Undergraduate new to the industry. Need advice.

Mubashir asked on Oct 13, 2019 - 2 answers

Hello,

I just finished my bachelors in business administration (BBA) from a non-target school in Dubai with a 3.5 GPA. I recently came across the management consulting industry and became more interested to become a consultant at MBB.

From my understanding, the ideal candidate not only aces the case and fit interviews but also has a strong academic, leadership and extracurricular background.

I do have a strong academic background as I graduated ‘with Distinction’ with 3.5 GPA. I also do have a decent extracurricular background (I was the director of photography for a few short films I made during high school years among other things). I was a shy kid in university so don’t have much leadership background. I don’t have any work nor internship experience yet (partly because of the local laws which severely limit work under 18).

I applied to MBB, Accenture, Deloitte, OW but so far have been unsuccessful to secure any interviews. My guess is it’s due to my lackluster extracurricular and leadership background, but more importantly because I don’t have any previous internship experience.

Consulting firms here don’t hold events through which I can network.

My question is, how can I improve my chances of getting into MBB? Do I first gain work experience in non-consulting roles and reapply in one year or is a more broad shift in strategy needed? How can I network with consultants here because there are no alumni from my university working in consulting firms.

I can share my Resume and Cover Letter if needed.

Thank you for your insight.

2 answers

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Best Answer
Jamie replied on Oct 13, 2019
Former Tier 2, now MBB

Hi Mubashir,

I will share my experience as a recent hire from MBB Dubai.

Funny enough, 2 years ago I applied straight from my Ph.D. to MBB Dubai, being rejected immediately after.

In my experience from friends, applying in Dubai straight out colleague without a real work experience can be quite difficult. I had several friends applying after MBA in a good school and receiving the feedback that they lacked experience.

In my opinion you have 3 options:

1) Do a master program in a target school. I know Europeans that did a master (not MBA) from a target school, applied to an internship and received a returning offer from MBB Dubai

2) Start in a 2 tier consulting firm. This was my path. I did roughly 18 months in a tier 2 consulting firm. even got promoted in the process and once I applied every top consulting firm wanted to interview me. I got multiple offers.

3) Go to the industry and apply in some time. I have a personal friend that spent some years working in an energy company and then applied to MBB and got in.

It all depends on the criteria you set for yourself (timing, skills, risk profile, ...)

Hope this helps!

Francesco
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replied on Oct 31, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

there may be several reason for the rejection, but probably the lack of work experience is the main reason. You can definitely reapply in some years as mentioned by Jamie, getting relevant work experience before. The ideal roles include:

  • Other strategy consulting firms, ideally Tier 2
  • Top strategy role for big brands

You could also reapply after an MBA if nothing else works.

Best,
Francesco