Ex-McKinsey Consultant Here Answering Questions

McK_Throwaway's picture
Rank: Baboon | 140

Left "The Firm" a little over a year ago. I've been meaning to do this and just never got around to it; no time like the present! I'm doing an AMA at r/consulting on reddit as well, in case you run across that.

I joined McKinsey in a mid-sized office in the US as a Business Analyst out of undergrad (top 5 engineering school). Got the DTA (direct to associate) promotion in 2.5 years before leaving.

Why Did you Leave McKinsey?

A wide variety of reasons. Part of it was disillusionment/burn-out. Part of it was that my young age was making my life in consulting harder than it needed to be. I also wanted to get out and try something else out for a change.

I actually left because I had achieved DTA (a big objective for me) and I'd finally come up with a fantastic idea for a business. I started that business summer last year and I've been running it since. It's starting to wind down now; afterward I'm going to see if I can get into venture capital, preferably seed/early-stage.

Are Post MBA Consultants Better than Pre-MBA Consultants?

Definitely not in terms of raw intelligence. Excel prowess never caught up and PPT work was slow to do so. Of course, Associates are less relied upon for that type of work than BAs are anyway.

As you would expect, Associates are generally better with clients. They're older (yes, this matters) and simply know how to handle themselves and others better.

They were also just generally more interesting people. There's a wider variety of candidate profiles entering the firm at the post-MBA level. This translates into more interesting personalities and life stories.

My first inclination was to say that Associates are less douche-baggy. But the HBS grads give the worst BAs a run for their money, and there are just so damn many of them. I don't miss the days of sitting down at a new associate training and asking someone where they went to school, just to get the faux-modest "in Boston" response.

What are the Common Exits from Consulting?

When asked if starting a business is a common exit opp - the OP responded with the following.

Definitely not most. It's a relatively common exit-path, but definitely under 20%. There's plenty of info out there on common exit routes, but some of them include: business school, joining a client, private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurship, banking, etc.

The first thing I focused on after leaving was de-McKinsey-ifying myself. Consultants tend to wrap themselves in what looks like a layer of bullshit to people outside the industry. Jargon, false structuring, a way of carrying oneself. That kind of thing. I made sure to remove as much of that as possible so I could appear "normal" to people out in the world.

Starting a business is obviously a very different beast from being a management consultant. All of your fancy frameworks and awesome analysis go out the window. It's a lot of paperwork and a lot of sales (not just direct sales; you're always selling yourself as an entrepreneur in some way or another). McKinsey helped me manage different complex tasks at the same time, think logically, and work hard under pressure. It did not help me figure out the best way to attract and retain good talent on a tight budget.

What is the Work-Life Balance Like in Consulting?

It's hugely variable based on project. My worst study was 80 hours a week for 6 weeks. My best study was actually under 40 hours a week (though I did not readily admit this to my co-workers). Either way, you're almost certainly going to be spending Monday through Thursday away from home at the junior levels. People with kids handle it by not being with their kids. Unfortunately, all of the phone calls and skype sessions in the world don't make up for that. Having kids will working at McKinsey is something I had always promised myself I would absolutely not do.

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Comments (146)

May 11, 2015

How would you describe the culture of McKinsey as opposed to Bain and BCG? What did you like/not like about the culture?

May 11, 2015
a1j9o94:

How would you describe the culture of McKinsey as opposed to Bain and BCG? What did you like/not like about the culture?

It's hard to compare to Bain and BCG since I didn't work there and don't know much about their cultures. I know the general outside-in perspective is that McKinsey is more soulless, with robotic-type consulting machines. Fantastic for a business solution, terrible to have a beer with.

In general, I'd say the outside-in perspective is pretty baseless. Not that there aren't emotionless folks at McKinsey (I was probably among them), it's just a mischaracterization to simplify the people that much. There are thousands of consultants (and support staff) with as many different types of personalities. It's easy to find folks you like and just as easy to find folks you don't like.

It's hard to speak to a broader culture since it's so dependent on the folks that you happen to be working with on a given project. In general, people are hard working (don't mind 60 hour weeks) and care about the quality of their product. 80% of folks genuinely care about making a difference at the client. The vast majority are ambitious and eager to talk about the future, whether that's at McKinsey or not.

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May 11, 2015

Why'd you leave / where'd you go?

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Best Response
May 11, 2015
Funkfreed:

Why'd you leave / where'd you go?

A wide variety of reasons. Part of it was disillusionment/burn-out. Part of it was that my young age was making my life in consulting harder than it needed to be. I also wanted to get out and try something else out for a change.

I actually left because I had achieved DTA (a big objective for me) and I'd finally come up with a fantastic idea for a business. I started that business summer last year and I've been running it since. It's starting to wind down now; afterward I'm going to see if I can get into venture capital, preferably seed/early-stage.

matayo:

Did you feel like the post-MBA consultants (first years) were better than the pre-MBA consultants (first years) in any way?

Definitely not in terms of raw intelligence. Excel prowess never caught up and PPT work was slow to do so. Of course, Associates are less relied upon for that type of work than BAs are anyway.

As you would expect, Associates are generally better with clients. They're older (yes, this matters) and simply know how to handle themselves and others better.

They were also just generally more interesting people. There's a wider variety of candidate profiles entering the firm at the post-MBA level. This translates into more interesting personalities and life stories.

My first inclination was to say that Associates are less douche-baggy. But the HBS grads give the worst BAs a run for their money, and there are just so damn many of them. I don't miss the days of sitting down at a new associate training and asking someone where they went to school, just to get the faux-modest "in Boston" response.

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May 12, 2015

Good stuff. What was the business you started?

I had a similar story, left consulting shortly after the DTA promotion.

McK_Throwaway:

"Funkfreed" wrote:Why'd you leave / where'd you go?

A wide variety of reasons. Part of it was disillusionment/burn-out. Part of it was that my young age was making my life in consulting harder than it needed to be. I also wanted to get out and try something else out for a change.

I actually left because I had achieved DTA (a big objective for me) and I'd finally come up with a fantastic idea for a business. I started that business summer last year and I've been running it since. It's starting to wind down now; afterward I'm going to see if I can get into venture capital, preferably seed/early-stage.

May 13, 2015

If I were working at McKinsey and got "the faux-modest 'in Boston' response," I would be so tempted to reply, "Bro, we're at McKinsey, just say you went to Harvard be done with it."

That's probably why--among other reasons--I will never be working at McKinsey.

May 17, 2015

Banana for the "in Boston" recognition. I live in Boston, applied to HBS (didn't get in) and you hit it right on the head.

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Dec 6, 2015

What did you learn that helped you create the new business and how have you supplemented that knowledge

May 11, 2015

Did you feel like the post-MBA consultants (first years) were better than the pre-MBA consultants (first years) in any way?

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

May 11, 2015

I am a sophomore interning for big 4 advisory 3.5 gpa planning to network over the summer with MBB employees as much as possible..any tips for getting into MBB

May 12, 2015
Chanman:

I am a sophomore interning for big 4 advisory 3.5 gpa planning to network over the summer with MBB employees as much as possible..any tips for getting into MBB

Focus more on you (the internship is a great start) and less on networking. First, networking is just plain tough. Those consultants don't really want to talk with you, I promise. Second, networking will absolutely not get you a job at McKinsey. It can possibly get you an interview, but even that is pretty tough. Nothing but your own skill (and luck) will get you through the interviews.

School matters a lot. Major matters quite a bit. GPA is obviously huge. Standardized test scores (SAT, GMAT, GRE) are big. Brand-name recognition of your work experience is huge.

The most common reason to ding BA applicants is lack of leadership experience. You've got to have at least a couple of examples of you leading 10+ people through a real project/challenge. That's really tough to do by 22 and probably where your time/effort could be best spent.

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May 12, 2015

What are some cool leadership experiences that you or your coworkers had besides the usual ones, i.e. being a president of a club/society at your school?

May 24, 2015

@McK_Throwaway Thanks for the advice

May 11, 2015

Is there anything that new Associates (coming from an MBA) just don't get about the firm for a while? Common pitfalls about culture, politics, staffing or anything else.

May 11, 2015
donald_stump:

Is there anything that new Associates (coming from an MBA) just don't get about the firm for a while? Common pitfalls about culture, politics, staffing or anything else.

I can only speak to what I saw in new associates on the studies I was on.

In a lot of ways, associates have a harder time of it. They're expected to advance much quicker than new BA's are. That includes on Excel and Powerpoint, which are just as hard (if not harder) for associates to pick up. Assuming no prior experience, I think it's much more important for an associate to train in Excel and Powerpoint before joining than it is for a BA.

Associates come to McKinsey with a much wider range of backgrounds. In general, people expect BA's to know nothing and to have to learn everything on the job. Not so for associates. Even if you spent the previous three years in law school, you're still expected to have all of the credentials of an HBS-minted grad. It just makes it much more important to hit the ground running.

May 12, 2015

Is the DTA promotion granted on the basis one's exhibition of the Associate-level skill-set or does the expectation of business school make it more of a formality for top-bucket BAs who stick around for 2 years? Are the DTA promotes pretty much who you'd expect based on their mastery of the job 6 months in?

May 12, 2015
Blarg:

Is the DTA promotion granted on the basis one's exhibition of the Associate-level skill-set or does the expectation of business school make it more of a formality for top-bucket BAs who stick around for 2 years? Are the DTA promotes pretty much who you'd expect based on their mastery of the job 6 months in?

DTA's kind of a funny thing. It's not nearly as big of a deal as it first seems. I'm of the opinion that any entering BA can achieve DTA within 2.5 years if they set their mind to it. I knew that I didn't want to go to business school; DTA was the obvious choice for me, so I made it happen.

So yeah, if you make it clear around your 1.5 year mark that you want to DTA, you've got a pretty good chance of making it happen by the time you hit year 3.

