Small NGO to MBB

application strength behavoural fit interview International Development Transition from industry
New answer on Feb 16, 2022
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Feb 15, 2022


I'm currently leading strategy and ops at a very small local NGO focused on economic development, with previous experience in government (foreign economic policy, focused on developing markets). Total 4 years experience. I have a BA and MA from well-recognised unis including a top-tier Ivy.

I very quickly realised from my experience at the NGO that I miss working on larger-scale, complex projects, and in a much faster-paced environment. 

I know from my experiences that I enjoy strategy/planning work and am thus interested in consulting to gain that quick exposure and intense training in business and strategy (which I've picked up in an adhoc manner). I had joined the NGO to explore bottom-up development from a non-policy angle, but believe business is also another strong key to development, particularly in emerging markets with failing governments. 

In the longer-term, I hope to lead an organization focused on growth in emerging markets (organizationally, could be a larger NGO, could be a venture fund, or consultancy, depending on market need), while serving as an independent advisor to nonprofits/companies/governments in this respect as well. 

With the above profile and long-term vision, I am wondering what my chances at MBB are, and whether consulting would provide the learning I seek. Assuming there's a chance of getting in, I'd also grateful for any tips and advice on positioning myself when applying! 

Thank you in advance.


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replied on Feb 15, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms


  1. sounds like management consulting is right for you and if you prep well it is definetely possible to get in. The only thing I would do is I would even consider applying to some tier 2 firms that also suit what you are looking for (fast-paced), so you have plenty of choice when it comes to applications. You will find a lot of helpful information on preplounge including free case partners, as well as coaches. I would recommend that you do at least the following steps: Understand what makes you happy
  2. Set your consulting objectives
  3. Define your flexibility around them
  4. Diagnose your strengths and weaknesses            
    1. Case studies
    2. Fit interviews
    3. Tests
    4. Application documents
    5. Other application elements
  5. Design your study plan
    1. Where you can partner with a coach
    2. Where you cannot, complete it on your own
  6. Execute the plan: practise, test, apply, grow
  7. Secure your offer (perfect what you can)


Feel free to message me and I would be happy to point you to other free resources or offer a coaching.

Best regards

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 15, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hey there,

Very interesting profile! What you describe is generally within scope of what MBB are working on. Sometimes this relates to pro-bono work, in other cases it may be part of a commercial project with a large cooperation trying to be a good corporate citizen and do some good.

Considering the above with the fact that you have a degree from an Ivy league uni, I don't see any issues. McKinsey in particular is very keen on recruiting people from all places with unique experiences, which you certain have.

My recommendation would be to start networking with people by cross referencing MBB & NGO experience on linkedin, and/or get in touch with school alumni who work(ed) at MBB.

If you manage to apply with a referral, which is the ultimate objective of your networking, you should have a shot at being interviewed. Then it just comes down to interview performance, which is where this platform can really help you.

Lastly, consulting is a good experience for anyone! Even if you don't like it, you will most certainly learn a great deal and develop as a professional. Do a couple of years in MBB and then follow your dreams!

Hope this helps a bit. Best of luck!

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updated an answer on Feb 15, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hi there, 

It looks like your profile would be very appealing for the MBB and you could create very powerful stories about impact, leadership, drive, etc. working for an NGO!  As a recruiter, I would also give you extra points for working for an NGO, which confirms you are someone who wants to create a positive impact. 

Size of the organization is not relevant, you can get in as long you have excellent education (you do :-)) and great achievements behind you which seems to be the case. 

Now you just have to make sure all this comes through your CV and cover letter and you prepare for the interviews. 

About getting in, referrals are great, but at least BCG treats all CV equally, hence I would suggest to browse well the open positions but probably applying as an Associate is the best shot. You can eventually reach to HR and ask if there is any opening in public/governmental area. There you have advantage.

Good luck!


PS: if you want to know about referral options, please feel free to reach out. 

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 16, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I'd need to see your actual profile/resume first but nothing I see here tells me you're not a fit for MBB!

Ultimately, you need to do the following to maximize your chances:

  1. Build up your experience/exposure and responsibilities as much as possible (initiatives, promotions, side projects, etc.)
  2. Make your resume as good as possible
  3. Network extensively

Good luck!

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replied on Feb 16, 2022
Experienced coach that can prepare you for your digital/data/technology cases

Based on your description I think MBB could be a great fit for you and your future aspirations as well as that you can be a good fit for MBB. 

In general I would always suggest that if you have a goal go for it. You have a good chance so make sure you have a CV based on the management consulting standards and that you practice enough cases.

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Charlotte gave the best answer


Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms
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