Working in foreign offices

experience abroad internship MBB target university
Recent activity on Nov 03, 2022
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 31, 2022

Hello,

I'm still a student and I'd like to apply in MBB strategy consulting. However, I have several questions, since I'd ideally prefer to work in Dubai (Middle Eastern thematics) or Pacific region (L.A., Sydney, NZ, SE Asia).

My degree passes the screening in France, and McKinsey is actually an active partner of the institution. However, I don't know if it will pass the screening in all of the other offices. So:

1. Should I do everything in France? (i.e. internships + starting working there if I manage to get recruited then ask for a mutation in a foreign office). I'm just curious about compagnies' willingness to pay for VISA/establishment fees when they already have a lot of “locals” (exception: Dubai, and New Zealand, who are lacking manoeuvre). 

2. Should I directly try to apply abroad? I'm scared that my degree doesn't pass the screening abroad although it passes the screening in Western Europe (the French system is unique regarding higher education). There's the 3 MBB cabinets coming in our campus in a month or so, but I have to prepare my gap year (2 internships) and I'd like to get the information ASAP because I'd like to do one of the two abroad, and due to the process/VISA/etc. I can't wait until December/January (with the year-end vacation). 

3. Is one internship in France + one abroad good enough experience? Also, if you have any tips regarding which kind of internships, because I get a lot of different things. Most are like: “one internship in M&A/VC/PE and one in a CAC40/NASDAQ100 company." Could you advise a sort of list of different positions that I should massively apply to, and which internships are the most valuable? 

Thanks in advance for your answers. I'd really love to have an international experience, and the expat lifestyle really interests me. However, I'm having a hard time finding information, especially in strategy consulting. I've got a lot of info about finance, and London-Paris-Switzerland-Monaco works extremely well (internships, first jobs), and the potential evolution internationally is quite good (but limited, mainly NYC, Singapore, Abu Dhabi).  

 

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Eishan
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Nov 01, 2022
Helping consulting aspirants crack the case interview and achieve thier dream job. Bain I LBS MBA I Uber I Bloomberg

Hi there! Its great to hear that you want to move abroad and want that life experience 

  1. France: You would find it easiest to recruit in France and then you can work locally for 1-3 years and then transfer for rotations or permanent transfers abroad.
  2. Direct application abroad: This is interesting and it would depend a bit on the demand supply of the office and the ease of getting a visa. For eg. If your main goal is Dubai, it is worth a shot as all the firms are hiring quite a lot in the middle east due to the growth and it is easy to get a Visa. However, for a country like Singapore, it might be harder as it is a very popular office and visas are not very easy to come by. 

In short, direct application abroad is possible if you find the right office and you are able to tailor your story to meet that. Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.  

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Francesco
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replied on Nov 01, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Should I do everything in France? (i.e. internships + starting working there if I manage to get recruited then ask for a mutation in a foreign office).

If your school is recognized as target in France and you are not sure about the recognition abroad, you are going to have an advantage in France.

You should be able to verify the odds abroad by checking on LinkedIn if alumni of your school managed to move abroad directly in the past or not.

Unless otherwise stated, you should have ability to get a working visa in your target country and speak the local language (some companies don’t have the local language requirement in some regions, eg the Middle East).

An important factor in getting the interview is also if you have a referral, and I would expect that to be easier in France as well. For general tips on referrals you can check the following:

How to Get an MBB Invitation

The Exact Steps to Get a Referral

2) Should I directly try to apply abroad? I'm scared that my degree doesn't pass the screening abroad although it passes the screening in Western Europe (the French system is unique regarding higher education). 

See answer 1.

3) Is one internship in France + one abroad good enough experience? Also, if you have any tips regarding which kind of internships, because I get a lot of different things.