I was borderline "Issues" on my first rating after 6 months. I don't think anything can be told about a consultant after that short of a period of time. The old story going around the Firm was that Dominic Barton (the Managing Director) had nearly been CTL'd (counseled to leave) a couple of times. Of course, that worked out just fine for him.

May 12, 2015

Congratulations on your DTA promotion all the same.

On a different note, what's the "right" way to position myself for the internal projects I want? I'm interested in recruiting from a sociological/academic perspective and would like to contribute to my office's OCR efforts. At what point is it advisable to express this interest and how should I do so. Second, are there "better" (i.e. more educational, better for intra-firm networking, or more coveted) internal projects that I should be thinking about? Finally, what percentage of my time will I be expected to commit to internal work in the first six months?

May 12, 2015

I've heard from friends at McK that one of the biggest downsides is the strong competition between consultants, particularly when it comes down to making a favorable impression on partners and firm leadership. To what extent did you feel this was the case during your time there?

May 12, 2015
RealCoolHand:

I've heard from friends at McK that one of the biggest downsides is the strong competition between consultants, particularly when it comes down to making a favorable impression on partners and firm leadership. To what extent did you feel this was the case during your time there?

That doesn't sound like the McKinsey I worked at. Your friends are either doing it wrong or aren't based in North America. I didn't once feel the need to compete with my peers and it seemed to work out just fine for me.

parks9:

What are some cool leadership experiences that you or your coworkers had besides the usual ones, i.e. being a president of a club/society at your school?

I had a friend that started and ran a farm in Sierra Leone (he was from the Midwest). Tons of people who had started their own businesses in the States (myself included). Worked with an EM I really respected that ran his own multi-million dollar consultancy in real estate before the market burst. Worked with a couple of ex-olympians. Met several ex-professional sports players.

mbbvince:

What is the ratio of operational projects vs. strategy projects you've done at McKinsey?
Do you have to network a lot to get on a project you want to get on?

Probably about 50/50. That's a little more skewed to operational projects than the average McKinsey consultant. I enjoyed both types for their respective qualities.

Internal networking is essential to get the projects you want. If you don't have someone on the team pulling for you then it's pretty much entirely at the discretion of PD (Professional Development aka staffing) where you go. In fact, it's next to impossible to get on the best studies without networking.

Fortunately, a base level of networking is going to happen regardless of your independent efforts. You're going to work with people and at least some of them are going to end up liking you. It's up to you how much you cultivate that or develop it outside of studies.

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May 12, 2015

What is the ratio of operational projects vs. strategy projects you've done at McKinsey?
Do you have to network a lot to get on a project you want to get on?

May 12, 2015

Is it possible to break into a Business Analyst role after graduating from a MAcc program? I recently graduated with the intention of using it to get into investment banking, but through my time there I realized I might be better suited for consulting. Thoughts?

May 12, 2015
Predilection:

Is it possible to break into a Business Analyst role after graduating from a MAcc program? I recently graduated with the intention of using it to get into investment banking, but through my time there I realized I might be better suited for consulting. Thoughts?

Assuming you went to a good school with a great GPA, have extensive prestigious work experience, and good leadership experience, then yeah, definitely. It doesn't really matter that much what you major in. That's a relatively small variable in a much larger equation.

May 12, 2015
  1. Would you say there is a decent amount of people that are from 2nd tier consultancies (Deloitte, Accenture, Strategy&, etc.), post-MBA I assume? Do these people perform well?
  2. Also just given our human nature, are people without a certain pedigree at a disadvantage - for example people that don't have a stellar background, e.g. are from non-targets, aren't Olympians, weren't student body president, etc..
    By disadvantage I mean pace of advancement, getting staffed, building their network.There has to be some relatively "average" folks at McKinsey.
    For example, if a team is given the choice between the philosophy undergraduate from Harvard that has created a leading non-profit, versus the University of Missouri kid, seems like the team will have a bias towards the first, especially if most of the team will have attended a similar institution.
May 12, 2015
mbbvince:

1. Would you say there is a decent amount of people that are from 2nd tier consultancies (Deloitte, Accenture, Strategy&, etc.), post-MBA I assume? Do these people perform well?

  1. Also just given our human nature, are people without a certain pedigree at a disadvantage - for example people that don't have a stellar background, e.g. are from non-targets, aren't Olympians, weren't student body president, etc..
    By disadvantage I mean pace of advancement, getting staffed, building their network.There has to be some relatively "average" folks at McKinsey.
    For example, if a team is given the choice between the philosophy undergraduate from Harvard that has created a leading non-profit, versus the University of Missouri kid, seems like the team will have a bias towards the first, especially if most of the team will have attended a similar institution.
  • I assume so? It's not something I paid a lot of attention to. Once you're at McKinsey, the stuff you did beforehand just doesn't matter that much. Some of the skills learned at a 2nd tier firm are transferrable, many aren't.
  • Again, the stuff you did before joining the Firm just doesn't matter that much. It certainly doesn't come up in staffing discussions. I mean, maybe in the first couple of months just because there's no other reference point. But after that your actual experience at McKinsey is 10x more valuable. Certainly once you're on a team your personality/abilities are all that matter.
  • One thing I will say: nobody at McKinsey is average. That's not how you get the job. There were plenty of people that I didn't like, but it's impossible to not respect them in some way or another.

    Blarg:

    On a different note, what's the "right" way to position myself for the internal projects I want? I'm interested in recruiting from a sociological/academic perspective and would like to contribute to my office's OCR efforts. At what point is it advisable to express this interest and how should I do so. Second, are there "better" (i.e. more educational, better for intra-firm networking, or more coveted) internal projects that I should be thinking about? Finally, what percentage of my time will I be expected to commit to internal work in the first six months?

    1. You can help out with recruiting from day 1. BA's can't interview, but you can absolutely organize and participate in recruiting events as well as review resumes. I encourage you to do so; recruiting is a very fulfilling way to give back to the firm and help populate your back page (your non-engagement contributions to the firm).
    2. There aren't really "better" efforts, just different ones. You aren't expected to do any of them at all for your first 6 months. You can get through your first year safely without any back page work. You'll never be expected to do a full internal project, though you're welcome to do so if you'd like to. Various back page options: recruiting, organizing office events, helping with client development (often building pitch decks), contributing to internal research-type work and practice development.
    epiphany:

    You said DTA is more doable than people make it seem to be. What do you think you did better than other BAs? Any specific tips in this regard for someone starting this fall (out of undergrad)?

    If I am thinking about b-school, is it still worthwhile to go for DTA? You kind of implied that DTA was your goal because you did not want to go to b-school.

    The biggest thing is just making DTA part of your story. When you talk to your DGL and PD manager, the goal you're working toward is always DTA. That has to make sense for you. If your actual goal is business school, it's going to be tough to convince people that DTA makes sense in your story.

    Beyond that, you just have to perform. Nothing but Strong ratings isn't going to make it happen for you. You've got to put the work in and put yourself out there.

    NESCAC:

    Would you hire yourself/your team if you were running a large enough company? Or do you think consultants aren't really worth the price tag?

    Yes, for the right problems. McKinsey will never make sense for an IT system implementation. But the partners proposing work theoretically have an obligation to ensure an appropriate expected return from any engagement the Firm does.

    My one caveat is that I would be very selective in the leadership team (and most specifically, the EM) staffed to the project. There are a lot of EMs who made great associates and simply utterly fail at managing a project. I'm not about to blow seven figures on a crappy manager.

    I think a lot of clients also fail to appropriately prep their organizations for the entrance of a top tier consulting firm. The types of change we instigate can take a long time and not everyone understands that. They don't get that you can't fundamentally change a 1,000 person group in 4 months and McKinsey is often too expensive to have around for much longer.

    May 13, 2015
    mbbvince:

    1. Would you say there is a decent amount of people that are from 2nd tier consultancies (Deloitte, Accenture, Strategy&, etc.), post-MBA I assume? Do these people perform well?

    2. Also just given our human nature, are people without a certain pedigree at a disadvantage - for example people that don't have a stellar background, e.g. are from non-targets, aren't Olympians, weren't student body president, etc..
    By disadvantage I mean pace of advancement, getting staffed, building their network.There has to be some relatively "average" folks at McKinsey.
    For example, if a team is given the choice between the philosophy undergraduate from Harvard that has created a leading non-profit, versus the University of Missouri kid, seems like the team will have a bias towards the first, especially if most of the team will have attended a similar institution.

    Not necessarily. Would (and do) staff best-of-breed state school colleagues over marginal Harvard colleagues, if no prior performance details available. - MBB manager

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    May 12, 2015

    Thanks for doing this!

    You said DTA is more doable than people make it seem to be. What do you think you did better than other BAs? Any specific tips in this regard for someone starting this fall (out of undergrad)?

    If I am thinking about b-school, is it still worthwhile to go for DTA? You kind of implied that DTA was your goal because you did not want to go to b-school.

    I look forward to your response!

    May 12, 2015

    Would you hire yourself/your team if you were running a large enough company? Or do you think consultants aren't really worth the price tag?

    May 12, 2015
    NESCAC:

    Would you hire yourself/your team if you were running a large enough company? Or do you think consultants aren't really worth the price tag?

    Interested in this as well and this isn't to shit on consultants. I've had good and not bad, but not worth the money experiences from consultants from the MBB's to much smaller firms. I'd be curious to hear about it from the consultants pov. I have a ton of friends who are current or ex McK guys but it's not really a kosher subject to bring up among friends. I put it up there with talking about religion and politics: don't talk about the worth of consultants or bankers with either of them.

    May 12, 2015

    When it comes to F500 undergraduate internships, how would you compare the following industries (Automotive, FMCG/Retail, Oil/Energy Tech, Pharmaceuticals) and the following business functions (corporate finance, Marketing, Sales, Business Development, Research)? I would be interested to see how you would rank them from a perspective of a MBB recruiter (yes, I totally understand that this requires massive generalizations, but I'm fine with that). Thanks for doing this!

