Why can't I get past the screening stage for MBB?

I tick most of the boxes (or at least from what I noticed) mentioned on this forum and elsewhere, (e.g. target schools, MNC experience, consulting experience, leadership extracurriculars), networked (not helping much I might add). I've applied twice now to MBB and still can't get an interview.

My impression wrt networking is that cold-emailing is difficult, and unless you have a friend who's willing to help introduce someone within the office its hard to get face-time networking. I've tried for over a year or two. maybe my strategy's wrong.

Also I'm applying to the Hong Kong and Singapore offices. I'm not sure if it's because these markets are more competitive vis-a-vis the US or European markets. Any help/advice would be great. Thanks

Comments (10)

Best Response
Jul 11, 2017 - 8:42am
galt2010, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Couple clarifying questions:

  • Are you still in school?

  • If so, are you in school in the region you are interested in?

  • Is your theory about cold emails based on a hunch, or have you actually been unsuccessful with getting people to respond?

Applying online can really be a black hole, so unless you have some sort of pull (like a referral, or even just being at a target with OCR for the office you are applying to it can be really difficult to get noticed. At my MBB an undergrad at Duke (for example) would have basically the same process interviewing for NYC, Dallas, or San Fran, but would need to jump through extra hoops to interview for an international office. Not impossible, but the process is less streamlined for someone at a target trying to leave the country.

I don't know what to say but that you should keep trying cold emails (I respond to them all the time, and have referred people that I thought would be good fits).

Jul 11, 2017 - 9:36am
arctan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

well I've just graduated, and no the schools aren't in the same regions. I've gotten people to reply, just not meet for face-to-face meetings where I'll be able to build a rapport and more meaningful impression/relationship leading on to hopefully a referral. I've spoken to countless (literally >50) people from my school at MBB, went to networking events, but just so happens I don't know anyone who knows someone well enough* (this is key here) in the aforementioned offices to garner a referral. Everyone gives the same boilerplate advice on applications and some are even contradictory depending on the market. But cheers, I think its really cool that you still take the time to reply cold emails. though I suspect not everyone is as inclined as you are to do as such.

Jul 11, 2017 - 8:56pm
mike ross, what's your opinion? Comment below:

cold emailing is fine, but literally just linkedin message every person who has some connection to your school, past job, etc- someone will respond- as for getting past resume screens, at McKinsey they attach the name of the person who referred you to their app, and BCG and Bain have similar screening processes so it helps a tremendous amount. I'd start that ASAP and it should help a lot

Jul 13, 2017 - 6:50am
nyclifer1234, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What are your grades like? How good is your experience? You're literally up against close to 100 people per spot.

Jul 13, 2017 - 8:37am
arctan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

3.7 GPA, tier 2 consulting experience x2, very well known MNCs x2, big 4 tech exp x1, leadership across the board as usual. everyone I showed my CV to said it was a strong application. But most of them were from European/US markets. I really suspect it may be a market issue, hence asking the question here where I may get more insight from some people who may be familiar/in a similar position before.

Jul 13, 2017 - 1:29pm
Susan-G, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think your background is strong. It doesn't make sense to me that you didn't get interviews (at lease you should get one from McK with that background. I have been seeing many people with a weaker/similar background landed interviews from McK without networking). But do you speak Mandarin? If not, your chance is very little in Hong Kong/Singapore offices. Why don't you try US offices?

fight for MBB
Jul 13, 2017 - 1:40pm
Orlando Salazar, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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