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Rejection from BCG with pre-approved CV

Anonymous A asked on Oct 31, 2018

I applied to BCG ten days ago (UK rounds 2018). My CV had been screened by one of the consultants and I'd been actively encouraged to apply. I have a perfect GPA, undergraduate + graduate degree from target schools, have held several leadership positions, am a competitive sports player, speak several languages, and have a year of experience with one of the largest international organisations in the world.
I am very, very surprised that I didn't make it through the CV screening, especially with a CV approved by one of their consultants. Could anyone point me towards some potential factors? Or the next steps?

Thank you

A disappointed applicant

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Alessandro
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replied on Oct 31, 2018
Bain & Company | University of Cambridge | CV/Resume writing | 770 GMAT
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I believe that, due to the freedom of information act / GDPR, you actually have the right to receive all information a UK firm holds about you - this would include notes about your CV. Therefore, if you really wanted to know, you can try reach out to their HR saying you would like to file a freedom of information request for the score your CV received and all associated comments.

The reason you did not pass could be a number of things. CVs are reviewed by 1-2 people max, and as much as consulting firms are actively trying to remove bias from the applications, different people's opinions invariably will score a CV differently. Also, keep in mind that London is extremely competitive (<1% offer rate), and they will literally have thousands of applicants with a similar track record to you.

Consulting applications, especially to offices as competitive as London, can often be a lottery. When I was applying along with a lot of my friends, I heard of almost every single positive combination of receiving interviews from 1/2/3 of MBB - e.g. Bain and BCG but not McK, McK but not Bain or BCG, etc.

I know it's disappointing, but keep your head up and hope that McK or Bain will interview you!

Francesco replied on Oct 31, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

there may be several reasons why you got rejected. Some of the most common are the following:

  1. No clear presentation of strengths in your CV. Consultants like action-result oriented points that show what you were doing and the results achieved (usually with numbers). A different way to present your CV may lead to a lower consideration by recruiters
  2. Lack of referral. Apparently, you applied without one, which may have led to a lower consideration of your CV compared to other candidates
  3. Lack of relevant work experience. You mentioned you worked in a large international organization. This could be good in terms of the brand, but it doesn't really say much about the specific experiences you had there. If the experience was not related to a strategy role, your CV may have not been considered strong enough by the recruiters.

If you applied close to the deadline, it could also be that there were only few slots available, thus increasing competition.

These are just hypothesis of course, the only way to clearly understand the reason would be through a complete review of the CV.

As next steps, there are plenty of other good consulting firms you can apply to, starting with McKinsey and Bain (ideally you should try to find a referral in these firms that could also provide some further suggestions on the CV). And even if you don't manage to land an offer at an MBB, you can gain experience with a 2nd tier firm, and switch to MBB after few years.

Best,
Francesco

Vlad replied on Oct 31, 2018
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Hi,

The personal opinion of the consultant does not mean any kind of approval. It just means that he likes your resume.

The fact that the resume did not pass can mean basically anything:

  • Huge competition (that is very true in the London office)
  • Not enough / not relevant work experience
  • Lack of available positions
  • etc

Next time ask the person to make you a referral.

Best,

Anonymous B replied on Nov 01, 2018

Hey, I was rejected by BCG last month with almost the same background as you. The lesson I've learned is you need to have referral, that's it.

Benjamin replied on Oct 31, 2018
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Hi,

unfortunately, consultant approval doesn't have any value, only HR will decide.

If you're indeed in the target schools etc., it might simply be related to current recruitment need of the firm that have been fulfilled at the moment

Best
Benjamin

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