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What do MBB think when first-year analysts from Tier 2 Strategy firms apply for Analyst positions?

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Recent activity on Sep 19, 2017
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Anonymous C asked on Sep 18, 2017

Hi all,

I'm a first-year at a tier-2 Strategy brand that is part of a larger firm, and am deciding to apply to MBB as an Analyst - essentially starting my career again.

The motivations are:

(1) Stronger brand recognition + prestige

(2) Current strategy arm is part of the wider firm which is not known for strategy consulting. Hence, I want to be part of a company with Strategy Consulting as its bread-and-butter business

(3) Other (not interview-friendly) reasons: compensation, calibre of people etc.

With this context, I'd like to understand what MBB people generally think of when they hear a first-year from a tier-2 firm is applying to theirs, given I understand that one year is a rather (generally) shorter period of time to start looking elsewhere. Is this a common thing?

In terms of timing, I think if I don't apply now then there's not much rationale to apply in my second or third year since Associate positions in MBB require around 4-5 years of industry experience to start applying.

Thanks, everyone.

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 19, 2017
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

as Vlad said, timing for the application is good, although you will likely join as a new hire. The alternative would be apply with a 2-year experience, in this case they will probably recognize you as an analyst (McK) or associate (BCG) with 1-year seniority; there would be less slots for such position though, as it would not be the traditional entry level one.

From the point of view of HR it is totally normal to receive such applications, however you will have to come out with a good story why you did not apply for MBB after graduation (or if you did and got rejected, how you improved in the meantime).

As Vlad mentioned, referrals can be of substantial help to boost your application; at the following link (second post) you can find some reference on how to structure the referral process:

Hope this helps,


updated an answer on Sep 18, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


From the interviewer perspective, it is totally fine, since you aim at boosting your career and skills.

From the HR perspective - it depends on the company and the country you are applying in. I know the examples when one year in Tier2 company was enough to apply for McKinsey and Bain, while BCG was looking for more experience.

To be on a safe side I would try to apply using a reference. Thus you will significantly increase your chances to be invited for a test/interview and the consultant who made a reference will earn some money. Of course, it should be someone you know, not just a random person from Linkedin.

Typically if someone makes a reference he has to point out why you are a good fit for the company and something exceptional about you. So make sure that he provides that information




Ray on Sep 18, 2017

Thanks, Vlad. Really appreciate this


Francesco gave the best answer


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