Hi Anonymous A,
Going to a target business school would be the ‘traditional’ way to get an interview for an Associate position at MBB (called Associate at McKinsey and AT Kearney vs. Consultant at BCG/Bain). Nevertheless, I know some experienced hires that successfully transitioned to MBB without MBA.
The hardest part for your will likely be to get an interview. There is not a written rule and significant differences exist depending on the office and geography but in general:
- McK/ATK are probably the most open, assuming you have a specific expertise set that they need
- Bain pretty much does not take anyone out of school and value some experience
- BCG does hire some experienced hires but that's rare
If you had worked alongside consultants on a project at your company, I would suggest that you ask them to recommend you for an interview. If that is not your case, I recommend to use any other contact or to get in touch with a headhunter rather than sendig a 'cold' application. Once you got an interview... expectations will be mainly the same. Yes, you probably have a slightly better business sense than average candidate due to longer work experience, and yes you might feel more comfortable talking to senior execs, but that will not make a significant difference in how you will be judged.
Let me also precise that experienced hires will be generally penalized on their career paths. Especially if they do not come from a strategy consulting background, in the first period they will struggle a lot more than an internal consultant of the same level who has develop a very specific mindset.
Considering your work experience, at this stage you would probably get in at a senior analyst position and then could get promoted to an associate level after 0.5/1 year.
I hope this helps,