Expert with best answer


100% Recommendation Rate

66 Meetings

17 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Rejected after final round at MBB (Bain), need advice for trying again

Anonymous A asked on Sep 17, 2018 - 2 answers

Hi everyone,

I wanted some advice on next steps. While I did not receive interviews from McKinsey and BCG, I recently did my final round at Bain and was rejected (I executed on the cases at ~65% of how I usually perform due to a few factors).

My ultimate goal is still MBB and I was wondering if anyone could weigh in on the best path there. Some options I'm considering are:

  1. Tier-2 consulting (Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger, etc.)
  2. Tier-3 consulting (Big4 non-Monitor etc.)
  3. F500, rotational programs
    1. More specifically, likely CPG (think Kraft-Heinz).
  4. Additionally, B-school after any of the aforementioned options
  5. Anything else you all might recommend

As well, what is general process is for reapplication? It seems there's a blacklist period? I was also considering writing to my interviewers and asking for more direct advice RE: reapplying and RE: what roles I should pursue to set myself up properly.

Thanks everyone.

2 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Wouter updated his answer on Sep 17, 2018
Ex-BCG and top-tier MBA with 7+ years in CPG industry experience. The full package for experienced or post-MBA hires!
Book a coaching with Wouter

100% Recommendation Rate

66 Meetings

17 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching


Consulting recruitment in general, and MBB recruitment in particular is a numbers game. Even the best prepared probably have a 50-50 change of getting an offer if they only go through the process with one company – at best.

Consulting shops often see (and accept) candidates more than once. The blacklist period is merely a waiting period to offer you the chance to improve your overall application. The options you mention are all valid. I think it’s definitely better to enter consulting (tier 2) and cut your teeth for a while than going into Industry at this point. You’ll get extra interview practice, a first-hand look inside management consulting already and even potentially a top-tier MBA financed for you (longer term option). The way I see it:

  • You got invited by Bain, so you resume must be convincing already. Entering Tier-2 consulting will make this even more the case (so next time, McK and BCG might extend an invitation as well)
  • MBB doesn’t mind capable professionals who have already been trained by other consulting shops, considering it’s not too long, so I would go for it.
  • Entering Tier-2 consulting shows clear commitment to the profession, which is going to strengthen your next-year application as well
  • You can hold off on the option of considering an MBA until you’re a couple of years into your career

So from where I can see it, only benefits in applying to tier-2 shops. However, don’t underestimate their process. Their requirements can be as elevated as MBB, so prepare accordingly!

Good luck,


P4S Coach


Hi Wouter--thanks for the note, really appreciate it. How would you compare tier-3 versus F500? My concern I heard about is that having tier-3 shop experience can make you look undesirable ("second-hand?"), compared to bringing some fresh experiences and unexplored potential from an F500. I suppose for tier-2 the concern could be the same. — Curtis on Sep 18, 2018

Anonymous replied on Sep 17, 2018

Hi Anonymous!

Firstly, I'm sorry about the Bain rejection! Always a bummer to put in a ton of work and not see it come to fruition when you hoped it would. However I'm sure you can get back on track!

To be clear I don't have specifically consulting experience with this, but have definitely redirected my career in response to setbacks, so I'll share my experience and maybe the experts will weigh in with consulting-specific advice.

Here are the steps I would take:

1. Decide where you want to go. Do you still have your heart on consulting? Are you still eventually hoping to work for MBB?

2. Identify what factors contributed to not getting interviews at McKinsey and BCG, and what factors contributed to getting rejected in the last round at Bain. Likely it is not only one factor.

3. If in step 1 you decide consulting is what you want and you can identify traits/skills you need to work on, then I'd start planning my next steps around that i.e. what will help you fill that gap from the list you've provided?

The "blacklist" period is anywhere from 6 months-2 years, depending on the company and office location. Effectively, they want you to take this time to develop in some way, so make sure you set this as your deadline to improve on the factors you identified in step 2.

I didn't apply to consulting firms straight out of my undergraduate degree and regretted it immediately, but due to several personal factors I had to stay with the FTSE100 company I was employed by for three years. So, I tried to take on projects/positions that allowed me to tick a few of the Fit and Behavioural questions, and make my CV stand out. I didn't necessarily enjoy all of it, but I did learn all the things I set out to.

Best of luck!


Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Related case(s)

Bain case: Asian lubricants producer

Solved 104.2k times
4.7 5 27503
| Rating: (4.7 / 5.0)

LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). ... Open whole case

Bain Case: Old Winery

Solved 40.7k times
4.4 5 1060
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0)

You have inherited the “Old Winery” from your grandfather, a winery which has been family owned for five generations and can be dated back to the 16th century. Half of the eleven hectares are used to grow white grapes, the other half to grow red grapes. They are grown in the conventional way, i.e. ... Open whole case

Bain Questions

Solved 22.1k times
4.6 5 278
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills. Open whole case