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Rejected after second round at McKinsey. What are the best steps now?

Anonymous A

Hi all. I just thought I'd ask here to get some advice from people who have much more experience than me.

My situation: I recently had a second round at McKinsey which went ok but definitely not stellar. In fact, I did not get an offer. My feedback was really positive and the only negatives were: could have structured better in one of the three, and I had to be probed to get ideas which where then given.

I just completed university and therefore my future applications will be for the BA position again, but from a position of someone working. I will begin my career at Google in their SMBs consultative sales team. I value a lot this experience but ideally I would still like to end in consulting to gain a generalist experience and learn more about business and strategy. Possibly having the opportunity of an entering in and having sponsored a good MBA.

My questions:

- I will begin soon at my new position but considering that the next recrutiment season for MBB will come in October with a possible start date for the following September, should I then apply again this coming year or the one after? (If I did this coming year I would have the PST score still valid at McKinsey since it counts 2 years and passing that is quite challenging already).

- How different are the expectations for someone with 1/2 years non-consulting experience compared to a university graduate? I am interested in pursuing the BA generalist scheme, but will I be expected to have a specific interest already since I am not coming from university?

- Are there any other things I should focus on that would give additional value to my application? I'm concerned that althought I made it to final round this time, I might not even pass the screening next time.

- How many times can one apply? If I get rejected next time will that block my chances once for all? I understand you may be able to apply countless times, but will my application be considered?

Thank you in advance for your insights and advice!

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B replied on 01/12/2018
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Hey,

These are my 2 cents on your questions (as I was in a somehow similar position: joined McKinsey only 2 years after working in corporates)

- not sure if this is different for other consulting firms, but for McKinsey it's very unlikely you will be screened for another interview next year (unless you got that specific feedback to reapply or you achieve something really significant from an academic or professional perspective); I would reccomend reapply in 2 years time, because that will also allow you to gain significant experience and support a better story of how did you manage to improve your current pitfalls

- as far as you apply to a BA role, the interview expectations should quite similar... with the difference that they will be expecting you to have improved significantly on your "negative/improvement" feedback points from your first try

- if I was you , I would focus in developing overall skills and learn as much as possible from your Google experience (trying to have as much impact as possible), rather than just focusing too much on working only for a future consulting chance

Best

Bruno

Vlad replied on 01/14/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

- I will begin soon at my new position but considering that the next recrutiment season for MBB will come in October with a possible start date for the following September, should I then apply again this coming year or the one after? (If I did this coming year I would have the PST score still valid at McKinsey since it counts 2 years and passing that is quite challenging already).

You should wait at least 1 calendar year. To increase your chances you should:

  • Make sure that you can persuade the HR that you've achieved an unprecedented career / professional growth during this year.
  • Try to apply via the reference

- How different are the expectations for someone with 1/2 years non-consulting experience compared to a university graduate? I am interested in pursuing the BA generalist scheme, but will I be expected to have a specific interest already since I am not coming from university?

Not sure if I understood your question. Expectations are the same - you should perform on a project no matter what. I suggest trying various industries in the beginning. At the end of the day, it's not about the interests but about the people you work with.

- Are there any other things I should focus on that would give additional value to my application? I'm concerned that althought I made it to final round this time, I might not even pass the screening next time.

See the 1st answer.

- How many times can one apply? If I get rejected next time will that block my chances once for all? I understand you may be able to apply countless times, but will my application be considered?

- Every 2 years. Although you should be able to persuade an interviewer that you've made a progress. I also never heard of anyone applying more than 3 times.

Best

Francesco replied on 01/23/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for coaching sessions (1300+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

I have answered your questions below:

  1. Should I then apply again this coming year or the one after? If nothing else has been communicated, you can apply after 2 years. Sometimes the waiting period is reduced to 1 year, but is normally communicated in the feedback following the rejection. You can clarify that with HR in case you have doubts
  2. How different are the expectations for someone with 1/2 years non-consulting experience compared to a university graduate? The interview will be the same. Expectations in the project will be slightly higher, as you should have already some experience with deliverables, client interactions, etc.
  3. Are there any other things I should focus on that would give additional value to my application? As mentioned by Vlad, a referral would definitely come handy. You should also try to emphasize key results in your CV from Google showing impact, leadership and drive
  4. How many times can one apply? Although theoretically there is no limit, if you get rejected once more you would have only a further realistic chance as experience hire. It would then be difficult to get a forth invitation, unless you can show some very significant achievement

Best,

Francesco

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