Hi! I have been lurking around WSO for quite a while now, so I figured it was time to make a contribution to the site myself now that I actually have something interesting to talk about. Anyways, here it goes:
Quick backstory: Western European guy, studied in my home country (at a nationalrecruiting) for a couple years then transferred to the US (top 50 school, non-target). During my senior year I applied to my country's offices of all the three big names; in two I didn't even make it past the resume screening and for the third one I did make it to the first round interviews but screwed it (after the other two rejected me right away I had kind of given up on consulting so I didn't really prepare). I ended up accepting a front-office position in Capital Markets in NYC at the bank where I had interned the previous summer, but decided to re-apply to the MBBs (same location). After much work, I have just signed an offer from one of the MBBs that didn't even put me past the resume screening the first time, in addition to getting an offer .
Now, a couple pieces of information/tips for those of you considering reapplying, and then I'll leave it to you guys for any questions:
1) I don't know if this is the case in all MBB offices, but I know that in a lot of them (including the ones in my country, obviously) they allow you to reapply within a year rather than making you wait the 18 months - 2 years you might have heard before. The only caveat to this is that they won't accept re-applicants who actually got to the interview-rounds. So in my case, I could apply to (and potentially not be ignored at) the two MBBs that didn't interview me the first time.
2) While I don't necessarily know the importance of the cover letter on a first try, I do believe it is critical as a second-time applicant. Make sure most of your cover letter is about WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE YOU LAST APPLIED AND WHY YOU ARE NOW A BETTER CANDIDATE (and why you know "deserve" to be interviewed). I put that in caps because if there is anything you should remember from this entire post it's that.
3) Another key is actually believing that you can make it. During my senior year I viewed MBB as something only mega-geniuses with 4.0 GPAs from Ivies and three years worth of experience could get, but after seeing some more "normal" people get in the year I failed, I realized that if they could I could too. It's all about being hard-working and confident.
4) As for interview prep, I used Victor Cheng's LOMS. I only listened to it once though, and I skipped some of the recordings (I just used it to get a feel ofworked and how to structure the cases). I also practiced A LOT on Preplounge, and I really recommend it (not getting paid to say that, I promise haha). I think the key to the case interview is practicing, and the more you do, the more you will improve and the more confident you will be.
I'll leave it there since I don't want to bore you guys with more details, but feel free to ask anything!