AMA: Re-applying to MBB and getting an offer

elxendo's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 23

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 national target for MBB recruiting) 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 from Monitor Deloitte.

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 of how the case interview worked 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!

Comments (7)

Feb 9, 2018

Great story! I have a similar situation to you. Didn't pass the screening for 2 of the MBB, got interviewed for the third but didn't make it to the second round because of lack of prep. Eventually, I got offers from all big 4, Accenture, and a boutique strategy firm so I decided to go with the boutique.

I also have a capital markets background (3 S&T internships) so I was wondering what kind of skills you emphasized during the interviews. Also, if you come in as a lateral do you start as year 1 or 2 analyst?


Feb 10, 2018

Congrats on your offers! Since I've only been working for a few months I'll be joining as a first year analyst, and actually I'm not even considered a lateral hire but rather a regular first year recruit.

Regarding my previos background, mine was not in S&T but rather in ECM (considered capital markets at my bank) and in equity research as well (I'd say work in the latter is somewhat more similar to consulting, in the sense that there is a lot of research and data analysis involved). Still, even though the work is clearly different from consulting, what I would emphasize are those areas where there might be commonalities, such as work going straight to clients, competitive environment, etc.

Best Response
Feb 12, 2018

Congrats @elxendo and nice advice for future re-applicants!

One word of advice regarding PrepLounge: it's a great way to find case partners and get started, but I would caution against using it as a sole resource, especially as you get more used to the case interview format. The advice you get can come from anybody, and some people remain clueless about what constitutes a good performance after 30+ cases. My advice would be to use it extensively in the beginning before shifting your focus towards practicing with reliably experienced people (i.e. friends and acquaintances who have already been through the interview process).

Feb 12, 2018

Thanks @Ruhm!

And since you bring up PrepLounge, let me expand a little bit on my experience with it and what I suggest doing. I fully agree with you for the most part; it is great at the beginning but once you have the basic foundations of the case interview it is better to stick with just a couple partners that are more proficient, rather than practicing with randoms on PrepLounge. However, what you can do (if you don't know any ppl irl who can help with practice, as was my case) is to find a couple solid partners on the site and then just arrange interviews with each other outside of the platform. This is what I ended up doing once I met a couple other strong applicants, and in fact one of the guys I practiced with the most ended up getting an offer at the same firm as I did!

    • 2
Feb 13, 2018

Way to go indeed. I would also advise people to do some in-person cases to get used to the live "feel" and to practice body language, etc.

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Feb 12, 2018

How did you approach networking for these jobs and did you face any resistance to not coming straight from the undergraduate pipeline? I am considering a similar move and am at a similar point in my career, so would be curious to hear your experience. Also, did you only target your home country office?

Gimme the loot

Feb 22, 2018