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5

Why is it so hard to make a office transfer?

Why is it so hard to make a office transfer?

Transfering out of Middle East office for a tier 2 is so difficult. I plan to transfer to San Francisco/NYC office (prefered), or Sydney/London as I want to do more diverse projects but have no clue/visibility of the office transfer and it doesn't seem like the office would like to transfer people out.

(I am already a post-MBA consultant so I won't be able to join another office after finishing another degree or something like that)

Why is it so hard to make a office transfer?

Transfering out of Middle East office for a tier 2 is so difficult. I plan to transfer to San Francisco/NYC office (prefered), or Sydney/London as I want to do more diverse projects but have no clue/visibility of the office transfer and it doesn't seem like the office would like to transfer people out.

(I am already a post-MBA consultant so I won't be able to join another office after finishing another degree or something like that)

5 answers

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Best Answer

Hey A,

In my career I had two transfers:

  1. From the Financial Services practice to Automotive within the same region
  2. From Munich to Dubai office

I need to say that transfers are a pretty tricky thing and require a lot of sensitive political skills.

Different companies offer three types of transfers:

  1. Temporary project assignment abroad (for the duration of the project)
  2. Short-term office exchange programms (usually between 3 and 12 months depending on the company)
  3. Permanent office transfer

All of them are different in terms of difficulty to get. While project assignments abroad are quite common and easy to get, permanent office transfers are very challenging and require hard work from your end and a bit of luck.

In any way you would need the support of your mentor, the staffing manager in your region as well as partner in the targeted office, who will push your transfer.

If you want to live on the west coast or Europe why don't you apply directly there?

If you need any help, just drop me a PM.

Happy to share my experience.

Best,

André

Hey A,

In my career I had two transfers:

  1. From the Financial Services practice to Automotive within the same region
  2. From Munich to Dubai office

I need to say that transfers are a pretty tricky thing and require a lot of sensitive political skills.

Different companies offer three types of transfers:

  1. Temporary project assignment abroad (for the duration of the project)
  2. Short-term office exchange programms (usually between 3 and 12 months depending on the company)
  3. Permanent office transfer

All of them are different in terms of difficulty to get. While project assignments abroad are quite common and easy to get, permanent office transfers are very challenging and require hard work from your end and a bit of luck.

In any way you would need the support of your mentor, the staffing manager in your region as well as partner in the targeted office, who will push your transfer.

If you want to live on the west coast or Europe why don't you apply directly there?

If you need any help, just drop me a PM.

Happy to share my experience.

Best,

André

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Hi, the 2 important aspects to focus on when interested to a transfer are the performance and the connections with the target office: try to strengthen at least one trusted relationship with a senior of the SF/NYC office.

Best,
Antonello

Hi, the 2 important aspects to focus on when interested to a transfer are the performance and the connections with the target office: try to strengthen at least one trusted relationship with a senior of the SF/NYC office.

Best,
Antonello

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Hi there,

I've transfered a few times within companies and have the following advice:

1) Build a stellar reputation - do good work, work hard, and be known as "the guy/gal" for xx

2) Build your network - network agressively (yes, networking doesn't end once you've gotten the job offer). Make sure you're known by and have allies in people who make decisions such as staffing managers, Partners (specifically those responsible for recruiting/resources and who are heads of industry/function verticals), etc.

2) b). When I say network "aggressively" please don't be needy/annoying :) There's nothing worse than someone who is obviously working the room or trying to please!

3) Look out for opportunities - as mentioned in this Q&A already, look for office transfers, short-term projects, ambassadorships, etc.)

4) Practice patience and be flexible - how long have you tried for? This might take a year. And you need to be ready to go at the flip of a coin.

Bide your time, keep pushing, be smart, and you'll get there!

Hi there,

I've transfered a few times within companies and have the following advice:

1) Build a stellar reputation - do good work, work hard, and be known as "the guy/gal" for xx

2) Build your network - network agressively (yes, networking doesn't end once you've gotten the job offer). Make sure you're known by and have allies in people who make decisions such as staffing managers, Partners (specifically those responsible for recruiting/resources and who are heads of industry/function verticals), etc.

2) b). When I say network "aggressively" please don't be needy/annoying :) There's nothing worse than someone who is obviously working the room or trying to please!

3) Look out for opportunities - as mentioned in this Q&A already, look for office transfers, short-term projects, ambassadorships, etc.)

4) Practice patience and be flexible - how long have you tried for? This might take a year. And you need to be ready to go at the flip of a coin.

Bide your time, keep pushing, be smart, and you'll get there!

Simple answer - demand and supply. There are a lot more talented candidates ready to work in San Fran, NYC and London vs Middle East offices

Of course anything is possible for exceptional consultants but you will need to be in the top 10% and that takes a lot of hard work and at least some luck.

So it's not only about your office not wanting to transfer you. That said if you make it to EM - mobility becomes wayyyy easier. Most offices experience EM shortage at one stage or the other and lots of mobility programs also exist for this tenure

Simple answer - demand and supply. There are a lot more talented candidates ready to work in San Fran, NYC and London vs Middle East offices

Of course anything is possible for exceptional consultants but you will need to be in the top 10% and that takes a lot of hard work and at least some luck.

So it's not only about your office not wanting to transfer you. That said if you make it to EM - mobility becomes wayyyy easier. Most offices experience EM shortage at one stage or the other and lots of mobility programs also exist for this tenure

I am very surprised to be honest. I thought the higher the level, the more difficult to move because of familiarity with the market, client relationship, pratice focus, etc. — Anonymous A on Jul 28, 2020

Not at all. Very few practices and skills are regional specific and as an EM you have more expertise to offer other offices. It is true that post transfer you will need to work hard to rebuild networks and relationships but the actual transfer process itself is much easier especially if you focus on practices and skills that are relevant to your target office — Anonymous B on Jul 29, 2020

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Hi!

I transferred across geographies several times within my time at McKinsey and BCG. In general, global mobility is still a bit easier within McKinsey. They also have the most structured and globally harmonized process.

The most important factor for transferring is being in good standing (good performance rating) and a clear "story" of why you want/need to move. On top of this, you have to get the support of the receiving office ("pull"), ideally by a partner, and your current office's PD needs to support you.

In terms of Seniority, there is no best level, even though the first one or two years are difficult because it is hard to cater for point a) above at such an early tenure, and pyramids will most likely be bottom-heavy in your target location anyway.

It becomes easier with Seniority. At McKinsey, especially EMs are a very scarce and valuable resource. Hence, it is easier to get the pull from the receiving office as an EM (almost all offices are in structural need of good performing EMs)

Cheers, Sidi

Hi!

I transferred across geographies several times within my time at McKinsey and BCG. In general, global mobility is still a bit easier within McKinsey. They also have the most structured and globally harmonized process.

The most important factor for transferring is being in good standing (good performance rating) and a clear "story" of why you want/need to move. On top of this, you have to get the support of the receiving office ("pull"), ideally by a partner, and your current office's PD needs to support you.

In terms of Seniority, there is no best level, even though the first one or two years are difficult because it is hard to cater for point a) above at such an early tenure, and pyramids will most likely be bottom-heavy in your target location anyway.

It becomes easier with Seniority. At McKinsey, especially EMs are a very scarce and valuable resource. Hence, it is easier to get the pull from the receiving office as an EM (almost all offices are in structural need of good performing EMs)

Cheers, Sidi