Should I ask a partner for referral ?

Referral
New answer on Mar 17, 2021
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 04, 2021

Hi,

I will be short. Imagine a new graduate from a business school which is among the target schools of MBB. He isn't an outstanding student, neither does he have an extraordinary achievement like winning a gold medal or something. He is just a regular guy but has a great desire to work @ Mck. Can a partner make a referal for such a candidate a consultant role at McK?

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 05, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

It is definitely possible to get a referral in your situation – I coached a candidate who had very low GPA and managed to be invited at BCG Germany exactly because of a partner referral.

I would say that if your profile is “regular”, a referral is even more important as you may not pass the screening otherwise.

You need a strategy to get the referral though – you can find more at the link below:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous A on Mar 06, 2021

Hi Francesco, Do I need a strategy to get the referral even if I know the partner in person? I mean we are not friends, but we know each other like forever. Had he been my friend I would flat out ask him to refer, but we are not that close, and I was wondering would a partner refer a mediocre guy for a consultant role even if the candidate is his friend cause that maybe a reputation risk, isn’t it? I want to know that before I ask the guy

Francesco on Mar 06, 2021

Hi there, if you know already the partner you don’t need to look for another referral and you can simply ask him, worst case he will say no and you can look for someone else to refer you – I don’t think you have anything to lose trying. Best, Francesco

Anonymous A on Mar 07, 2021

Hi Francesco, thank you so much. If he says yes and I pass the screening, do they usually give time for preparation for the case interview?

Francesco on Mar 07, 2021

Hi there, they may ask to organize the interview with a short notice, but you can always ask if it is possible to reschedule it (usually it is fine, unless interviews are structured in specific periods only). Best

Ian
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replied on Mar 04, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Please don't ask directly for a referral.

That said, 100% you can get a referral from a Partner - it's a lot more common than you think.

How? Follow these tips:

Networking tips:

a) Reach out to people in your network

b) Reach out to people once removed from your network

c) Reach out to people with a similar backgorund to you (i.e. same alma mater, same historically underrepresented demographic i.e. gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc., same career switch, etc.)

d) Tailor a message to them specifically both showing interest in them and their journey and demonstrating that you have done your research and could be a valuable hire

e) Play "tag" across calls you get so that you can work your way towards the company/office/role you want

f) Never directly ask for a referral, but "hint" at needing one (this is nuanced and important...happy to talk through wording)

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Anonymous A on Mar 04, 2021

Thanks a lot Ian!

Florian
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replied on Mar 04, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

It is not so much about your achievements than it is about the relationship you have with the said person. Approaching a partner randomly via Linkedin rarely won't land you a referral, regardless if you flew to the ISS with Elon or are have a more average resume as most of us.

The context of the relationship and how the relationship was established is important (met via an event, alumni of the same school or employer, same hometown, etc.). If that pans out, of course, they can and will make a referral. :-)

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Mar 04, 2021

Thank you Florian. I studied with the said person in the same university, we used to have good relationship, but I cannot call we are friends I wish we were, he is really a role model person. Why I am hesitant asking him is because: 1. We only talk occasionally, when we meet each other accidentally. It was 4 years ago last time. 2. Should they not care about who they are making referral? I mean should they not target the best all around? I thought McK love hiring extratalented individuals, they don't mess with mediocres. Please enlighten. Thanks

Clara
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replied on Mar 06, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I need to say that I laughed with your post :)

Yes indeed, of course! People in MBB are ordinary! (in the sense of, not aliens!. They are surely very dedicated and smart, but nothing out of this world)

Hence, don´t self-boycott yourself! And make a good pitch to that partner !

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on Mar 06, 2021

Hi Clara, Haha, I am glad I made you laugh. I am sure many people who desire to work at MBB are very pessimistic about their chances at those companies, cause who they hire are mostly outstanding. Plus, given my age, my chances are diminishing

Ken
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replied on Mar 04, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

It's true that there are the occasional olympic gold medalists, etc. at McKinsey but the vast majority are "regular" people. I would avoid "asking" for a referral but networking with partners (as well as consultants) will be a great way for you to stand out from the crowd, even coming from a target school.

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Anonymous A on Mar 04, 2021

Thanks Ken for your response.

Gaurav
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replied on Mar 17, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

A referral can definitely improve your chances!

Nowadays, networking is often reduced to LinkedIn connections and personalized emails, but some tips remain the same:

  • be honest and be yourself

  • Build relationships naturally

  • remove the pressure of proving yourself all the time

  • Don’t be pushy, don’t ask directly for a referral

Networking strategy:

1) If you contact 10 people, 5 will answer, 2 will agree to schedule a call, and maybe 1 person will stay in contact with you and eventually refer you.

Not everybody will be willing to help you. The problem is not you, so don’t let that put you down.

From the previous rule: contact more than 2 people to obtain replies.

2) First contact people you know- you never know who knows who!

3) Follow up with people you’ve emailed and they didn’t answer you until you get a yes or a no.

4) Prepare a strong CV.

In case one of the consultants is willing to help you, he/she might ask you to send your CV, and you should have it ready.

5) You should always be ready to pitch yourself.

Networking is about building strong and long-lasting relationships and having a reputation as a good worker. This kind of bonding requires commitment but also a real drive to do that, based on a real interest, not just the potential merit of a relationship. So be wise in choosing who you want to connect to and who not.

I'd like to point out:

  • your goal in networking is to schedule a call with a person. The call will be like a fit part of the interview where you'll be able to present yourself, understand whether you'd be a good fit for the company, and ask questions about the experience / company / any advice (which indirectly can mean the referral)

  • Consultants don't always have time to check their LinkedIn, so personalized emails are preferred if your target is a referral

  • However, if you're networking in the LI - try to find things you have in common and build your conversation around them.

  • Remember that even If now you're networking for your personal interests, one day you might help somebody from your network, too.

It definitely is going to take some time, but if you are going to apply 1 or 2 years from now, don't rush. Spend the time wisely and value the quality of the relationship over the quantity.

Hope that helps!

GB

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Raj
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replied on Mar 14, 2021
Strategy&| ex-interviewer | 170+ coached over career |95% success @ MBB, S&, RB, LEK, OW, Big4 [SUCCESS STORIES BELOW]

If it is possible to get a Partner referral, definitely do so especially if you well your background may not be distinguished. This will help at least in ensuring your CV is screened appropriately.

But ensure you have a clear plan in how to get that referral and communicate effectively with the Partner as this is a silver bullet

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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