    May 12, 2015
    parks9:

    When it comes to F500 undergraduate internships, how would you compare the following industries (Automotive, FMCG/Retail, Oil/Energy Tech, Pharmaceuticals) and the following business functions (corporate finance, Marketing, Sales, Business Development, Research)? I would be interested to see how you would rank them from a perspective of a MBB recruiter (yes, I totally understand that this requires massive generalizations, but I'm fine with that). Thanks for doing this!

    Oil/Energy Tech > Automotive > Pharma > FMCG/Retail (except high prestige: P&G, Coke, etc.)
    In general, company within industry is much more important than industry

    Business Development > corporate finance > marketing > sales (research is kind of off on its own)

    May 12, 2015

    When it comes to MBA recruiting is someone at a disadvantage having done systems implementation work at a tier 2 firm? Or is it an advantage in that they have some consulting experience? If someone were at an M7 business school, would McKinsey still try to put them into the BTO group?

    May 12, 2015
    thecm:

    When it comes to MBA recruiting is someone at a disadvantage having done systems implementation work at a tier 2 firm? Or is it an advantage in that they have some consulting experience? If someone were at an M7 business school, would McKinsey still try to put them into the BTO group?

    A disadvantage relative to what? Strategy consulting? Yeah, probably a bit of a disadvantage. But having consulting experience is certainly better than some of the alternatives.

    One of the critical variables in this scenario is the MBA summer internship. If you went back to a tier 2 doing system implementation work then you might be in trouble. If you broke out of your mold and did something awesome and different, then you should be fine.

    Don't stress over the BTO/not-BTO distinction. Despite what people say on the internet, BTO is no less rigorous or prestigious than the rest of the Firm. In fact, there's no reason to tell people outside McKinsey that you're part of BTO if you don't want to. Within McKinsey, it's not terribly difficult to switch practices within your first couple of years assuming you're performing well.

    May 12, 2015

    Is there an internal referral policy for undergraduates (especially from nontarget schools)? Have been chatting with a few McKinsey alum and they seem to be telling me that an amazing resume + luck is the key to getting interviews. Been wondering whether McKinsey doesn't have that policy or they are just reluctant to offer me a referral after only a 30 minute chat. If there is, what would be the best way to get people to refer me? If there isn't, how could I maximize my chances of getting a FT interview?

    May 12, 2015
    superlyt:

    Is there an internal referral policy for undergraduates (especially from nontarget schools)? Have been chatting with a few McKinsey alum and they seem to be telling me that an amazing resume + luck is the key to getting interviews. Been wondering whether McKinsey doesn't have that policy or they are just reluctant to offer me a referral after only a 30 minute chat. If there is, what would be the best way to get people to refer me? If there isn't, how could I maximize my chances of getting a FT interview?

    There is a referral policy only for non-target schools for current McKinsey employees; it is meant for fairly close personal friends and connections. If you're at a target (or semi-target) then you just have to apply through the school's official channel. A McKinsey alum has pretty much no ability to influence the decision to give you an interview or not, and certainly wouldn't do so (even if they could) after a 30 minute chat.

    May 12, 2015

    Yeah, I meant current employees, and I do go to a non-target. From your personal experience, is it likely for a non-target to network into McKinsey through calling alumni?

    May 13, 2015

    thanks for doing this! just caught it, adding to frontpage this morning plus will post on the frontpage again on Thursday

    WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    May 13, 2015

    Question not about McKinsey but life after...

    Do most people tend to start up businesses after leaving? What kinds of fields do people go into? How were your experiences after leaving and starting your own business?

    Any more thoughts on entrepreneurship vs. job are welcome as well since you've experienced both...

    May 13, 2015

    Thanks for doing this... great answers so far.

    Two questions for you coming, both coming from someone who would be a post-MBA Associate:
    1) Can you talk about work/life balance (both flexibility as well as total workload). How do people with young kids handle it?
    2) In terms of non-generalist roles, how is recruiting for other areas, either by function or industry or a different area like McKinsey Implementation. I heard recruiting is a bit easier and pay is the same, but reputation is a bit lower as a non-generalist post-MBA. Thoughts?

    May 13, 2015

    What's a good way to prepare for the logical/intelligence questions?
    Is the hard interview process really necessary? is the process similar all around the world?
    How do McKinsey consultants from the US view other McKinsey consultans from around the world?

    May 13, 2015

    This is just a regular assumption: After working so hard to get into a top Eng school, then again working so hard to get into McKinsey, then working at McKinsey and of course, bust your butt again. In the end, was it worth it?

    May 13, 2015
    richardwu94:

    This is just a regular assumption: After working so hard to get into a top Eng school, then again working so hard to get into McKinsey, then working at McKinsey and of course, bust your butt again. In the end, was it worth it?

    Yes, absolutely.

    I would've been incredibly unhappy with myself if I hadn't been able to go to a good school. I would've been even unhappier with myself if I'd ended up at a soulless corporate job at the bottom of the ladder. I didn't put in all that work for the perks; I did it so I wouldn't hate myself.

    The pay, the travel points, the exposure, the skills, the network, and the exit opportunities are all just an added bonus.

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    May 13, 2015

    What are you doing now that you've quit? I'm guessing some form of entrepreneurship based on your responses. If that's true, what's the big idea?

    Thanks!

    May 14, 2015
    packmate:

    What are you doing now that you've quit? I'm guessing some form of entrepreneurship based on your responses. If that's true, what's the big idea?

    Thanks!

    Enterprise software in the retail industry. My fiancee had been consulting in the space for a couple of years and we identified a really clear need in the market. The dominant solution was nearly a decade old and was just incredibly unwieldy to implement, maintain, and use. We developed a new cloud-based solution that was much easier and quicker (and therefore cheaper) across those dimensions.

    snakeoil:

    @McK_Throwaway : I know this is another question that gets beaten to death, but I would like to hear your perspective on it anyway.

    Have you seen or know of any BAs that were hired 1-2 years out of college from a F500 Corp Fin role? How possible is that move?

    Also, in my day in a very large F500 job I work with a ton of consultants from one of the B's of the MBB, but I would never get recruited to that B even though I have a very good rapport with them because of non-poaching agreement.

    I would like to try to get into the other B or M - I know it's a very long shot, but would like to try any way.

    I don't know of any BAs that did that specifically, but I wouldn't consider it impossible. The thing about trying to come in as an experienced hire is that the standards don't go down. Two years of work experience doesn't just erase your academic performance (school, major, GPA, test scores). If the role isn't particularly prestigious then the experience will actually count against you.

    On the other hand, if the role is at a prestigious company, you kicked ass and got an early promotion, you got great scores on the GMAT, and were also leading the developing of a non-profit or your own venture at the same time, then you may have a pretty good case for applying.

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    May 14, 2015

    Awesome. Sounds a lot better than most of the shitty app startups out there

    May 13, 2015

    @McK_Throwaway : I know this is another question that gets beaten to death, but I would like to hear your perspective on it anyway.

    Have you seen or know of any BAs that were hired 1-2 years out of college from a F500 Corp Fin role? How possible is that move?

    Also, in my day in a very large F500 job I work with a ton of consultants from one of the B's of the MBB, but I would never get recruited to that B even though I have a very good rapport with them because of non-poaching agreement.

    I would like to try to get into the other B or M - I know it's a very long shot, but would like to try any way.

    May 14, 2015
    snakeoil:

    @McK_Throwaway : I know this is another question that gets beaten to death, but I would like to hear your perspective on it anyway.

    Have you seen or know of any BAs that were hired 1-2 years out of college from a F500 Corp Fin role? How possible is that move?

    Also, in my day in a very large F500 job I work with a ton of consultants from one of the B's of the MBB, but I would never get recruited to that B even though I have a very good rapport with them because of non-poaching agreement.

    I would like to try to get into the other B or M - I know it's a very long shot, but would like to try any way.

    ^^^^
    Also interested, but agree that I think the general consensus is that its virtually impossible.

    May 14, 2015

    Thanks for doing this, two question:

    1) To revisit the would you hire yourself question. Can you please elaborate on some of the projects/value add to clients from a strategy stand point. From my perspective, and I certainly could be wrong, its that management/the board has a strategy in mind and either 1) doesn't have the resources to do the analysis, and/or 2) needs a firm such as McK to sign off on it for CYA purposes. I do think this provides value just different than actually creating something novel that changes the course of the company. I just find it very hard to believe that a McK can develop a strategy that management/board/pe sponsor, all very smart and industry experts, haven't already thought of. Basically do you think its the backstopping of work flow / validating management theses / CYA that is the value add or do you think its truly original thought?

    2) To tie into the above, one thing I've never be able to wrap my head around about in consulting is what you actually do at a jr level on a day to day basis. This is just because I've never had the exposure. Whenever I ask consultants what they do its more high level "on I'm working on an optimization" "oh I'm working on a new strategy" etc. but what does that actually mean in terms of work performed. Being a finance guy I know what "I'm working on an M&A sellside engagement" means in terms of work flow. Its modeling out the company, going through capiq for comps, spreading comps, writing materials, reaching out to potential buyers etc. I just have never got a good handle on what a consultant is actually doing on the vast array of project he/she works on. I'm sure its very interesting I just don't have a clue what it is.

    Thanks.

    May 16, 2015
    ke18sb:

    Thanks for doing this, two question:

    1) To revisit the would you hire yourself question. Can you please elaborate on some of the projects/value add to clients from a strategy stand point. From my perspective, and I certainly could be wrong, its that management/the board has a strategy in mind and either 1) doesn't have the resources to do the analysis, and/or 2) needs a firm such as McK to sign off on it for CYA purposes. I do think this provides value just different than actually creating something novel that changes the course of the company. I just find it very hard to believe that a McK can develop a strategy that management/board/pe sponsor, all very smart and industry experts, haven't already thought of. Basically do you think its the backstopping of work flow / validating management theses / CYA that is the value add or do you think its truly original thought?

