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Referral from Tier-2 firms

Referral tier 2 consulting
New answer on Apr 05, 2024
6 Answers
1.3 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 07, 2020

​Hello Experts,

I trust everybody is doing well.

I have been networking on LinkedIn for quite some time now and have connected with a lot of tier 2 consultants. I came to know if an individual wants to get into a Tier-2 firm, referral is not that important as compared to MBB. One can easily get into the firm by applying directly even though they require a work permit. ​

I want to know your thoughts on this. Is it ok to apply directly because I need a work permit (London and Singapore) and I do not want to get rejected. I know these two locations are super competitive and that is why I want to know your thoughts. Should I apply directly or network and try to get a referral?

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 05, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

A referral is just a door opener such that the recruiting team will look through your application more thoroughly. Depending on the seniority, tenure and advocacy of the person referring you, you have a better chance of getting a first round interview. The more senior the person referring you is, the better. The longer the tenure of that person with the firm is, the better.

The reason is that such voices carry more weight than referrals coming from super junior or brand new people. They typically know the HR folks better and have been involved in recruiting activities for a while so it is usually assumed that they have a good grasp of what types of candidates with which sets of qualifications the firm needs.

Ideally, you get a referral from someone from the same office (or same country) you are applying to. However, a referral from someone within the same firm but different country organization is still better than no referral.

A direct rejection after the CV screening stage can still happen - even with a referral. In that case the HR team usually provides some feedback to the person having given the referral. So you should follow up with them to better understand the rationale in case that happens. On the flipside, you can still get an interview invite when you just apply online without a referral - the probability is just lower.

And as always, factors such as economic conditions and headcount/budget planning of the individual firm also matter significantly in these decisions - but they are not within your control.


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Anonymous replied on Jul 07, 2020

Hi Anonymous

In summary - your need for a referral is linked to the strength of your CV and achievements. If you have consistently out-performed your peers and have well recognized academic and professional brands on your resume - then yes chances are you will not need a referral for tier 2 consultancies

I would suggest have an expert go through your CV and give you an honest perspective. In most cases you will still benefit from a referral but if you struggle with getting responses from consultants you can go through a third party recruiter as a lot of tier-2 consultancies use them. If you want I can advise about London recruiters and consultancies


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Anze on Jul 07, 2020

What is a third party recruiter?

Anonymous on Jul 07, 2020

An external recruiter - not employed directly by the consulting company. MBB typically do not use them but some tier 2 and boutique consultancies do

Anonymous replied on Jul 08, 2020

Dear A,

Referral will definitely maximize your chances for being invited for the interview. But referall it's not a magic ticket, so your CV and cover letter should be fine and polished.

If you need any help with resume or referral, or any further career advice, feel free to reach me out.



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Content Creator
replied on Jul 08, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous

I agree to your overall summary - a referral in tier-2 firms is less important than for MBB, since competition is usually a bit less.

At the same time, a good referral will never hurt - so to maximise your chances I'd still recommend that also for tier-2 firms (better be safe than sorry), and also important you can clarify many detailed issues (which otherwise might be hard to get information on) also easily within your network.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 08, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Yes and no.

It´s true that referrals in MBB perhaps make a bigger difference, given that competition is fierce.

However, for sure a referral is ALWAYS being to be useful, one of the most useful things! For any company.

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 28, 2021
#1 Career Coach for Aspiring, Practicing & Ex-Consultants|The Only 360° Coach - Ex-Mckinsey, Certified Coach & Recruiter


A referral can be a great instrument that helps you secure an interview invite.

However, it is not a 100% guarantee that you eventually get an offer because some points and effort must be given from your side as well.

The question is: How much do you really want to get the job? Of course, it is better to provide yourself with a referral for the targeted firm. Otherwise, you can not even get invited.

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