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What's the best way to get referrals during your undergraduate?

Bain BCG consulting analyst MBB MBB Consulting McKinsey undergraduate business degree
New answer on Oct 31, 2023
6 Answers
2.2 k Views
Natalie Nguyen asked on Jul 07, 2020

Hi all!

I recently posted a question asking about how COVID would affect the recruitment process. I've messaged a few of you already who were happy to take a look at my resume. Some of you mentioned that referrals were important and its something I'm new too. I recently got into USC Marshall; however, because all resources have switched to an online format, there is no way to network face-to-face which I believe is the most solid way to gain connections.

With that being said, I mentioned before that my goal is to get into MBB Consulting. What is the best method to gain referrals when everything is online? How should I connect with USC Alum who works in MBB (if any professionals on this platform know of someone personal that comes to mind, I would love to connect with them)?

I have tried Linkedin and have messaged tons of people but have gotten little response back, so I am wondering if I am doing anything wrong. It seems difficult to find a mentor nowadays.

Thanks so much for your insights everyone!

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Francesco
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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 07, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Natalie,

You can definitely find referrals without meeting in person – this is the method I followed and recommend, as it is the most practical (now it is also the only one you can use!)

To find a referral, you should follow three steps:

  1. Identify the people that can help you
  2. Write them a customized email
  3. Have a call and indirectly ask for a referral

As general tips:

  • Don’t use LinkedIn for your communication – emails work better. You should target 30% conversion for your messages; if you are not achieving that, there is space for improvement.
  • When sending emails, your goal should be to organize a call, not to ask questions – you can then use the call for the questions.
  • You need to close the call with an indirect request for a referral – don’t leave that to chances. There are specific ways to phrase it.

Before the call, you should have your CV and Cover ready – in this way you can send them right away it if the person wants to refer you.

If you are interested to know more on referrals, please feel free to PM me. I provide a 30 min session at 50% discount to understand the exact steps to get MBB referrals, directly from home – no events participation required.

This includes all the scripts needed for the email to send and the call to have with the consultant.

Following the same process, I managed to get 6 invitations out of 6 applications – including all MBB. I regularly see my mentees getting referrals for MBB with it.

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Axel
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replied on Jul 07, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi Natalie,

If you are messaging a lot of alumni from your school and getting a limited response it sounds like you are doing something wrong in who you are approaching or what message you are using to connect with them.

Also, you may want to consider your timing of trying to connect with people. It is going to be most effective at the time you are preparing your applications for an internship or the full-time role. MBB consultants do get paid referral rewards if one of their referred contacts is hired so spending time networking with somebody who is just starting their undergrad may seem less interesting to them.

-A

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Cristian
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replied on Oct 31, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Seems like you really struggled with getting referrals over LinkedIn, but if used right it's actually a great channel for referrals. 

Here's how to do it step by step (including some template messages you can send out):


Best,
Cristian

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T
Expert
replied on Jul 07, 2020
Ex-McKinsey & Harvard MBA | FREE 1st Coaching session!

Hello Natalie,

Great question. A few thoughts:

1 - On Linkedin only send messages to your connections. Sending a message to someone who you are not connected with has a very low "conversion rate"

2 - Try to be more targeted: Yes, this a "numbers game", but do not reach out to all alumni. You should try to find a common feature besides the university (e.g., student club, hometown)

3 - Ask the university's careers team for help (if applicable): Alumni might be more prone to answer to an "official" contact and they can then send you a list of "possible mentors"

4 - Applying for a summer internship is an "easier way" to get in: If you just started university, it is easier to apply for a summer internship with the goal of "learning more about the industry and the consultants' roles" than saying that your goal is to get into MBB consulting.

I hope it helps! Good luck :)

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Anonymous replied on Jul 07, 2020

Hi Natalie,

I fully understand your situation.

Drop me a line that I can help you more individually and we can discuss the possible ways on how you can find referrals for your.

Best,

André

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 08, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello Natalie,

COVID indeed did not affect this front too much, since most of the networking is not done in person.

Have you considered tlking to your Uni´s career services?

Cheers,

Clara

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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