chance to interview with MBB after it.

In general, you can find the common firms for your target office as follows:

  1. Look for current consultants in MBB at your target office on LinkedIn
  2. Exclude those who worked in PE, IB, strategy consulting
  3. Check the most common remaining firms
  4. Normalize for the size of the firm

Good luck!

Francesco

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Sophia
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replied on Jun 02, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Good question! Here are some thoughts:

  • Big brand names (e.g., Fortune 500) stand out on resumes
  • Any applicable experience (previous strat consulting, or specific industry experience if you are coming in as a specialist) is obviously helpful

Beyond those general things, the role and the impact you were able to generate will be much more important. Consulting firms generally look for candidates who demonstrate leadership, teamwork, quantitative aptitude, and initiative. You should also be able to demonstrate specific impact that you made. Any role that allows you to develop and demonstrate those will be good. So, for instance, if you worked at a small start-up but had a senior leadership position there and were able to really ramp up their business, that will not necessarily look  worse than work at a Fortune 500. It's really more about what you did at the company than the company name.

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Benjamin
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updated an answer on Jun 02, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hello,

Cristian has already made some great points. In addition, I'll add abit more elaboration on the role aspect, based on my experience as an interviewer and screener previously at BCG.

Assuming you are working at a top player/brand in the industry/field, then which role you are working at does make a difference. In essence, the profile is stronger if you are working at the roles which are recognized as being along the lines of the following:

  • Elite
  • Hard to get
  • Roles where you are the top dog
  • Most “prestigious” roles within that field

To give a couple of examples, I do think there is a perceived difference in the following contrasting roles:

  • IB: M&A or front office; vs back office
  • FMCG: Brand; vs e.g. finance
  • Law: Lawyer; vs paralegal
  • Military: Special Forces; vs transportation

I will caveat 2 things: 

  1. This is not to belittle support roles or the other wide variety of roles that exist - they of course play an essential role
  2. This is not to say that if you didn't work at a role like that you never stand a chance

Rather, consulting firms are looking for a demonstrated track record of excellence and also aptitude - both of which are implied if you have managed to secure and thrive in a role that is recognized/perceived as prestigious.

As one final elaboration - many of the top US MBA schools operate on this way of thinking as well, which is to my mind argument by association

  • MBA programs are always looking to create diversity in each class
  • If you look at the military profiles in top US MBA programs, it is not uncommon that you will Navy SEALs/Special Forces/Rangers there, vs in T2 or T3 MBA programs

All the best!

(edited)

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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