Should I stop applying, study more, or wait?

Bain BCG getting interview getting stuck Mck RolandBerger
New answer on Nov 24, 2020
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 11, 2019

I am struggling to get an interview from a consulting firm. I applied to McKinsey, Bain, KPMG, Oliver Wyman, PwC, and many other firms. Unfortunately, I was rejected by all of them.

A recruiter from KPMG called me after I sent my application. she told me that the position I applied for is not suitable for me (Analyst) because I already have some experience. She recommended that I apply for risk management related positions.

I graduated from the business school 18 months ago. I started working full time while I was still studying in the business school and continued working after the graduation. I now have 2 years of experience working in my current position (risk monitoring, fraud, and customer experience). Before the business school, I completed few internships and short assignments (1 year as market researcher and few months as a consultant).

I feel somehow that I am not a fresh graduate to be considered for entry level positions and not experienced enough to be considered for positions requiring experience. Should I continue applying but only to risk advisory positions? Or should I study more and complete a risk management certificate or training? Or should I just wait for a year or so and then start applying again?

I have a master’s degree in management from a target school with a focus on strategy.

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Adam
Expert
replied on Dec 12, 2019
Ex Bain/ A.T. Kearney: Principal with >10 years global consulting and recruiting experience and >150 interviews

Hi

If it was not clear from your cover letter that you are interested in general management consulting and you didn’t explain how your experience is relevant to this, then I can see why you may not have got through resume screening. This may also be why the HR team is suggesting you look at risk advisory – since they will look at what you have been doing for the last little while and make assumptions on where you fit. HR typically have a narrow brief and a checklist that they are working to when screening.

I think the first thing that you need to be clear on is the type of work that you would like to do. If its related to your current experience (which sounds like an internal audit and monitoring role), then its only the Big 4 accounting firms that would be relevant. They all have teams that focus on this type of work, usually within the Financial Assurance business line (where financial audit typically sits).

If you are looking to do more general operations or strategy consulting, then you have a broader set of options. Again, the Big 4 accounting firms have strategy and operations consulting capabilities, which typically sit in their Business Advisory business line. The top tier (MBB) and tier 2 consulting firms only play in this space.

I think a plan of action might be to speak with risk practitioners and consultants to get a more granular understanding of the day to day work they do. See what resonates with you and get an understanding of the competencies that are required. (Most experts on this site can help on the consulting side). Once you have clarity on this you can revisit your resume and cover letter and refine as needed. Finally to re-engage with the firms you are interested in, since you already have some work experience, try to find a contact in your network or Linked-In that you can meet for a coffee to get a warmer introduction to the firm and get their advice to further refine your cover letter and resume. This will have a much higher probability of access, rather than applying with graduates through HR screening.

Hope this is helpful and feel free to drop me your resume and cover letter if you would like me to review.

Kind Regards,

Adam

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Zine on Dec 12, 2019
I am interested in general management positions. It is only after the call from KPMG that I started considering risk management positions. I have 1 year experience as a market researcher (I worked at a Business Development division of a university). I completed a marker research project for an event management company, and 1 consulting assignment for a well known company while I was in the business school. I prefer to have the general management role at a top tier company (MBB) because they focus more on strategy. For the risk management roles, according to your reply big 4 should be my target. Thank you! your reply was very helpful!
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 11, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

First of all - you don't need any more risk training since these firms are hiring mostly generalists.

Secondly - you still should apply for entry level roles (e.g. Senior business analyst McKinsey scale)

Thirdly - pls send me your resume for a review. There might be other issues

Best

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Zine on Dec 12, 2019
Thank you Vlad for your reply. For now I cannot apply to the entry level roles because I was rejected by all the companies I applied to for those roles. So I need to wait for awhile.
Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 11, 2019
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

Considering that you are applying for a generalist position I wouldn't suggest to get more trainings/certifications. During our income as "visiting associate" we were told that a BCG associate is evaluated as a "2-years experienced worker", so you are perfectly fine.

Try to understand if there is a specific part of your CV/Cover letter that doesn't work for next applications (feel free to contact me for any suggestion). The only "certification" that could be considered a "game changer" is the MBA, but obviously it's not so simple to get it and it requires a big investment in time and money.

Please be aware that there are some branches of the major consulting firms with a specific focus that could match your profile. For example in Milan we have "BCG Red" that is focused on the risk projects.
Have you considered to apply for these positions instead of generalist consultant?

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Zine on Dec 12, 2019
Does the "2-years experienced worker" means experience in consulting or experience in general? I didn't know about the BCG Red. Thank you for the information. I only know about McKinsey research. But I didn't apply there. I will search for more of those specialized branches.
Zine on Dec 12, 2019
I will forget about the certification for now. I don't want to invest in something without being sure that it will be helpful. I will also have a fresh look at my CV and cover letter and consult with you guys. Thank you all!
Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 11, 2019
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
I would avoid losing time in certifications if your focus is consulting. I recommend leveraging your contacts/alumni of your university to get a referral and apply again to the consulting firms: after 12-18 months your application could be considered again and, if well done (target school + experience + referral) you are going to get some invitations.

Best,
Antonello

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Zine on Dec 12, 2019
Regarding referral, I can't get one. I completed my master's degree in a foreign country and I am still living in the same country. I do not speak the local language of the country where I live. So I applied to offices in other countries (for example, I applied to work in offices in Canada because I speak English and French). I have contacts in the country where I live but no sufficient language skills. But no contacts in other countries. Thank you Antonello!
Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 24, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

Feel free to send me your CV. It's difficult to assess without viewing all the details.

All the best,

GB

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Adam gave the best answer

Adam

Ex Bain/ A.T. Kearney: Principal with >10 years global consulting and recruiting experience and >150 interviews
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