A good internship would be one in another consulting company, IB in a top bank or in the strategy division of a big brand/grow-stage startup. But there could also be other options. If you manage one in PE or VC (which are usually a lot more competitive) that’s great as well.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Benjamin
Expert
updated an answer on Nov 03, 2022
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer with ~5 years of interviewing experience

Hello,

Sharing my perspective based on working 8 years in SEA and having talked to/known quite a few consultants who have worked abroad and gone through similar paths that you are considering 

1. Should I do everything in France?

  • The easiest (least hurdled) path would be to start in France
  • In many countries - local language ability is key. E.g. if you are applying to an office in SEA like Vietnam or Indonesia, not knowing Vietnamese or Bahasa would place you at a disadvantage. Flip the scenario around, you have more advantage than a non-native/citizen who is trying to apply to France
  • The visa concern is a real one - but this is very country dependent. In the past 1-2 years, even Singapore has tightened visas and some firms have limited interviewing volumes of non-citizens/residents

2. Should I directly try to apply abroad?

  • There is typically no harm in applying abroad if you are able to
  • Bigger firms will have a defined list of target schools. HR will typically cross-check your school, and even if they don't you can always clarify that you are from a target school (albeit in another country)
  • However the big question a recruiter/local office will have is “why should we hire you over a local?”
    • What skills/knowledge do you bring that a local wouldn't have?
    • If I hire you and invest in you, how do I know that you won't leave quickly and then I ‘lose’ that investment?
    • Am I even able able to hire you (if there are quota restrictions)?
  • To add more color from a SEA perspective, often the non-Singapore offices have more quotas/ability to take non-locals
  • Would suggest to talk to a recruiter at your target firms to figure out the current situation better

3. Is one internship in France + one abroad good enough experience?

  • I'll give a shorter point on this as I'm sure other coaches will be able to share great and more detailed advice on this
  • Just don't forget to enjoy your internships as well - being passionate about something even though it may not be ‘relevant’ can sometimes be rewarding in its own way or make you stand out

Without further context to your other life aspirations and career goals, I would I would say go for the path that is the easiest that gets you into MBB. At MBB, there will be plenty of internal mobility opportunities - sharing what's possible from a BCG perspective

  • Cross office staffing: Getting staffed on a project in another country. Not the easiest (esp. when local business is booming) but possible. BCG normally works on a system staffing basis but I have had colleagues on SEA projects who were from EU/US/North Asia/ANZ
  • Structured programs (ambassadorships): Structured mobility programs where you spend ~1 year in another office, and you are given a support system and additional benefits e.g. housing, relocation. Normally for Associates to Project Leaders
  • Structured programs (practice area ambassadorship): Spend 6-12+ months in another office and focusing only on a specific practice area. Typically for more tenured consultants who already have some PA expertise
  • Temporary transfers: Transfer 6-12+ months to another office (personal reasons like spouse/family is often a strong justification)
  • Permanent transfers: Full time transfer to another office  (personal reasons like spouse/family is often a strong justification)

(edited)

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 02, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hi there,

  1. Apart from France, you definitely have a shot at Dubai, where most consultants are expats anyway. For the other countries, I would rather go via an internal transfer after 1-2 years.
  2. You should be fine in Dubai (see above).
  3. Any large global corporation or tier-2 consultancy will do. Think of areas such as business development, strategy, and corporate finance.

All the best!

Florian

 

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 02, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

There's a lot missing from your profile! But it sounds like you are French and working in France, correct?

If that is the case you really are maximizing your odds by applying there….and you can always transfer later.

That said every company + office will be different! You should network across these offices and figure out what makes most sense (where you have good odds). You can look to submit 2-3 office preferences and diversify your selection to reduce risk.

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Maikol
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 03, 2022
BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

To work in France you need to be fluent in French, there is no compromise on that.

That said, I would try directly to join an MBB. You don't need two firms in your CV once you joined MBB.

Regarding M&A and PE, just be mindful that at the moment they are mostly in a hiring freeze. 

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Eishan gave the best answer

Eishan

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Helping consulting aspirants crack the case interview and achieve thier dream job. Bain I LBS MBA I Uber I Bloomberg
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