Starting date delayed by 6 months at MBB Middle-East. What should I do?

AT Kearney BCG McKinsey and Bain MBB Oliver Wyman strategy&
New answer on Nov 16, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 20, 2020

Hey guys,

I was recruited by a top firm at their Dubai office as an entry level Associate right out of B-school. But now my starting date has been delayed by 6 months. The HR told me that this is the case for the whole Associate class. I will complete my masters in September and will have nothing to look forward to (I was really excited as this would be my first real job). It will be great if you could answer the following queries:

1. Has this happened to other firms in the region? Is there a chance that the firm could still cancel my offer?

2. I have nothing to do after September. What should I look forward to or do? - No one is hiring for internships and it is really difficult to look for an alternative FT offer elsewhere in Europe at this time.

3. How can I leverage my potential FT offer at the firm on my CV when applying to other roles?

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 21, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

1. Yes, it's quite common across firms and regions. It is extremely unlikely than MBB would cancel anyone's offer. However, it is possible that they delay it again.

2. I think you have a few options:

a. Start a side project/hustle (anything you've wanted to try)

b. Learn a skill you've always wanted to (coding language, musical instrument etc.)

c. Look for an internship (I promise you, people are still hiring)

d. Enter into an academy or training program to prepare you for the consulting world (message me if you'd like to know about some good ones)

3. You probably cannot...

To answer other questions you might have around COVID-19 impacts on consulting, see below :)



Most interviews will now be virtual. They may also involve COVID-19 as a topic!

For Virtual Interview Tips:

For Coronavirus Cases:



A number of existing offers as well as future offers are coming with delayed start dates.

(If this happens, use the time to both upskill and find a 2nd job/internship in the meantime)



Some of the tier two firms are cutting costs through:

  • Setting pay to 80%, with an opt-out policy (KPMG)
  • Letting go of some staff with <6 months tenure (EY)
  • Forcing unpaid leave for staff not on billable projects (Deloitte)
  • Stopping bonuses

So far, it seems the tier 1 firms are cutting some bonuses and being stricter with the "Up or out" system. It seems unlikely they would rescind new hire offers, but you should always have a plan B.

Al this being said different geographies are different, as are different roles...even in tough times companies do hire and projects are won.



There are a lot of companies, a lot of offices, with a lot of different timelines. I recommend you reach out to the recruiters of the offices + companies in which you are interested! This had the added benefit of you potentially being put in touch with a potential referee!

Take the initiative, reach out to the offices/companies you want, hustle hard, and find the jobs that are available and fight for them. Don't the cards TODAY and operate as such, until something changes, then adapt.



The top-tier firms are very nimble. They are notoriously "immune" to economic cycles. This Is because:

  • When the economy does well, MBB are hired to help companies do even better
  • When the economy does poorly, MBB are hired to help companies survive (cost costs, adapt, plan for the new world)

I can tell you that MBB are hustling hard and that when companies are in trouble, they look to MBB first for guidance. Strategy consultants help firms navigate uncharted territory...these times are when they're most needed



1) Yes it will affect the nature of work

2) I can't see it improving work-life balance. The fundamentals of top-tier companies in any industry are: Get the best, get the brightest, get the hungriest, charge them out for a lot, and work them hard

3) It'll change business trips in much the same way business trips will be changed across the world

4) It's anyone's guess as to whether WFH will become more acceptable in consulting. Personally, I doubt it.



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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 21, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience


Is it possible to elaborate on why you are hesitant to wait? If you have an offer from a top firm and are keen to pursue it I don't think waiting a few months is any cause for alarm. It is impossible to say whether any offer will be rescinded, however if they wanted to do that they would have just done that instead of delaying the start. It also reflects poorly on them if they don't take you on.

In terms of what to do for 6 months- there is a lot! You can focus on your personal interests, finish projects you have been putting off for a while. You have a full time offer, many do not so I think you are actually in a pretty strong position

I don't know how smart it is to shop around an offer to get a new job. Of course it can be done - you can just put it on your resume but if the other firm finds out they may not take to it kindly

I know this is a difficult time but in my opinion if this is a great firm and you want to work here it is worth waiting the 6 months, you really don't have much to gain by going anywhere else given the uncertainty




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Content Creator
replied on Jun 23, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Congrats of that offer!

If there is one thing I wish I had done before joining McKinsey, that would have been Excel. It can really be a game changer, so I would really focus on that (more than pptx, industry knowledge, etc., that are nice-to-have, but not deal breakers).

Excel skills are part of the core skill-set of consultants, and it´s great that you want to practice them. PFB a list of the most popular commands:

Basic operations: SUM, SUMPRODUCT

Text transformations: CONCATENATE, LEFT, RIGHT, & operator,

Connecting different datasets: VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX(MATCH(),MATCH())

Conditional-based operations: SUMIF, COUNTIF, SUMIFS, COUNTIFS, COUNTA

Learn how to analyze data using Pivot Tables

There are plenty of online materials:

Microsoft Support:

Kubicle: (go for the 7 days free trial - Excel for Business Analytics)

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 16, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

It’s very unlikely that they cancel your offer. And yes, it's a very common thing nowadays.

I recommend you use this time with new activities and achievements, be prepared for your new job. It’s not a good idea to find a new opportunity, because it could happen again in another company.

By the way, you can contact your HR and ask for working in another firm, which is opened during pandemic. Then return to the Dubai office, when the pandemic would be gone.

Do you need any further help?

All the best,


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Anonymous replied on Jul 11, 2020

Dear A ,

My congratulations to your offer at MBB Dubai.

There several options which you can choose. Of, course, you can focus and get one of the internships in this time. You can also complete a couple of courses or learn a new language, for example Arabic, which you will definitely need, if you don't know it yet. Otherwise, you can also spend this time with your family and friends, because your personal life will come short after you start in consulting. Last but not least,it's also very valuable time to prepare yourself in consulting industry. If you wish, I can share with you deep insights from MBB Dubai - the working culture and how to become a successful consultant and build quick career over there. I have many friends who work there as partners, principles and project managers.

Feel free to drop a line.

Good luck,


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Content Creator
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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