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!