Tier 2 consulting firm application strategy

Application MBB strategyconsulting switch tier2
New answer on May 07, 2020
13 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 10, 2020

I'm currently preparing to apply for tier 2 consulting firms, such as big 4 / Kearney / Accenture / LEK. However, after doing some research, I realized that the recruiting is not so structured compared to MBB, and often, there is no job posting for experienced hire on the website. Also, for big 4, sometimes it is hard to say which roles are the "pure strategy roles".

My question is:

(1) What are the general strategy of applying to tier 2 firms? Maybe even more emphasis on networking, to try to find whether there is a position opening?

(2) For Big 4, what would be a good networking strategy, as there are so many different "consultant" on Linkedin, and hard to differentiate whether they work at the "pure strategy" group.

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Originally answered question:

Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

Hagen
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replied on Sep 14, 2021
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

That is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I'm happy to give you my perspective on that:

  • Even if most consulting companies would deny it, the COVID-19 crisis has hit most economies and thus the clients hard, resulting in reduced engagements at consulting companies. My feeling is that they slowly get more confident with recruiting, but especially for experienced hires where there absolute no. of intakes is smaller, I would advise you not rush a career change at the moment.
  • MBB has the tendency to discount your experience, resulting in a reluctance of cross promotions (e.g. “consultant” at Tier 2 → “project leader” at MBB) and sometimes even acknowledging your current rank. Thus, my advise would be that the best time possible for a career change is about 6-12 months after a promotion. You might need to repeat those 6-12 months, but it's still better than being “demoted” or being hired with 6 months to the promotion window in a completely new surrounding.
  • Obviously, as you have already mentioned, your personal situation with your current employer might play in your favor (e.g. specialization in an industry/ topic that is highly sought after).

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to approach the application for MBB, please feel free to to contact me directly.

I hope that helps,

Hagen

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Originally answered question:

Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

Francesco
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replied on Sep 15, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I would say you have two options:

  1. Apply right now (with a referral), assuming the ban is over and you can show sufficient improvements in the CV
  2. Wait for the next promotion and then apply after that

Unless 2 is close, I would go for option 1 if you satisfy the requirements – usually MBB don’t let you get the same position anyway when you do a transition from another company, but let you start from the one below (although with some tenure).

You can find more on referrals here:

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

Best,

Francesco

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Originally answered question:

Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

Udayan
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replied on Sep 14, 2021
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

A reasonable time period to wait is 2 years or showing reasonable progress in your time at the Tier 2 (promotions and increased responsibilities). The main aim to show that you are now a different profile to the one they rejected and especially given the new experience will be an asset to the MBB you are applying to. Anything less than 2 years is typically not enough (with exceptions being made in a very hot job market or if you have a great referral).

Best,

Udayan

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Originally answered question:

Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

Florian
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replied on Sep 15, 2021
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hey there,

I would recommend you the following approach:

  1. Start networking with current MBB consultants in your region to get some referrals
  2. Wait with your applications until you are short of 2 years of tenure with your current company and do some light case prep. 2 years should demonstrate progress within your firm, ideally with the first promotion already in the bag
  3. Apply with the referrals
  4. Block a couple of weeks for heavy case / aptitude test prep and practice

Reach out if you need help with McKinsey in the process!

Cheers,
Florian

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Originally answered question:

Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

Ian
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replied on Sep 14, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

While I agree with the other coaches that the general rule is to wait for a promotion, I would say that the current market is booming.

If I were you, I would take my shot at one or two of MBB, depending on where I can get a strong referral (Principal or Partner). 

You may as well try right now while they're desperate to bring in new hires! If it doesn't work, you can wait until your promotion and try again!

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Giacomo
Expert
replied on Mar 10, 2020
Bain & Company | MBA | Real Case Simulation

Hi There,

(1) Actually I think that you can put more emphasis on your willingness/motivation to work for these companies, they focus more on understanding if you really want to work for them and less on business cases. Commonly they ask less structures business cases.

(2) As usual, the best netwroking strategy is contact one friend or at least convince one of your friend to introduce one that work there.

If you need further rec. please text me in private!

Good luck!

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Originally answered question:

Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

Agrim
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replied on Sep 14, 2021
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

You should apply when you feel prepared - since you want to make sure you clear the process this time around. A second rejection may not look nice.

Do not worry much about promotions, time-frame etc. etc. - particularly in this case when you are moving from tier-2 to MBB.

If you jump after a promotion - to an equivalently promoted position in MBB - you are facing the challenge of coping up with the pressure of the promoted position.

If you jump without a promotion - you will most likely not get any tenure counted against your existing tier-2 experience. Even if you do get some tenure - you will again be up against elevated expectations that would come in accordance with your tenure.

Message me if you want to discuss this in more details.

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Anonymous replied on May 06, 2020

For tier 2, try to get referral, or via head hunter. I know Kearney and LEK use head hunters as I have been approached before by their HH.

When you look at LinkedIn, those consultants who work at the strategy side would actually try to differentiate themselves. E.g. You would not see a Strategy& consulant put themselves as PWC consultant, they would always put Strategy&. A Monitor Deloitte consultant would not leave out the "monitor" either.

Hope it makes sense to you.

Emily

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Anonymous replied on May 07, 2020

Hi A,

I would choose the strategy to apply through referrals. That could maximize your chances to get to pole.

I have also helped multiple people to get offer from Tier1, Tier2 firms. If you need any insights, feel free to reach out.

Best,

André

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10
Francesco
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replied on Apr 01, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

for second-tier company I would still target referrals, specifically:

  1. Identify who are the people that can more easily help you
  2. Write them a customized email
  3. Have a call with the consultant, and indirectly ask for a referral

Below you can find more details:

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

in terms of identifying the “right” consultants working in strategy for Big 4, you should ideally be able to identify it from the LinkedIn profile and the project they worked on.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Antonello
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replied on Apr 01, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

I would apply to all the tier2 now, if you can with a referral.

Best,
Antonello

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Originally answered question:

Good time to apply to MBB from Tier 2

Sofia
Expert
replied on Sep 18, 2021
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

I thought the general advice here is spot on - the best strategy would be either to apply now or apply a few months after your first promotion. In either case, be sure to do a good amount of networking, and try to get a referral - that would be the most helpful thing to get your foot in the door.

Best of luck!

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Hagen gave the best answer

Hagen

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