Tier 2 consultancies reject MBB candidates/ offer holders (MBA intern) - why?
I would like to share an interesting observation, and I am trying to figure out why.
For those MBA (summer intern position at London office) who received MBB internship interview offers, at least half of them didn't receive any tier 2 consultancies interview offer (e.g. strategy&, EYP, LEK, Kearney etc). I wonder why?
There is rumour saying that Tier 2 firms have their own algo that will filter out candidates that fit into MBB candidates profiles, so they will not even waste time interviewing them. Is this true?
Would love to hear some insights!
Adding more info here, top EU MBA (LBS/ INSEAD). And candidates went to tier 2 company presentations, coffee chats - no significant differences between the effort put into applying for MBB and that of for Tier 2s.
For background, I worked at a T2 in the US for a few years including some help with recruitment
MBB and T2 candidate profiles (and often the candidates themselves) are the same. It would be insane for a T2 to try and filter out good MBB candidates since (a) that'd filter out most of their good candidates since they're hiring for the same skills, (b) there are far more good MBB candidates than there are MBB offers so again you wouldn't filter somebody out for mere candidacy, (c) they have limited information and limited ability to create a proxy of the MBB hiring process from which to judge who to exclude, and (d) it isn't like T2 partners, HR or staff are total defeatists afraid to compete with McK, Bain, or BCG
What you're most likely seeing is just an impact of how competitive recruitment is. After a certain quality threshold is reached, it can be arbitrary or random to an extent. It isn't uncommon for somebody to get an MBB offer in the same cycle they got rejected from a T2, B4, or other firm. While even a lack of interview seems surprising, (a) it could've been influenced by a random factor like variances between screeners, or (b) there could've been external factors e.g. just not hiring a lot of MBAs in a given cycle (keeping in mind the T2s are smaller). While your average MBB hire will be a better candidate than your average T2 hire, there's remarkable variance at the individual level
Thank you very much for sharing this!
A follow up question if you don't mind, wouldn't it be too much a coincidence that I have observed many candidates (we are talking about 10+ ) received at least 2 MBB summer intern interview invitations and have got 0 tier 2s? Since clearly their profiles /CV are good. I just feel that there might be a catch but not sure exactly what?
My hypothesis would be that the T2s they were applying for weren't really looking for incremental hires for one reason or another. There are plenty of reasons this could be the case, such as (non-exhaustively):
Bro who honestly cares?
I can confirm this is (at least partially) true.
I have an offer from one of the MBBs, and I did not get any interviews for tier 2 firms, but I'm entering at the BA/A/AC level rather than the A/C/C level.
It's only true because you want it to be true :)
To be fair, I think this may just be white noise you're observing.
However, I have also been filtered out of most T2 / B4 applications before interviews, and yet got interview invites to both BCG and Bain (all for FT positions in the UK), which echoes your own experience a bit.
I've also noticed that as myself and some classmates got MBB offers but didn't make it to final rounds at tier 2s
It's the same for Big 4 M&A / Deals / Transaction Services
They don't want to hire people who got unlucky with IB and fit the IB profile as they will likely leave earlier
They seem to prefer people with little to no experience for internships and grads
Me and my buddies all got IB gigs but didn't get any interviews for Big 4 M&A lol
I've worked at both MBB and T2. Here are the two main real reasons:
1) There is some natural randomness in the process - it explains part of what you're seeing but only small part
2) More importantly, T2's care waaay more about "fit" (i.e., they want to hear you rave about them). They're a lot more insecure compared to MBB on this
As a result, when I was at my T2 and leading recruitment, we'd routinely turn down very strong profiles who didn't engage with the firm - no coffee chats, no info sessions, didn't really express true interest, etc. In contrast, MBB generally doesn't care - they assume you want them.
It's a very classic scenario for top candidates to focus 95% of their time on MBB and not really engage with other firms. This is probably what's happening to the people you know.
What doesn't happen is "oh this person's so good, they'll never take our offer". For one, no one at a T2 wants to act on that kind of thought (because it means admitting it's true). More importantly, given the randomness, there's a chance they strike out at MBB and end up at your firm - so it's worth interviewing them.
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