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Expert with best answer

Denis

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USD 169 / Coaching

7

Trying for MBB again in a year. Best choice in the meantime?

Just got turned down for all of MBB in central europe pre interview after being refered and am considering my options to maximise my chances on a second try in a year.

My background is in STEM and I got my undergrad and PhD from different top 10 universities (worldwide) with top marks. I speak 4 languages fluently, have had quite a few high impact extracuriculars throughout my studies, and have led different national service units up to around 50 people (including ones with tasks that are actually relevant for consulting). Where I fall short is on the work experience front as I have not had an internship or fixed position in any industry.

Based on the people I know in the offices here, a lack of industry experience has not been a dealbreaker in the past. In fact those who refered me have mostly been from a similar background and have all been astonished that I did not get through the screening stage. Through discussions with them we've come to the conclusion that the number of applicants has probably sky rocketed due to COVID and that there are thus now more hard requirements.

I've got a few diffferent options, with some offers already. Of course I've discussed them with people around me but think I'm in need of some fresh input.

1) Strategy consulting at a Tier 2 (In the interview process)
2) Strategy consulting at a small boutique (Waiting on first responses)
3) Broad more technical consulting (90% STEM graduates, waiting on reply after last round, expect offer)
4) Industry specific but broad range of services consulting (minimal strategy, offers)
5) Data science positions and try to enter MBB through the analytics side before moving laterally (no concrete steps yet)

It might even be possible to combine some of these by taking on one of the more technical positions and if/when an offer comes from a Tier 2/boutique asking to defer for 3-6 months. I am guessing that option 1 or 2 would be best with the goal of getting into MBB. Of course I am in a situation where any of the options would in and of themselves be very nice career paths.

To anyone who makes it through all that: thanks for reading and for any input you may have!

Just got turned down for all of MBB in central europe pre interview after being refered and am considering my options to maximise my chances on a second try in a year.

My background is in STEM and I got my undergrad and PhD from different top 10 universities (worldwide) with top marks. I speak 4 languages fluently, have had quite a few high impact extracuriculars throughout my studies, and have led different national service units up to around 50 people (including ones with tasks that are actually relevant for consulting). Where I fall short is on the work experience front as I have not had an internship or fixed position in any industry.

Based on the people I know in the offices here, a lack of industry experience has not been a dealbreaker in the past. In fact those who refered me have mostly been from a similar background and have all been astonished that I did not get through the screening stage. Through discussions with them we've come to the conclusion that the number of applicants has probably sky rocketed due to COVID and that there are thus now more hard requirements.

I've got a few diffferent options, with some offers already. Of course I've discussed them with people around me but think I'm in need of some fresh input.

1) Strategy consulting at a Tier 2 (In the interview process)
2) Strategy consulting at a small boutique (Waiting on first responses)
3) Broad more technical consulting (90% STEM graduates, waiting on reply after last round, expect offer)
4) Industry specific but broad range of services consulting (minimal strategy, offers)
5) Data science positions and try to enter MBB through the analytics side before moving laterally (no concrete steps yet)

It might even be possible to combine some of these by taking on one of the more technical positions and if/when an offer comes from a Tier 2/boutique asking to defer for 3-6 months. I am guessing that option 1 or 2 would be best with the goal of getting into MBB. Of course I am in a situation where any of the options would in and of themselves be very nice career paths.

To anyone who makes it through all that: thanks for reading and for any input you may have!

Thanks to everyone who commented! It has really helped me organise my thoughts on the issue. I thought I was ok with all five of the options but it’s now clear to me that only the first (maybe the second) would make me happy and that otherwise I would rather do a postdoc. I’ll try to combine this choice with a move to one of the two or three other cities in Europe I’ve always wanted to spend a year or three in but haven’t yet. As a nice side effect it also seems like a good path to land a strategy job back here long term if that turns out to be the correct path. If all this fails then I'll find a postdoc in a nice location! — Anonymous A on Mar 13, 2021

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Denis

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Hi,

I will keep my recommendation purposefully narrow to make it easier for you. 2 Options I d do myself in your situation:

1) Tier-2 strategy consulting (we are easily talking about 5-10 firms here)
2) Transaction Advisory at one of the Big 4, preferrably PwC

I dont think it helps you for MBB if you go any other route to be honest, you need to be as close as possible to the "MBB heartbeat", this is 1) client service business, 2) high workload, 3) reputable firms, 4) project work in the form of deals / business problems for external clients.

Feel free to reach out to me since I have been coaching a lot of Central European (Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands) candidates for MBB and non-MBB specifically.

In any case, start with prep ideally 3-5 months before you plan to have your interviews. The sooner the better for you.

Best of luck - keep pushing - dont let these throwbacks get to you,

Denis

Hi,

I will keep my recommendation purposefully narrow to make it easier for you. 2 Options I d do myself in your situation:

1) Tier-2 strategy consulting (we are easily talking about 5-10 firms here)
2) Transaction Advisory at one of the Big 4, preferrably PwC

I dont think it helps you for MBB if you go any other route to be honest, you need to be as close as possible to the "MBB heartbeat", this is 1) client service business, 2) high workload, 3) reputable firms, 4) project work in the form of deals / business problems for external clients.

