Transfer from MBB Asia-pacific office to US due to personal reason

MBB officetransfer
New answer on Feb 15, 2021
10 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Feb 14, 2021

Dear PrepLounge community,

I am currently a first year consultant in MBB asia-pacific offices. However, significant other (not married yet) just got a unexpected but excellent job offer and had to move back to the States. I am thinking about transferring after another year here after discussion with my partner. I have the following questions:

1. Do I need to apply for an MBA in the States and re-apply to a US office? (I love current firm and do not plan to switch firms)

2. How soon should I start having the conversation with my local HR with respect to this personal situation?

3. Would an unmarried significant other count as a personal reason for transfer within MBB?

Thank you very much for your help in advance!

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Best answer

Hi there,

Don't worry, with enough committment, patience, and hardwork you can absolutely transfer!

My #1 advice: Talk to HR before you do anything!

1 - This would very much be a last resort. This route seems crazy to me. A better option would be directly applying to another consulting firm (not doing an MBA)

2 - Honestly, now. No harm done. Can only help

3 - I can be a bit of your "sob story" to HR that may help to gain sympathies. Officially/on paper this won't wory, but in a personal level it would.

I've transfered a few times within companies and have the following advice:

1) Build a stellar reputation - do good work, work hard, and be known as "the guy" for xx

2) Build your network - network agressively (yes, networking doesn't end once you've gotten the job offer). Make sure you're known by and have allies in people who make decisions such as staffing managers, Partners (specifically those responsible for recruiting/resources and who are heads of industry/function verticals), etc.

2) b). When I say network "aggressively" please don't be needy/annoying :) There's nothing worse than someone who is obviously working the room or trying to please!

3) Look out for opportunities - look for office transfers, short-term projects, ambassadorships, etc.) You may want to "settle" for a 6-12 month rotation. Then, when that time is up, insist that you stay (this is how I got to stay in Australia with my IT Consulting company years back)

4) Practice patience and be flexible - This might take a year. And you need to be ready to go at the flip of a coin.

Bide your time, keep pushing, be smart, and you'll get there!

Was this answer helpful? 20


I went myself through a transfer process, and once you have the stakeholders aligned, is a piece of cake.

  1. No, not at all. that is only in the case of switching companies, which should not be needed
  2. Asap, particulary when you have been in the company so little and you won´t have such a big network
  3. Yes, totally, 100%. You can also tell them you are engaged ;)

Hope it helps!



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Anonymous A on Feb 15, 2021
Thanks so much Clara! This is really helpful!

Hi there,

  1. I would first talk with HR and verify the options for a transfer. For some companies a transfer may be feasible, but I know that’s not always the case
  2. I would start at your earliest convenience. It is not going to affect their decision and you would leave more time to arrange the transition if feasible
  3. More difficult than married for sure. As for Answer #1, it depends on the office and you will need to clarify with HR

In general the easier way to manage a transfer are:

  • Having relationships with partners in your target office that can recommend you
  • Being a top performer in your current office



Was this answer helpful? 14


I suggest you to be honest and clear with HR staff. MBB offices are part of a global network and if they undertand that you are ready to leave the company, I think they will try to help you and give you a permanent transfer. I have heard of other people getting transfers for less important reasons.


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Anonymous A on Feb 14, 2021
Thanks Luca!

I agree with Luca where being transparent with your local HR and evaluator is always best.

1. I would consider the direct option first. Office transfer eligibility is usually a combination of office headcount/competitiveness, language requirement and your performance. Specific to the first aspect, certain locations (at McKinsey, West Coast Office is particularly selective within the US) may be more challenging which is also worth considering based on where your partner is relocating to. The other big difference is if you're considering a permanent or short-term temporary transfer where offices are usually more cautious when it comes to someone transferring permanently

2. The earlier the better so that they can help you. Office mobility committee where transfer requests are reviewed usually take place every 3-6 months and so it's best for you to find out when and tailor your timeline accordingly. In addition, you typically want to align a few sponsors in the receiving office who are excited to have you move where you will need to do a little bit of networking in advance of the committee meeting

3. Absolutely - the explanation you've provided her sounds fine. It will also be important for you to create professionally alignment around transferring. For example, what type of work do you plan to do in the receiving office, with whom, what you would contribute to that office, etc. In the case of McKinsey, you would typically be asked to draft a "why move memo" outlining these things

Good luck!

Was this answer helpful? 11

Hi there,

Don't wait for too long and start laying the ground for your transfer now.

  1. Talk to HR and explain the situation. The sooner - the more time you have to clarify all the nuances.
  2. Your reason is pretty solid - and most important - very clean. I think the possibility of a transfer in your case is high enough.

Hope it helps!


Was this answer helpful? 9


1. You can try a direct transfer to the US office or do an MBA

2. You have to work for at least a year to make L1 visa. You can start the discussion now, but you need to have:

  • Personal reason (unfortunately if you are not officially married, it does not count)
  • Demonstrate great, ideally exceptional performance
  • Ideally have some local partners supporting you

3. Answered above


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Anonymous A on Feb 14, 2021
Thanks so much Vlad! This is really heplful!

Hey there,

1. No. You should start the conversation with HR right away, the sooner the better. Also, I would get your mentor involved. Ideally, you have a strong case due to your past performance + worked with some of the partners in your target. The latter would help a lot with your transfer if someone from leadership would support your application from the US office. If you haven't worked with anyone, reach out to partners that operate in the same industry or functional space as you.

2. Now.

3. I'd guess so



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Hi, I confirm it is totally feasible. However, it's important to build a rapport with the target office and have top performances


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I did the exact transfer in McKinsey

1. You do NOT need to do an MBA however you will need to be in the firm usually for at least 2 years and be a very strong performer. It also depends on which offices you are looking at. NYC, SF, Boston are all extremely competitive with more stringent requirements when compared to a Dallas or Mineappolis office

2. Start now if you have already been with the firm for close to or over two years and are a very strong performer. In addition I strongly suggest asking partners in your office to connect you with senior partners in the office you want to end up in so you can start to build a network and build support for the transfer

3. Yes but it definitely helps if you are married or engaged



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Ian gave the best answer


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