    2) To tie into the above, one thing I've never be able to wrap my head around about in consulting is what you actually do at a jr level on a day to day basis. This is just because I've never had the exposure. Whenever I ask consultants what they do its more high level "on I'm working on an optimization" "oh I'm working on a new strategy" etc. but what does that actually mean in terms of work performed. Being a finance guy I know what "I'm working on an M&A sellside engagement" means in terms of work flow. Its modeling out the company, going through capiq for comps, spreading comps, writing materials, reaching out to potential buyers etc. I just have never got a good handle on what a consultant is actually doing on the vast array of project he/she works on. I'm sure its very interesting I just don't have a clue what it is.

    Thanks.

    1) Your perception of the type of work McKinsey (or any high tier firm) does is too narrow. It is very rare (never?) that they will just come up with a strategy for a client. Even rarer that they'll just come in and sign off on a strategy that the client has already developed. You're closer to the money with the "doesn't have the resources..." train of thought. Resources is a huge part of it. Sometimes that's just analysts in chairs, but more often it's a lot more than that. McKinsey has an enormous support network of experts backing up its consultants. That's an even bigger part of it: experience. More than anything, McKinsey is brought in to help clients solve problems they don't come across often enough to justify having in-house expertise.

    One of my studies was to map out the cost structure (and resulting international trade flows) of every production plant in the world for a given petrochemical commodity. We'd done the exact same study for the same client on the same product five years before. They'd tried to develop the capability in-house after that and had failed, because it's really complex, niche knowledge. They ended up bringing us back in to do it again.

    Another client brought us in to do a model to calculate the expected value of a call into their customer service center. Based on that value they'd decide to outsource the call or keep it in-house and domestic. There was something like 15 variables of different weights that we had to factor in for each call.

    One of my studies was helping a client downsize their support staff. We showed them where they could automate back office processes and where it made more sense to outsource the work. Not complex stuff, but where does the client start if they've never had to do this before?

    2) Depends a lot on the engagement. There's a lot of time in Excel either doing one-off analysis (typically for opportunity identification ) or model work (which will then generally be handed over to the client). A lot of time in ppt writing up results for the client and teeing up discussions. A lot of time actually with the client: learning from them, sharing results of analysis, helping them structure their thinking on the problem. A fair amount of time on the phone with McKinsey experts at the beginning of the study, getting up to speed on the topic and getting their ideas on where to start looking for opportunity.

    EE_cons:

    Thanks for doing this and for giving something back to the community.

    I'd really appreciate your adfice on tips that you would have for a someone soon to start as a BA.

    In particular:
    1.) Tips for building a strong internal relationships, esp. considering that most times you will be only on Fridays, in the office. (e.g. face to face lunch meetings with people)
    2.) How to get manage burnout?
    3.) Tips on performing in general.
    4.) How do you manage does moments when you literally don't have a clue on a question you're being asked (both from client and EM or upper level)?

    I would really appreciate your advice.

    Thanks.

    1) It's really tough to build a strong relationship just by socializing. Most of the partners have better things to do. It's much, much easier to do it through actual work. The partners on your studies are going to be your strongest advocates. You can also get involved in different types of work outside your engagements to get as much exposure to different people as possible.

    2) Minimize weekend work; it's very rarely required. Minimize Friday work: don't put in hours just because you feel like you should. In fact, don't do any work just because you feel like you should. Get really good at figuring out what work really matters and what doesn't. Some people kill themselves with 80+ hours of work per week on every single project. Those people are idiots.

    3) Similar to above, get really good at figuring out what matters and what doesn't. Being up until 3 AM working on analysis doesn't win you any points unless that analysis actually delivers a meaningful insight.

    Take a step back every now and then and think about where you stand in context with the rest of the project. Doing so can help you realize if you're going down the wrong trail or missing an obvious opportunity. This type of thinking is not at all expected of a BA; exhibiting it wins you huge points.

    Make the most of the McKinsey support network. It's massive and incredibly powerful. Use India for ppt work. Use analytics for Excel work. Use practice experts to get up to speed on topics very quickly and give you ideas on where to look for opportunities. Use external expert networks (GLG) to figure out how the client thinks about their own industry and what they should be looking for.

    4) This is a tricky one. I think it's just a soft skill that you develop in the first ~4 months on the job. Especially out of undergrad, you're going to get hit with a lot of questions that you have absolutely no idea on. The client's paying $250/hr for you, just looking at the dumbly isn't an okay response.

    One way to minimize this is what I said above: make sure you're getting up to speed on topics as quickly as possible by leveraging others' knowledge. You're not expected to be an expert on a given industry (or any industry), but you are expected to become one very quickly when you're asked to.

    That being said, no matter how practiced you are you're still going to be presented with a stumper every now and then. Part of it is just having the confidence to tell a client that you don't know or you're not sure what they're talking about. If you're on top of your game then that sort of thing shouldn't happen too often and you'll have ample other opportunity to impress the client.

      • 3
    May 18, 2015

    Thanks this is helpful. Yea, I guess I was more incorrectly thinking along the lines of tectonic shifts within an organization. What you outlined makes a lot more sense in that you're plucking off isolated issues that in the grand scheme of things helps the organization as a whole, especially if combined with other projects.

    In regards to the mapping out the cost structure example, how do you go about doing something like that. Is it just internal data bases built up over the years? Leveraging experts to provide info? Using estimates? I'd imagine a lot of that information is propriety so I'd be curious how McK or anyone would go about doing that. Do you guys leverage knowledge across clients? I'd imagine not but just curious.

    Thanks again.

    May 15, 2015

    Thanks for doing this and for giving something back to the community.

    I'd really appreciate your adfice on tips that you would have for a someone soon to start as a BA.

    In particular:
    1.) Tips for building a strong internal relationships, esp. considering that most times you will be only on Fridays, in the office. (e.g. face to face lunch meetings with people)
    2.) How to get manage burnout?
    3.) Tips on performing in general.
    4.) How do you manage does moments when you literally don't have a clue on a question you're being asked (both from client and EM or upper level)?

    I would really appreciate your advice.

    Thanks.

    May 16, 2015

    ***Interviewed with McKinsey 2 days ago (Thursday, May 14th) in the Housting office....and I couldn't tell if the interview went well or not. The case interview section was "okay" - I didn't bomb it, but it also wasn't stellar. The personal experience portion was fine, but I felt like the entire time the conversation with the interviewer was not smooth.

    This was my first in-person interview and it was only with 1 person that day. How long before I should hear back from the recruiter again? I'm assuming I have a lot more interviews left? The recruiter has been terrible at communicating.

    Any insight greatly appreciated.

    AnonymousRichard

    May 17, 2015
    AnonymousRichard:

    ***Interviewed with McKinsey 2 days ago (Thursday, May 14th) in the Housting office....and I couldn't tell if the interview went well or not. The case interview section was "okay" - I didn't bomb it, but it also wasn't stellar. The personal experience portion was fine, but I felt like the entire time the conversation with the interviewer was not smooth.

    This was my first in-person interview and it was only with 1 person that day. How long before I should hear back from the recruiter again? I'm assuming I have a lot more interviews left? The recruiter has been terrible at communicating.

    Any insight greatly appreciated.

    AnonymousRichard

    Sounds non-standard for some reason (at least as of when I was there). Typical format was resume screen -> PST/2 associate/EM interviews -> 3 partner interviews. I found out day of or next day for my two rounds. They always (as far as I know) will finalize all decisions at the end of the day you interview. Not sure why they wouldn't have called you by now.

    May 17, 2015

    Thanks for doing this.

    Is it worth listing modeling courses- WSO or Breaking into Wall Street -on your resume at the cost of slimming down another aspect.

    I am from a non-target but have experience at a middle market IB firm, a Big Four firm, and a finance related start-up.

    Thanks again.

    May 17, 2015

    No, modeling courses aren't relevant. Highlight more differentiated experiences instead. - MBB manager who also does resume screens and interviews

    May 18, 2015
    Ernbus95:

    Thanks for doing this.

    Is it worth listing modeling courses- WSO or Breaking into Wall Street -on your resume at the cost of slimming down another aspect.

    I am from a non-target but have experience at a middle market IB firm, a Big Four firm, and a finance related start-up.

    Thanks again.

    What AriZGold said. No.

    charliehalden:

    Do you think I stand a chance coming from a top european school like RSM or St.Gallen and with a good resumee?

    Um... maybe? I don't know anything about either of those schools in particular. If McKinsey has any sort of recruiting presence on campus, then definitely. It's just on you. Even if they don't, it's still pretty much on you (with a little more luck). I know several people who managed to get themselves jobs out of universities that McKinsey doesn't target at all. You just have to put in the leg work to get yourself noticed and have a good enough resume to make up for the unimpressive school.

    May 17, 2015

    Do you think I stand a chance coming from a top european school like RSM or St.Gallen and with a good resumee?

    Mar 27, 2017

    (retracted)

    May 18, 2015
    itsalwayssunnyinflorida:

    Thanks for doing this! Will be starting out in a Tier 2 consulting firm in the fall, and was wondering about getting direct promotion to Associate. Namely, how much extra effort did that take for you, and did that significantly take away from doing things beyond consulting?

    It would obviously be great to get a direct promotion to the associate level at my firm, but I'm also passionate about nonprofit work and am trying to grow one at the moment (and am thinking of starting another). I don't know that I would want to drain myself pursuing early promotion at the expense of those things.

    Honestly, I don't think I did anything that I wouldn't have if DTA hadn't been an option. My performance at the job was a product of my feeling toward the work, not a longer-term career progression goal.

    Knowing next to nothing about you: put all the effort you can into your non-profit work. That's going to be a lot more fulfilling for you. Not to mention it's probably going to look more impressive on your resume than a simple promotion whenever you're applying to your next job.

