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What are the different expectations for graduate vs. MBA candidates?

case study differences graduate Interview MBA MBB
New answer on Nov 20, 2020
4 Answers
2.6 k Views
Anonymous asked on Aug 17, 2018

I will be applying for graduate schemes but have been practicing largely with more qualified candidates and benchmarking myself against them. Are there things that are expected of an MBA candidate but not entry-level graduate schemes? If so, what are they?

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Anonymous replied on Aug 19, 2018

A couple differences:

  1. An MBA applicant will be expected to have better business acumen/terminology, and so are also more likely to get cases with more advanced concepts (e.g. NPV/IRR). On the other hand, a History undergraduate applying to MBB would not be expected to know this.
  2. MBA applicants will have previous work experience and will also be expected to interact with more senior clients once joining the firm, so will be expected to show a greater level of maturity and leadership/team experiences.
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replied on Aug 17, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It is supposed that the MBA candidates should demonstrate more maturity and business sense and thus the process should be tougher.

However, the recruiting process in the top MBA schools is much easier (30% of people who get the offers have 3 MBB offers, 50% have 2) and most of them do not spend too much time on preparation. 2nd tier MBAs have a more competitive situation and it's a way harder to get an offer.


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Anonymous on Aug 20, 2018

Hi Vlad - thanks for your answer! Could you explain what you mean by "maturity" in this context?

replied on Aug 20, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework


Suprisingly I often found that graduate candidate are performing better during the case study than MBA candidate. To me, the main reason is that case study remain a very formal exercise where graduate are better trained (for example they are better at maths..).
Eventually the expectation for MBAs are adapted with more focus on maturity, structure and judgement. The key moments are to demonstrate this skills

- Clarification questions

- initial approach

- Recommandation

Hope this helps



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 20, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


The "topics" or "skillsets" judged will be the same ones, but the bar that you are supposed to meet or raise is what differs.



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