Feel free to reach out to me since I have been coaching a lot of Central European (Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands) candidates for MBB and non-MBB specifically.

In any case, start with prep ideally 3-5 months before you plan to have your interviews. The sooner the better for you.

Best of luck - keep pushing - dont let these throwbacks get to you,

Denis

(edited)

Book a coaching with Gaurav

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Hey there!

Sorry to hear that they didn’t even give you a chance at the first interview. Unfortunately, it is the influence of the current situation, but don’t give up! With all of your background, you actually have great chances.

As the colleagues already have given some explicit advice on particular points, I would like to add some general things.

  1. Compare the work conditions of all the options you have. Take those which provides convenient conditions for you

  2. Don’t hesitate to start out from boutiques. In some cases, it might be the best option

  3. Focus more on those, which are specifically interesting for you. Data science positions sound nice but you really should be into it.

Sounds good?

GB

Hey there!

Sorry to hear that they didn’t even give you a chance at the first interview. Unfortunately, it is the influence of the current situation, but don’t give up! With all of your background, you actually have great chances.

As the colleagues already have given some explicit advice on particular points, I would like to add some general things.

  1. Compare the work conditions of all the options you have. Take those which provides convenient conditions for you

  2. Don’t hesitate to start out from boutiques. In some cases, it might be the best option

  3. Focus more on those, which are specifically interesting for you. Data science positions sound nice but you really should be into it.

Sounds good?

GB

Book a coaching with Ken

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Sorry to hear it hasn't worked out for you this time round. I don't know which ranking you are referring to but assuming you have graduated from schools like Harvard/Stanford/Oxbridge/etc. I am shocked you didn't get a single interview. The work experience should really not be an issue and so you definitely would benefit from getting someone to give you detailed feedback on your CV.

I feel Denis is spot on in terms of what you should consider next. Having said that, I'm personally not a strong believer in taking a job as a potential stepping stone to MBB, there's never any assurance. It's important that you choose something that you are genenuiely excited about where you will learn, develop and thrive.

All the best!

Sorry to hear it hasn't worked out for you this time round. I don't know which ranking you are referring to but assuming you have graduated from schools like Harvard/Stanford/Oxbridge/etc. I am shocked you didn't get a single interview. The work experience should really not be an issue and so you definitely would benefit from getting someone to give you detailed feedback on your CV.

I feel Denis is spot on in terms of what you should consider next. Having said that, I'm personally not a strong believer in taking a job as a potential stepping stone to MBB, there's never any assurance. It's important that you choose something that you are genenuiely excited about where you will learn, develop and thrive.

All the best!

Book a coaching with Adi

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Plenty of great advice by coaches already. I want to echo two main points :

1. Dont make decisions NOW with the aim/hope of making into MBB in future. You cant predict the future and there really is no gurantee.

2. Choose that job which is a better FIT with your career aspirations, values and risk apetite. Focus on giving your best in the NOW and enjoy the work. Good things will happen

Plenty of great advice by coaches already. I want to echo two main points :

1. Dont make decisions NOW with the aim/hope of making into MBB in future. You cant predict the future and there really is no gurantee.

2. Choose that job which is a better FIT with your career aspirations, values and risk apetite. Focus on giving your best in the NOW and enjoy the work. Good things will happen

Book a coaching with Ian

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Hi there,

I couldn't agree more with Adi

While #1 and #2 are the most direct paths to MBB, please don't make your life about this end-all-be-all goal of getting to MBB! You never know, you may get there after all those years and realize you hate it.

Please, also make sure to enjoy the journey.

Good luck!

Hi there,

I couldn't agree more with Adi

While #1 and #2 are the most direct paths to MBB, please don't make your life about this end-all-be-all goal of getting to MBB! You never know, you may get there after all those years and realize you hate it.

Please, also make sure to enjoy the journey.

Good luck!

Book a coaching with Henning

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Sorry to hear! The other coaches have commented on the more strategic points enough, so I won't bore you with a repition of what they said. Just one additional comment: You might also have your CV & CL checked by someone with experience. Your profile sounds great and you had internal referrals, so I'm a bit surprised you didn't get invited at any of the firms.

Sorry to hear! The other coaches have commented on the more strategic points enough, so I won't bore you with a repition of what they said. Just one additional comment: You might also have your CV & CL checked by someone with experience. Your profile sounds great and you had internal referrals, so I'm a bit surprised you didn't get invited at any of the firms.

Book a coaching with Francesco

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Hi there,

Sorry to hear you did not manage to land an invitation. The change due to Covid is not only on the demand side – consulting companies are also hiring less in some offices.

Option 1 that you listed is definitely the best. Depending on the size of the boutique, Option 2 may also work, but it depends on the brand of the boutique.

In general, you should be able to easily identify the likelihood of a transition on LinkedIn. You can filter by people in MBB for that particular company who worked before for the options listed.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi there,

Sorry to hear you did not manage to land an invitation. The change due to Covid is not only on the demand side – consulting companies are also hiring less in some offices.

Option 1 that you listed is definitely the best. Depending on the size of the boutique, Option 2 may also work, but it depends on the brand of the boutique.

In general, you should be able to easily identify the likelihood of a transition on LinkedIn. You can filter by people in MBB for that particular company who worked before for the options listed.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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