    Mar 27, 2017

    (retracted)

    May 18, 2015

    "No, modeling courses aren't relevant. Highlight more differentiated experiences instead. - MBB manager who also does resume screens and interviews"

    I would say really depends on your background. If you are a finance major with IB internships it won't help much as it is clear you know more than enough finance for the job. On the other hand, if you are a liberal arts grad with no other business experience on your resume I'd say leave it in to demonstrate interest and proficiency in business / analytical skills.

    May 18, 2015

    Have you ever seen/heard of former top tier IB analysts joining the firm after their analyst programs? Wondering how common/difficult it would be.

    May 18, 2015

    After summer internships is common. I will let OP confirm, and give insight on how popular it is after a 2 year IB stint.

    May 18, 2015
    Mtntop990:

    Have you ever seen/heard of former top tier IB analysts joining the firm after their analyst programs? Wondering how common/difficult it would be.

    I'm trying to remember specific instances... I definitely knew folks who came from IB, but I don't remember how long they stayed at their banks, whether they went to b-school in between, or whether they came in as BA's or Associates. IB -> b-school -> Associate is pretty obvious and common. I don't think it was uncommon for for bankers to do 1-2 years and come in as a BA. In that scenario it just depends on how well-balanced an application you can put together. It's hard to say that a year of top tier IB would guarantee you an interview, but given that you got to the bank in the first place, you've probably got a pretty competitive application.

    May 19, 2015

    Got it, thanks. So after 2 years in banking you would still be a first-year BA on the same level as someone who just started with the firm?

    May 20, 2015

    Hey McK-Throwaway, thank you for doing this.

    Do you have any recommendations (books, podcasts, ...) for prospective consultants ? I'm about to start b-school and would like to immerse myself further.

    Ruhm

    May 20, 2015
    Ruhm:

    Hey McK-Throwaway, thank you for doing this.

    Do you have any recommendations (books, podcasts, ...) for prospective consultants ? I'm about to start b-school and would like to immerse myself further.

    Ruhm

    Well, for case interview prep nothing beats Case in Point. You should also read The McKinsey Way; it's not great but it's short. The Firm came out a couple of years ago and is supposed to be a fairly illuminating look, though I haven't read it myself. It's not consulting-specific, but I loved Barbarians at the Gate. I don't have any specific podcasts to recommend, sorry.

    Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do to prepare yourself for consulting other than soaking up as much as possible then getting on the job. You'll learn far more in your first week than you could through a year of reading.

    May 20, 2015

    Hi OP, Thanks for taking our many questions and answering them with so much effort :)

    I'm trying to get my foot into MBB for this upcoming recruiting season, and am wondering the importance of networking with the recruiters. Knowing that it'll fall on the consultants to evaluate our resumes, I'm wondering if it's a wise use of my time to try to develop a relationship with the recruiters (I'm at a non-target but top 20 overall/my major). What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks again!

    May 20, 2015
    Sue-Lee:

    Hi OP, Thanks for taking our many questions and answering them with so much effort :)

    I'm trying to get my foot into MBB for this upcoming recruiting season, and am wondering the importance of networking with the recruiters. Knowing that it'll fall on the consultants to evaluate our resumes, I'm wondering if it's a wise use of my time to try to develop a relationship with the recruiters (I'm at a non-target but top 20 overall/my major). What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks again!

    It'll be next to impossible to develop any sort of meaningful relationship with the recruiters. So to that extent, not only would it be wasted effort, it would also almost certainly come off weird. That being said, you should still reach out to the recruiters with meaningful questions just so they recognize your name and respect your application.

    May 22, 2015

    for experience hires from tier 2 firms, who review their resume.

    say someone with 2-5 years experience

    May 26, 2015
    hellocon:

    for experience hires from tier 2 firms, who review their resume.

    say someone with 2-5 years experience

    In-house recruiters, I believe. Honestly, I'm not sure. I was not at all involved with experienced hire recruiting and it wasn't that common of a path into the Firm.

    greg10:

    This is perhaps the best Consulting AMA I have ever seen. Thanks for doing it.

    I am just about to finish my sophomore year (I study social sciences/humanities at a semi-target) and I received 3 summer internship offers: Big 4 Assurance, F100 Accounting and one working for a Congressman in DC. Which one should I pick if I hope to work in consulting in the future? You have ranked different internships in one of your previous posts, how do these 3 rank compared to them?

    Thanks a lot for the answer!

    Tough one... I don't have as much personal experience with these since I was mostly reviewing engineer applications. I might put Big 4 over F100 just because of the brand name, though AriZGold went the other way and he/she may know better. The congressman opportunity is a bit of a wildcard. You could probably spin that incredibly, but it might just end up sounding like you were getting coffee. It also does less to diversify you resume given the social sciences degree.

    My personal advice: think about which one is going to set you up for a more prestigious gig next summer, regardless of whether that's at MBB or not.

    quote="itsalwayssunnyinflorida" Regarding DTA, what factors did you see driving success? I love the work too and didn't have any problem putting in extra hours on weekends to command unfamiliar material, but I'm also keenly aware that there's a political element involved. Was it top-notch Excel modeling, maturity with clients, or firm involvement that usually got someone over the edge? Or perhaps all of the above?

    (2) Regarding your colleagues at McKinsey, did you see anybody who managed to build successful startups or nonprofits while working full-time? If so, was it mostly a function of putting in the extra miles (aka staying up until 3 am every weekday) or being good networkers and having a good team around them (perhaps by starting ventures with people at the firm)?

    Appreciate your input![/quote]

    (1) It's definitely not top-notch Excel modeling. That's a given for any successful BA. It's also not really internal involvement: expectations aren't that high at the BA level. As long as you're doing one or two things then you should be good.

    Of the three you mentioned, client relationship skills is by far the most important. That's what's lacking in a lot of lower tier BA's. It's also the abstract problem solving skills (hard to define... imagine what would make you consider someone very intelligent that had nothing to do with their analytical skills) and the ability to think strategically. Once you DTA, you're basically expected to be on a 12 month track to EM. That means that you're not only demonstrating upper tier associate skills, you're also convincing partners that they'd be happy to have you leading their projects on a very short time frame.

    (2) No, and it is against McKinsey's employment contract to do so. I won't go in-depth to try to justify/defend that policy, other than to say the Firm expects you to be pouring all available energy into McKinsey. There are a couple of options that you could take advantage of the pursue your own projects, but nothing short of leaving McKinsey would give you legal rights to your work.

    Mar 27, 2017

    (retracted)

    May 22, 2015

    This is perhaps the best Consulting AMA I have ever seen. Thanks for doing it.

    I am just about to finish my sophomore year (I study social sciences/humanities at a semi-target) and I received 3 summer internship offers: Big 4 Assurance, F100 Accounting and one working for a Congressman in DC. Which one should I pick if I hope to work in consulting in the future? You have ranked different internships in one of your previous posts, how do these 3 rank compared to them?

    Thanks a lot for the answer!

    May 24, 2015

    None of these should make / break getting an interview, unless you work directly w/the Congressman and he makes a phone call. F100 Accounting would be my personal pick, its where you will likely learn the most.

    May 26, 2015

    I know this is quite a broad question but how do you think introverts fare in consulting?

    May 27, 2015
    21:

    I know this is quite a broad question but how do you think introverts fare in consulting?

    It's actually a fantastic question. I'm an introvert and I did well enough, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

    I ascribe to the school of thought that says introversion/extroversion is about energy. Extroverts get energy from being around people and introverts get energy from being by themselves. Everything else is derived from that (or other personality traits). To an extent, as a consultant you have to cultivate a kind of external extroversion. Nobody you work with should be able to tell you're an introvert unless they've worked with you pretty closely.

    There are a lot of aspects of the job that involve spending time with people. Collaborating with team members/clients, client interviews. Hell, even the social activities and team building are mandatory in a very real way. It's not okay to not participate because you don't want to spend time with people.

    The trick is just to find out how to make the life work for you. Figure out how to scope out an unused cube for your random work rather than hanging out in the team room all day. Don't linger for 2-3 drinks after dinner with the team, just head back to your hotel room. You can even take the initiative and plan team events that involve less socializing (watching sports requires less effort than going to a team dinner).

    May 26, 2015

    Thank you for doing this, I have sincerely reading through this thread. I have three questions as an undergrad hoping to break into the industry.

    1. What experiences stand out from a recruiting perspective for someone coming out of undergrad?
    2. How difficult were your team members to work with? and when there were disputes, how difficult were they to defuse?
    3. How available are international projects?
    May 27, 2015
    Uberhome:

    Thank you for doing this, I have sincerely reading through this thread. I have three questions as an undergrad hoping to break into the industry.

    1. What experiences stand out from a recruiting perspective for someone coming out of undergrad?

    2. How difficult were your team members to work with? and when there were disputes, how difficult were they to defuse?

    3. How available are international projects?

    1. Hard to answer, since any generic example wouldn't stand out :). In general, top tier consulting and banking internships are great. Any sort of (serious) entrepreneurship/founding work is great. If you can combine something like that with a good GPA then you're well on your way to an interview.
    2. Entirely depends on the individual and the project, of course. If the difficult person is another BA/associate, it doesn't really matter. You're almost never working so closely with them that it would matter that much. Just don't interact if you don't have to. If it's an EM (which it often was for me), it's a whole different story. To a large extent, you just have to suck it up and make it work. It's really hard if the disputes are over work and you really believe you're right, as holding back is in direct conflict with the obligation to dissent. If you have difficulty with an AP/partner, then you're pretty much just fucked.
    3. Sufficiently. I didn't do an international project because it wasn't a priority for me, but I ended up going overseas 5 times (for a week at a time: western Europe x3, Brazil, Mexico) for various projects and internal events.
    May 27, 2015

    Thanks for doing this; I appreciate any input you can give.

    I was hoping to get some advice regarding APD (advanced professional degree) hires at MBA level. I'm an Australian currently studying at a top tier medical school (in my country - ranked top ~20-30 globally).

