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What are my chances of transitioning into an MBB firm

applying or not to consulting and chances currently preparing for MBB
New answer on Jan 02, 2024
10 Answers
472 Views
Anonymous A asked on Dec 22, 2023

Hi! I graudated from an Ivy 5 years ago (good gpa), got a Masters at Oxford/Cambridge (graduated with a first class degree). I had a little bit of an untraditional career path, working here and there at big companies but didn't establish a clear professional trajectory/narrative. I finally have reached the conclusion that consulting sounds right for me but am worried that it might be a bit too late and don't want to start prepping if my chances are low. so, 1. what are my chances for joining an MBB firm and 2. If I join, what level will I join? I think i'm too experienced to join entry level but too junior to join with the MBAs. 

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David
Expert
replied on Dec 22, 2023
Case Coach | Bain & Company | PwC M&A Deals Advisory | INSEAD MBA | SG & SEA

Hi there,

Hope you are well. See my response below:

1. First of all, you will have a chance to join MBB given your academic background and working experience in MNCs. 

2. In terms of what level you will join, let me use Bain as an example. With your working experience, most likely they will offer you either a 2nd year Associate Consultant (entry-level for undergrades) or Senior Associate Consultant (one level above Associate Consultant and one level below Consultant). This will depend on your experience and interview performance. Therefore, there might be some room for negotiation. Alternatively, if you decide to pursue an MBA, you will join as a consultant. Typically, people have about 5 years of working experience when they start to pursue an MBA so that could be an option as well.  

I hope this helps and feel free to reach out if you need any support on this. 

Cheers,

David

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Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 22, 2023
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

it sounds like you have degrees from MBB target schools. Your GPA should be 3.6+ to not be a hindrance that would need to be compensated by other factors. However, the GPA aspect tends to lose relevance the longer it has been since your graduation.

Your previous job experience will matter a lot: 

  • Can you show that you have acquired and demonstrated relevant skills that will be useful for MBB? 
  • Do you have any industry/functional expertise that you can bring to the table to hit the ground running from Day 1?
  • Did you work for companies that might be interesting clients for MBB?

The overall chances for joining MBB will be low given that less than 5% of applications are successful. The current economic environment makes it even more competitive as hiring has slowed down.

Your specific chances will depend on a lot of factors that go beyond of what you have shared here. So I would have to see your full CV to give a better assessment (and that would only cover the initial application document screening phase). After that you will still have to convince in the interviews for which you need to be well prepared. It therefore depends on how you prepare. If you are not well prepared for the interviews, your chances go to zero.

In general though, you should try to get an internal referral from someone at each firm you want to apply to. That will considerably increase your chance to go beyond the CV screen and get a shot at a first round interview. Also, if someone is willing to refer you, it means that your profile is perceived as strong enough to be interesting for the firm.

The level you join as an experienced hire can vary and will be influenced by your interview performance as well. The firm will typically tell you where they see you. Entry level does seem too low given 5 years of experience though.

Best of luck

 

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Diana
Expert
replied on Dec 24, 2023
Ex McKinsey Consultant| Coached/interviewed 20+ students| France & USA

Hi there, 

You have all your chances. I'd suggest crafting an engaging narrative about your work experience. Presenting your experience as unconventional could lead to misunderstandings. So consider seeking coaching to develop a persuasive 'work story' from your resume. 

1. Chances of Joining an MBB Firm

Your educational background from Ivy League and Oxbridge with strong academic performance is certainly impressive and aligns well with the typical profiles sought by MBB (McKinsey, BCG, and Bain) firms. While your career path might be untraditional, MBB firms often appreciate diverse experiences, as they bring unique perspectives and skills.

2. Joining Level

Regarding the level at which you might join:

Not Entry-Level: With five years of work experience and a master's degree, you are indeed overqualified for an entry-level position like Business Analyst or Pre-Associate at McKinsey. They might propose you an entry role as an Associate and if you perform well, a fast track to Engagement manager.

Experience-Hire Route: You'd likely be considered an "Experienced Hire." This category is for professionals who have gained significant work experience and can bring valuable industry knowledge or skills to the firm.

Next Steps:

Networking: Leverage your alumni networks and professional contacts. Networking is crucial in consulting recruitment, especially for experienced hires.

Tailored Application: Prepare your CV and cover letter to reflect your unique value proposition, highlighting how your diverse experiences can benefit the firm and its clients.

Case Preparation: Start preparing for case interviews. Utilize resources like "Case in Point," "Vault Guide to the Case Interview," and practice cases from MBB websites.

Fit Interview Preparation: Prepare for fit interviews by reflecting on your experiences, leadership qualities, and why consulting is the right choice for you now.

Seek Feedback: If possible, get feedback on your CV, cover letter, and interview techniques from current or former MBB consultants.

Apply Thoughtfully: Consider applying to multiple firms and offices to increase your chances. Different offices might have varying needs and might appreciate your unique background differently.

Hope that helps!

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 22, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

I seriously don't get it. 

Why would you think that with an ivy & oxbridge background you wouldn't be able to get a job in consulting? 

Of course you can. And having sampled other industries and firms in the meantime shouldn't be a liability, but an asset in the way you communicate it in your cover letter and during the interviews. 

You need a good application strategy and a good personal storyline. Have a look at the following material to get going on the first one:


Good luck!
Cristian

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 26, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Just to set up expectations, chances are very low for everyone :)

Being said that, you profile looks good to give it a try at MBB. I am a little unsure about your entry position since you have not that much professional experience (around 3-4 years). In some geographies they can consider your application as Associate or Junior Associate equivalent. 

Make sure you network in your region before applying to set your expectations.

Good luck!

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 25, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Hard to give a more specific POV without looking at your detailed CV - but here are some general thoughts:

  • Broadly, the CV seems to be ‘okay’ - you went to a good school, had good grades and have brand name work expreience
  • Story can always be crafted / built up tactfully and smartly - get some feedback and 3rd party POV on what could work for you
  • 5 years probably you will join as a Senior Associate (in BCG terms). You may be able to negotiate for Consultant1 but depends on the office. Definitely you will not come in as Project Leader

For reference, BCG's progression is as follows

  • Associate (2 years, fresh grad role) → Senior Associate (1 year, not all offices have this) → Consultant (2 years, post-MBA role) → Project Leader

Hope this helps!

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 24, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate
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Nicolas
Expert
replied on Dec 28, 2023
30% off 1st coaching Promo | #1 Canada Coach | 10y+ Coaching & recruiting | BCG + Industry Executive | INSEAD MBA

Hello, 

The good thing is you have a chance to get into MBB! 

For the level question, they can always accomodate by making an intermediate “senior” level on entry level (e.g. senior associate BCG, Senior BA McK). 

Also depending on where you currently work, I wouldn't see it too much as a “step down” even if joining at entry level, given that if you do in 2 years you would be at MBA level (salary $200K+), so sometimes “one step back to jump 3 step forward!”. 

Happy to help! Best of luck, let me know if I can help :) 
Cheers, Nicolas Vilmin  

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 23, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) What are my chances for joining an MBB firm

A proper assessment would require to see your full CV/profile, so it is difficult to comment. If you want you can post it anonymized for some feedback. 

2) If I join, what level will I join? 

I assume you have around 3 years of experience. In that case, most likely Senior BA/Junior Associate (McKinsey) and Senior Associate (BCG/Bain), i.e., the positions between entry-level and post-MBA.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Jan 02, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

You have a chance to join as an experienced candidate at a pre-MBA level.

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David gave the best answer

David

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