Referral process - still need to apply on system?

New answer on Oct 23, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 15, 2020

Hello, I would like to ask questions on referral (MBB & Big 4).

My question is:

1. If I get referred, do I need to still apply on the website (official channel)? I'm confused because I don't know whether I should apply on the website before getting referrals. I was thinking that maybe I can apply first, and try to find referrals at the same time.

2. Also, if I have already applied on website before the referral, does it mean the referral will not work and they can't get the referral bonus?

3. Does consulting firm usually require referral on system? Or, simply "forwarding the email to HR" would also do? Currently, my referrals at MBB mentioned they will forward my CV, but none mentioned about endorsing me through the system.

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 15, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


1. No, or the person will not get the referral bonus

2. Indeed

3. Probably depending on the case, but nothing you should worry about or lose time thinking of -at the end, they will know how this SOP works-.

Hope it helps!



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Anonymous replied on Apr 30, 2020

Dear A,

Mostly it depends on the company. So in some cases direct referral and e-mail to HR works good, and you don't need to apply, in other - you still need to apply over the web page, but it is essential that you also identify your referral contact in your application, cover letter and in the system (field: who do you know in the company).

Hope, it helps.


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 17, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

1) No

2) Yes

3) Yes

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updated an answer on Feb 15, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

Different office might have slightly different procedure.
1. In APAC office, some might asked referred applicants to fill in the details online to add as supplement to the data provided throught the referral system. This is done AFTER the referral is made.

2. Yes, it won't count for the person who refers you. Your profile will get an enhanced opportunity still as referral means your profile is being put at priority pipeline.

3. Yes, referrals are done through the internal system, with the exception of decision makers as your primary supporter (Partner / Sr. Partner)

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,


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replied on Feb 15, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1) No, moreover, if you apply before - referral will not work

2) Yes. At least the person who refers you will not get any money. However, it can increase your chances (if there was no reject by that moment)

3) Yes, it should go through the system, unless is the partner who is referring you


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replied on Oct 23, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Typically the person that gives you a referral will do the forwarding internally. No need to apply though the system - but why don't you double check with them?

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 23, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi A,

Whether the application is needed or not, it depends on the particular office and also on the urgency of the requirement. There have been cases where for the origin requirement the application part was waved off. However, 99% of the time companies do need a formal application database, so you have to submit the application.

The only difference is what's the order in which these things happen. So, either of two things can happen, when you are going with the referral. The first option is - you have been referred by someone in the company just with the help of your CV. The recruiter goes to the CV and the recruiter reaches you with the links, if your application and CV are impressive, why don't you put a formal application. So, the process starts from there.

The other option, the person who is referring to you, he himself says: "Why don't you go on the general website and apply". and once you have applied, let me know whatever the application reference numbers, I will follow up with the recruiter.

Either of these things can happen, you should get it clarified with the person that is referring you on how it is going to happen.

In anyways, 2 important stakeholders here:
1) the person who is going to refer you
2) recruiter.

So be in close contact with them and don't take any steps without them knowing.


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Anonymous replied on Jun 30, 2020

1) Usually for referral you should ask for referral first before you check whether you still need to apply online or not. Companies might do it differently regarding to whether a follow-up application is still needed or not, but if you apply first then you cannot be counted as referred.
2) They cannot get referral bonus
3) No it is not always required via system, it varies by company/office.



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 16, 2020
McKinsey | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

1.3. You will receive guidance from HR after the referral.
2. I would discuss with your contact whether withdrawing the application on the website.


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Clara gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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