    1. Over the next few years what are the most high yield things I can do to make myself a competitive applicant for MBB (assuming my current EC's/work exp are not worth mentioning/non-existent)?
    2. How much are my medical school grades (and earlier studies) a factor for recruitment?
    3. How are MD's perceived at your firm (and in your opinion) particularly for associate hires?
    May 27, 2015
    jobpls:

    Thanks for doing this; I appreciate any input you can give.

    I was hoping to get some advice regarding APD (advanced professional degree) hires at MBA level. I'm an Australian currently studying at a top tier medical school (in my country - ranked top ~20-30 globally).

    1. Over the next few years what are the most high yield things I can do to make myself a competitive applicant for MBB (assuming my current EC's/work exp are not worth mentioning/non-existent)?

    2. How much are my medical school grades (and earlier studies) a factor for recruitment?

    3. How are MD's perceived at your firm (and in your opinion) particularly for associate hires?

    I'm not really well equipped to handle #1 and #2, unfortunately. I was never anywhere near APD recruiting. The good news is that you're in the small minority in thinking about this before you're near graduation at a med school. Just go ahead and reach out to recruiters to see what they have to say. I think they'll be more than happy to help you out. The one thing I'm fairly sure of is that your MCAT score will matter a lot.

    In terms of perception of MD's: your background before McKinsey just doesn't matter that much. I met a couple of MD's in the mini MBA training I did but didn't think that much of it. It's kind of novel since it's a unique background, but it has nothing to do with your day-to-day job at the Firm. It's entirely possible I ran into another dozen MD's during my time consulting and didn't know it, because it just doesn't matter.

    Jun 1, 2015

    Thanks for doing this - very insightful stuff. I'm starting my career this fall in Big 4 Consulting after attending a Big-10 state school. I interviewed at McKinsey while I was in undergrad, but was not given an offer. Given that I had the qualifications and the network to get an interview at McKinsey as a nontarget student, what is the likelihood that I can jump to M/B/B after say 2 years of Big 4 consulting?
    Also, this may have been answered already, but would such a move place me at the level of Business Analyst, despite work experience?

    Jun 1, 2015
    Mrbusiness:

    Thanks for doing this - very insightful stuff. I'm starting my career this fall in Big 4 Consulting after attending a Big-10 state school. I interviewed at McKinsey while I was in undergrad, but was not given an offer. Given that I had the qualifications and the network to get an interview at McKinsey as a nontarget student, what is the likelihood that I can jump to M/B/B after say 2 years of Big 4 consulting?
    Also, this may have been answered already, but would such a move place me at the level of Business Analyst, despite work experience?

    Given that you got an interview an undergrad, it's reasonable to think that you could get another interview in 2 years (or maybe even 1). The trick is to convince them that you're a legitimately better candidate (i.e. can pass the interview) the second time around. Also, an interview at McKinsey doesn't necessarily translate to an interview somewhere else. They each have slightly different things they look for, and it depends a lot on the person who's reviewing your application.

    2 years of big-4 is definitely still a BA role. Your best bet for an associate role is b-school.

    Jun 1, 2015

    Can you tell me how was your experience with McKinsey in brasil?? I'm brazilian from a the top engineering school here, and plan to apply for an intern later in the year. Also, any tips from what should/shouldnt be on my CV?

    Jun 2, 2015
    JhunLOW:

    Can you tell me how was your experience with McKinsey in brasil?? I'm brazilian from a the top engineering school here, and plan to apply for an intern later in the year. Also, any tips from what should/shouldnt be on my CV?

    I only spent a week in Brazil, co-working with the regional leader of one of my clients. I have no experience with any McKinsey folks based in Brazil, so unfortunately I can't speak to that at all.

    Lots of tips on CV, assuming it's the same there as it is here. Don't list skills (programming languages for example) or specific classes. Do list standardized test scores, assuming you did well (even from late high school). Include any prestigious scholarship you've receive. Emphasize leadership experiences: that's often a very weak point for many undergrads, especially STEM.

    Anything specific you're wondering whether to include or not?

    Jun 2, 2015

    I have a question about the leadership experience, i worked with a professor of mine at a organic food coop. I had to talk to producers, plan a logistic system to minimize their costs and help them expand sales. I always felt that this improved my leadership and analytical skills. I had to talk to a lot of people(like 20-30 producers) to persuade them to join our coop, showing that this would improve their profit, and also had to talk to a lot of small markets here to sell our products.

    Is this something worthing mentioning on my cv?? Also, i received a scholarship and studied in england for 1 year, is this also worth mentioning??

    Thanks!

    Jun 4, 2015

    I am currently a admitted MBA student, will be starting my MBA from Europe from Sept 2015 onwards. I have applied for pre-MBA event for McKinsey in Bangkok. Since I will be studying at European school, language will be a big barrier while pursuing consulting career option in Europe (I selected this school because they offered me nice scholarship). Now, My question is whether attending pre-MBA event in Bangkok will increase my prospect of gaining employments at McKinsey in SE region?.........Thanks for your feedback....

    Jun 5, 2015
    sunil.nitk:

    I am currently a admitted MBA student, will be starting my MBA from Europe from Sept 2015 onwards. I have applied for pre-MBA event for McKinsey in Bangkok. Since I will be studying at European school, language will be a big barrier while pursuing consulting career option in Europe (I selected this school because they offered me nice scholarship). Now, My question is whether attending pre-MBA event in Bangkok will increase my prospect of gaining employments at McKinsey in SE region?.........Thanks for your feedback....

    I honestly have no idea. I'm not familiar with that type of event at all. I can't imagine they'd hold the event for no reason, but I just don't know anything about it.

    coffeeee:

    I'm currently preparing for interviews and I'm trying to better myself at frameworking non-standard problems.
    One example I got from someone at WSO (I think he/she got it at a final round at an MBB interview) is this case: Obama wants to sell Hawaii to Japan, what is a good price?
    I really like non-standard problems like that, do you have some non-standard cases you think would be good to use to judge someone's business acumen/strategic mindset?

    Eh, not really. I did have one "stress"-ish interview in my final round. At one point, the partner but a graph in front of me that just had a generally increasing line. He asked me what I made of it. That's about as close as I got to your scenario.

    In general, the content of your answer to questions like that doesn't really matter (to an extent). In a lot of ways, they're more like sizing questions. The interviewer is looking to gauge your thinking process and your ability to think on your feet.

    Jun 4, 2015

    I'm currently preparing for interviews and I'm trying to better myself at frameworking non-standard problems.
    One example I got from someone at WSO (I think he/she got it at a final round at an MBB interview) is this case: Obama wants to sell Hawaii to Japan, what is a good price?
    I really like non-standard problems like that, do you have some non-standard cases you think would be good to use to judge someone's business acumen/strategic mindset?

    Jun 7, 2015

    Didn't read all the comments so not sure if anyone asked this already but how many golf balls fit into a Boeing 747?

    Jun 8, 2015

    I'll pretend you asked ping pong balls, in which case the answer is 22,870,000: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/social-media...

    Jun 9, 2015

    If hired as a Business Analyst, how quickly do you get to pick your specialty? If I was primarily interested in doing public sector (military/intel) and defense/aerospace in DC, how quickly would I be able to move to that office and work on those cases?

    Jun 9, 2015
    KingofMe:

    If hired as a Business Analyst, how quickly do you get to pick your specialty? If I was primarily interested in doing public sector (military/intel) and defense/aerospace in DC, how quickly would I be able to move to that office and work on those cases?

    Moving offices is tougher than specializing. It's tough to make an office transition as a BA generally and pretty much impossible in the first year.

    In general you can be mostly specialized in an area in 6-12 months assuming you're good at it and network properly (mixed with some luck). Of course, that also assumes that the work is available in your office.

    The easiest way (but not fastest) to do something like that as a BA is to do a 3rd year fellowship. You can do almost whatever you want, including moving offices and joining a practice.

    Jun 10, 2015

    Interesting, thanks for your prompt response.
    Do you know much about how strong / respected the practice is in the areas I mentioned? Is it necessary to be in the DC office to work in those fields? I'm from NYC and have most friends there but would be open to living in DC.

    My work experience is all in financial services (PE), is that going to make them want to put me in that practice / in the NY office?

    Thanks for your time.

    Jun 11, 2015

    Hey McK_Throwaway,

    Do you have an idea of how to gauge office selectivity/popularity ? I would be looking at European and African offices, so it might not exactly be the kind of information about which you're the most knowledgeable. Any pointers on where to look for that kind of info ?

    Thanks again !

    Jun 11, 2015
    Ruhm:

    Hey McK_Throwaway,

    Do you have an idea of how to gauge office selectivity/popularity ? I would be looking at European and African offices, so it might not exactly be the kind of information about which you're the most knowledgeable. Any pointers on where to look for that kind of info ?

    Thanks again !

    I know very little about those offices. In terms of size, I guess you could just go to LinkedIn and search McKinsey employees by geography? There's definitely no way to determine selectivity. Despite the circle-jerk around here, there's no hard and fast rule like "New York is the hardest office to get hired into". Intra-office variance among interviewers is much higher than inter-office variance in the US.

    Jun 12, 2015

    What do you look for when you are hiring? How do you standout in a pile of resumes in order to get an interview? Is applying on the website a lot harder than campus recruiting?

    Jun 12, 2015
    unemployednsadugh:

    What do you look for when you are hiring? How do you standout in a pile of resumes in order to get an interview? Is applying on the website a lot harder than campus recruiting?

    Depends on the stage of hiring. To answer your second question first, it's less about "standing out" and more about just having a fantastic resume. Great work experience, great academics, great leadership experiences. There's no magic bullet there... just be a very accomplished well-rounded individual.

    In the interviews, you just have to give reasonably good answers to the PEI questions and impress the interviewers on the cases. Case practice is, of course, invaluable; but to a large extent, it depends a lot on the rapport you create with the interviewer? Unfair? Maybe... but so is a client not liking working with you because you don't know how to establish rapport.

    Applying on the website might be almost completely useless. At the very least you need to reach out a relevant recruiter before you drop your resume in the black box.

    Jun 14, 2015

    Hey guys. Is there a value add in taking the SAT or GMAT?
    I did very well on the GRE, 169Q(97%ile) 165V(95) 5.5AWA(98)
    I have no other test scores. No SAT/GMAT. For financial reasons, I went community college -> rank 40ish uni(BA + BS) -> rank 20ish uni(MS), each time upping my GPA from meh to OK to near perfect(some forecasting, starting soon). Work experience and internships at multiple F100s and some promotions/high profile projects.

    Jun 14, 2015
    xelink:

    Hey guys. Is there a value add in taking the SAT or GMAT?
    I did very well on the GRE, 169Q(97%ile) 165V(95) 5.5AWA(98)
    I have no other test scores. No SAT/GMAT. For financial reasons, I went community college -> rank 40ish uni(BA + BS) -> rank 20ish uni(MS), each time upping my GPA from meh to OK to near perfect(some forecasting, starting soon). Work experience and internships at multiple F100s and some promotions/high profile projects.

    I wouldn't think so. Your GRE score is good enough on its own. Having another great score from the SAT or GMAT on your resume might be a little bit of a psychological bump to the person reviewing, but test scores are a pretty small part of the overall evaluation. You're probably better off focusing on other elements of your application.

      • 1
    Jun 14, 2015
    McK_Throwaway:

    I wouldn't think so. Your GRE score is good enough on its own. Having another great score from the SAT or GMAT on your resume might be a little bit of a psychological bump to the person reviewing, but test scores are a pretty small part of the overall evaluation. You're probably better off focusing on other elements of your application.

    Thank you for the insight. I'll probably take the SAT just for laughs(and a possible psychological boost for myself) since it's cheap and overlaps with the recently studied for GRE. Definitely nice knowing that it's a non-issue, I've been paranoid as of late.

    Jun 16, 2015

    Thanks for doing this!

    My question is this: What would you have done or tried to do if you didn't get into McKinsey? Did you have a plan for pursuits or did you have other offers on the table?

    Jun 16, 2015
    NoEfficientMarkets:

    Thanks for doing this!

    My question is this: What would you have done or tried to do if you didn't get into McKinsey? Did you have a plan for pursuits or did you have other offers on the table?

    McKinsey wasn't even my primary plan. I was actually going to go to grad school and likely go for my PhD. I knew about management consulting and decided against it because of the lifestyle. I ended up just randomly stopping by one of the McKinsey recruiting events on campus and decided that I really liked the folks, so I applied. Luckily the application process finished before I had to put together apps for grad schools. I was interviewing at one or two other places, but not other consulting firms.

    Jun 16, 2015

    I am an analyst in IB, where almost any top 20 MBA will get you into an associate role. What level of MBA program is generally required to get into MBB? I have a friend at MBB who went to Tuck, but that is just one data point.

    Jun 16, 2015
    Sil:

    I am an analyst in IB, where almost any top 20 MBA will get you into an associate role. What level of MBA program is generally required to get into MBB? I have a friend at MBB who went to Tuck, but that is just one data point.

    There's definitely no firm cutoff. My best advice is to Google McKinsey and the name of the school. If there's a page dedicated to the school on the McK website (http://www.McKinsey.com/careers/your_career/mckinsey_on_campus/schools/mba/dartmouth_-_tuck) then it means that it's at least a semi-target and you have a chance at getting hired. If the school doesn't have a page, that doesn't mean it's impossible, just a lot harder.

      • 1
    Nov 9, 2015

    .

    Jun 18, 2015
    mchazman:

    I'm an undergrad at a non-target on the West Coast (perhaps a semi-target since it's listed at on the McKinsey website, but we don't have any on-campus recruiting and I don't know of a single student who's made it to McKinsey in the last couple years). Any advice for getting a an interview for full-time recruiting in fall? I'm currently interning at a econ consulting, solid GPA/SAT & leadership on campus, was flat out rejected when I applied for the summer a few months back.

    Honestly, if you didn't get an interview for the summer role then it's going to be tough for you to get an interview for full time. Short of having a stellar change in your resume, your best bet is to try to get in touch with them. See if you can get the contact info for a recruiter or a consultant who's likely to be sympathetic. Explain your situation and ask if they can help you tailor your resume a bit more.

    Nov 9, 2015

    .

    Nov 9, 2015

    not necessarily...didnt get first round for Summer BA..but ended up getting BA offer :) (But I did get Bain first round last time..also for FT, I got all MBB first rounds and BCG offer too..things could certainly change!)

    Jun 21, 2015

    Thank you so much for taking our questions! I know the topic of getting an interview has been addressed, but I was wondering if you had any advice specific to my situation. I go to a target and didn't get an interview for the summer program. I am at a boutique consulting firm this summer, my GPA is 0.2 points higher than it was during summer recruiting, and I'm studying for the GMAT for another number on my resume. Any recommendations for what else I can do this summer to increase my chances of getting an interview? I don't have any leadership positions on campus and was wondering if there are ways for me to make up for my lack of leadership experience before full-time recruiting.

    Jun 21, 2015
    aspiringconsultant92:

    Thank you so much for taking our questions! I know the topic of getting an interview has been addressed, but I was wondering if you had any advice specific to my situation. I go to a target and didn't get an interview for the summer program. I am at a boutique consulting firm this summer, my GPA is 0.2 points higher than it was during summer recruiting, and I'm studying for the GMAT for another number on my resume. Any recommendations for what else I can do this summer to increase my chances of getting an interview? I don't have any leadership positions on campus and was wondering if there are ways for me to make up for my lack of leadership experience before full-time recruiting.

    It sounds like your mind's in the right place. You definitely need to bolster your leadership experience. There are a lot of options for how to do so, but none of them are easy. Is there anything along those lines you can do at your internship? There's no standard formula for how to get leadership experience... just look for opportunities in your life.

    Jun 24, 2015

    I'm just completing my 5th year at a boutique healthcare/pharma consulting firm (one of the big 2-3 in the space). I have just been promoted to an Associate-level position and am considering a lateral transition to a MBB or other more strategy-focused consultancy to broaden my focus away from pharma. I'm based in Tokyo and speak Japanese so would prefer to stay here but am open to a move elsewhere. One thing I am not interested in anytime soon is getting an MBA -- I went to a top 25 school for undergrad, but have no graduate degree.

    Is my goal of trying to get different industry experience by moving to a strategy consultancy realistic, or would you suggest I try a different route? Given my work experience would my lack of an MBA hurt me? Thanks in advance!

    Jun 25, 2015
    armageddon7:

    I'm just completing my 5th year at a boutique healthcare/pharma consulting firm (one of the big 2-3 in the space). I have just been promoted to an Associate-level position and am considering a lateral transition to a MBB or other more strategy-focused consultancy to broaden my focus away from pharma. I'm based in Tokyo and speak Japanese so would prefer to stay here but am open to a move elsewhere. One thing I am not interested in anytime soon is getting an MBA -- I went to a top 25 school for undergrad, but have no graduate degree.

    Is my goal of trying to get different industry experience by moving to a strategy consultancy realistic, or would you suggest I try a different route? Given my work experience would my lack of an MBA hurt me? Thanks in advance!

    That's not quite enough information to give you a really definitive answer. That being said, I think it's unlikely that you'd be able to lateral as a new associate into an associate position at McKinsey, despite the fact that you've been there for 5 years. If you're willing to take the 2 year step back down to BA then you probably have a pretty strong profile. So no, (depending on your other qualifications) I don't think it's unreasonable at all. But if you want to come in as an associate then the lack of an MBA will probably hurt.

    fabofly:

    I have a quick question, I am what many consider an "URM" except I am Canadian. I serve as a mentor at a Black professional association and a church, but I don't ever list this on my resume. While many think its a plus to be an URM, I have always worried it may be a deterrent considering all the racial tension that exists. What are your thoughts on the matter, should I mention it on my resume or no?

    I'm not fully sure I understand the question. McKinsey definitely has an affirmative action policy in place, which is related to race, not ethnicity (I think). It sounds like your ancestors are from sub-saharan Africa, in which case you definitely qualify. If I'm misunderstanding and your ancestors were actually Native American from Canada, I'd imagine that you qualify doubly-so.

    In terms of actually applying, there's a place to specify race on the application. You don't need to put anything on your resume if you don't want, though serving as a mentor at a black professional association is probably good experience.

    In terms of racial tension, what are you worried about? I certainly never came across anyone who was overtly racist at McKinsey or a client. Of course, I'm white, so I wouldn't have seen it as much as my black ex-colleagues. Still, it's hard to imagine someone in recruiting at any major corporation disliking your resume because you imply you're black.

    Jun 25, 2015

    Thanks for your response. I apologize for the confusion, I am a first generation Canadian black and my parents are from Africa. It appears you are speaking from the U.S. perspective, "URM" and affirmative action/policies do not exist here for latinos/blacks, native Americans being the one exception. Canadian culture is a bit different and we are bit more awkward when it comes to racial tensions. Nonetheless your response has been very helpful and I will definitely include the experiences moving forward.

    Jun 24, 2015

    This thread is absolute fantastic, the amount of effort and detail is putting into the thread is great. Thanks Op.

    I have a quick question, I am what many consider an "URM" except I am Canadian. I serve as a mentor at a Black professional association and a church, but I don't ever list this on my resume. While many think its a plus to be an URM, I have always worried it may be a deterrent considering all the racial tension that exists. What are your thoughts on the matter, should I mention it on my resume or no?

    Jun 25, 2015

    Disclaimer: I'm black.

    Being black isn't going to hurt you. If anything, you're likely to get a closer look than your resume may deserve. At this caliber of firm, it won't get you the job if you aren't qualified, but in my experience, the GPA/GMAT/target school unofficial cutoffs may not apply and they'll at least look at you. I've never experienced an issue with my race in the recruiting process, in undergrad or MBA level. In fact, you typically qualify for special programs and/or get flagged to minority-focused networking/mentorship groups within the organization.

    Jun 25, 2015

    Thanks OP for STILL doing this.

    While we're on the topic of diversity, what would you say the demographics is like at McKinsey? 1) by gender 2) by race?

    Jun 25, 2015
    suehlee88:

    Thanks OP for STILL doing this.

    While we're on the topic of diversity, what would you say the demographics is like at McKinsey? 1) by gender 2) by race?

    1) As with most professional jobs, female representation is better at junior levels. I'd estimate 30-40% women for BA's, getting progressively worse down to 5-10% for partners. Almost all assistants and recruiters are women. Almost all staffing (professional development) folks are women who were EM's then stopped consulting when they had their first kid (I know this sounds incredibly chauvinistic, but it seemed pretty universally true).

    2) Hmm... good question. I'm going to have to make very rough estimates.
    60% - White
    20% - Indian
    10% - Asian
    5% - Black
    5% - Other (Hispanic, I guess)

    Jun 26, 2015

    If op is still willing to answer questions. What would you say is the most common empty credential you often on candidates applications? What is the credential that always made you take a second look or favor an particular Candidate? I was also told by a former McKinsey recruiter that the first thing they read is the interest section, can you confirm this? Additionally, can a lowish undergrad gpa ever be trumped with interesting master degrees with high gpas or is one forever stained with an average under grad gpa?

    Not to be greedy, it's not often you get a legitimate ex MBB who is willing to answer questions thoughtfully. Hopefully the questions I'm asking can also be of value to other wso members.

    Jun 26, 2015
    fabofly:

    If op is still willing to answer questions. What would you say is the most common empty credential you often on candidates applications? What is the credential that always made you take a second look or favor an particular Candidate? I was also told by a former McKinsey recruiter that the first thing they read is the interest section, can you confirm this? Additionally, can a lowish undergrad gpa ever be trumped with interesting master degrees with high gpas or is one forever stained with an average under grad gpa?

    Not to be greedy, it's not often you get a legitimate ex MBB who is willing to answer questions thoughtfully. Hopefully the questions I'm asking can also be of value to other wso members.

    From my school, the most common line that got an eye roll was the undergraduate consulting club. I'm sure some schools have good clubs, but this one was crap and some reviewers actually looked less favorably on a resume for it.

    In terms of really outstanding experiences... obviously there are none that are common, otherwise they wouldn't be outstanding. It's all of the sorts of things you would imagine: Fulbright scholarship, started and running successful company, president of the student body (they turned down two while I was recruiting), etc. I wish I was exaggerating, but anything less than that isn't outstanding by itself.

    Every resume reviewer does things their own way. I did not look at interests first and honestly barely looked at it if it was there. It shouldn't (mostly isn't) factored into the decision to give you an interview or not. Of course, I still have an interests section on my resume.

    A lowish undergrad GPA isn't "trumped" by a good graduate one, it's just another data point. It tells a good story to have improved over time. If you can provide a good reason in your cover letter that your undergrad GPA was low and you pulled yourself together for the grad school GPA, then you may be able to get an interview despite the undergrad GPA (rest of the resume permitting, of course).

    AnalyzeThat:

    I've been given some interesting advice and was wondering what your take was on it.

    The advice given to me was that I should consider skipping the summer internship interviews. I'm starting my MBA in August, and the reasoning behind this advice was that I would almost certainly receive an interview for FT position because of the school I am attending. MBB hands out more FT offers than internships, so skipping summer interviews would do 2 things for me: (1) allow me to gain experience at an interesting internship that could really boost my resume, and (2) I would face less competition as all the top contenders are grabbed up during summer recruiting.

    I don't think I have the cojones to actually skip the interviews because consulting is my current job preference, but I was curious what your thoughts were on this advice.

    In addition to this, I have one more question. Hypothetical: Let's say I got 2 internship offers. One at MBB and one at an exciting internship.. Let's also say that I would love to take this internship opportunity to gain a new perspective and interesting experience, but this internship is not something I would consider for FT. Is there some sort of deal I could make with MBB to allow me to take this internship and come back to MBB FT or would I have to reapply during FT recruiting? Would I burn bridges by accepting the internship?

    First, the thought-process on the school leading to an interview is very flawed. I don't know of any school that consistently gives out more interviews than 10% of the resumes they receive, HBS included (though I admittedly wasn't part of HBS' recruiting process).

    The thought on facing less competition because the best candidates were interns is very flawed as well. That's just not how it works.

    Overall, I'd say it's not particularly good advice, but there is an interesting nugget there. What are your long-term goals? Do you want to be a partner at McKinsey? If so, then sack up and go interview at McKinsey every chance you get. If you're not sure and you really want to explore all of the options out there, then by all means go interview for something that you don't know nearly as much about as McKinsey.

    With regards to the second question, I'm pretty sure there's no deal you can work out. In fact, if you turn down an offer for a summer internship then there are many folks in recruiting who would not be interested in inviting you back for interviews for full time. Fair or not, a lot of McKinsey folks are very prideful and would take it very personally if you turned down an offer.

    Jun 26, 2015

    I've been given some interesting advice and was wondering what your take was on it.

    The advice given to me was that I should consider skipping the summer internship interviews. I'm starting my MBA in August, and the reasoning behind this advice was that I would almost certainly receive an interview for FT position because of the school I am attending. MBB hands out more FT offers than internships, so skipping summer interviews would do 2 things for me: (1) allow me to gain experience at an interesting internship that could really boost my resume, and (2) I would face less competition as all the top contenders are grabbed up during summer recruiting.

    I don't think I have the cojones to actually skip the interviews because consulting is my current job preference, but I was curious what your thoughts were on this advice.

    In addition to this, I have one more question. Hypothetical: Let's say I got 2 internship offers. One at MBB and one at an exciting internship.. Let's also say that I would love to take this internship opportunity to gain a new perspective and interesting experience, but this internship is not something I would consider for FT. Is there some sort of deal I could make with MBB to allow me to take this internship and come back to MBB FT or would I have to reapply during FT recruiting? Would I burn bridges by accepting the internship?

    Jun 26, 2015

    What do you think are chances and ways of getting into Financial Consultancy over from Private Wealth Management. I have been a Private Banker for the last 10 years and do not think that I would like to continue in this profession any longer. I am looking to do something more analytical.

    Appreciate your comments and guidance.

    DBS79

    Jun 26, 2015
    PBBanker:

    What do you think are chances and ways of getting into Financial Consultancy over from Private Wealth Management. I have been a Private Banker for the last 10 years and do not think that I would like to continue in this profession any longer. I am looking to do something more analytical.

    Appreciate your comments and guidance.

    I don't think you can apply directly to the finance practice of McKinsey as a consultant (perhaps an expert, but I know next to nothing about that); you would be applying as a generalist. I don't think personal wealth management is a super strong background, but again, this isn't something I know a whole lot about. Your best bet is to get in touch with a recruiter and see what they have to say.

    Jun 26, 2015

    Thanks for taking the time. I've been working in corp development / strategy for a telecom player for 2 years post undergrad and I'm thinking about transitioning into a consulting role pre MBA. Do consulting shops like candidates coming from industry? What % of business analysts are experienced hires? Is the recruitment process different for experienced hires versus school recruitment?

    Jun 26, 2015
    Bananot:

    Thanks for taking the time. I've been working in corp development / strategy for a telecom player for 2 years post undergrad and I'm thinking about transitioning into a consulting role pre MBA. Do consulting shops like candidates coming from industry? What % of business analysts are experienced hires? Is the recruitment process different for experienced hires versus school recruitment?

    It's not a super traditional path into McKinsey, but I think it's alright. Probably <10% of BAs come from industry as opposed to coming off campus. It's a different process in the sense that I don't think you'd go through the standard fall on-campus recruiting process. I think it would largely be the same beyond that (2 first round interviews, 3 final round). Your best bet is to reach out to a recruiter directly and ask them about the process.

    thatswhatsup2:

    This thread has provided more value and accuracy than 80% of the threads that exist on here. Thank you op.

    I only have one quick question. From my perspective, it appears that the holy trinity that allows a person to be interviewed at McKinsey is top grades + top ecs + brand name internship. I have seen ways the first two can be supplemented if they are not great but what about the lack of brand internship? Is it truly not possible to make up for it if the others are supplemented? (assuming the first two are at top schools)

    Also what was your greatest and worst memory?

    That's what I aspire to: top quintile performance.

    I wouldn't say a brand name internship is strictly necessary. Semi-common alternatives are starting up your own company or doing some really top-notch undergraduate research work. The key is having solid experience with professional-grade work, not necessarily the brand name internship. Non-brand name internships don't look great just because it's harder to determine whether it was a truly enriching experience or not.

    Greatest: Getting the call letting me know I had gotten the job. Looking back on it, it's not a great sign that there was no other single event that lived up to that excitement for me.

    Worst: E-mailing my EM at 2 AM that I was going to sleep because I was waiting for an analysis back from the China research team and waking up at 5 AM to an angry note back from him because I had promised to send the finished analysis that night.

    Jun 26, 2015

    This thread has provided more value and accuracy than 80% of the threads that exist on here. Thank you op.

    I only have one quick question. From my perspective, it appears that the holy trinity that allows a person to be interviewed at McKinsey is top grades + top ecs + brand name internship. I have seen ways the first two can be supplemented if they are not great but what about the lack of brand internship? Is it truly not possible to make up for it if the others are supplemented? (assuming the first two are at top schools)

    Also what was your greatest and worst memory?

    Jul 1, 2015

    I'd like to echo what others have said in thanking the OP for a very informative thread.

    If I could, I'd like to ask what you think about the chances of a lateral hire into MBB from a life sciences boutique as a PhD holder. I ask this question strategically for the future. I'm currently a postdoctoral fellow at a non-profit research institute in London, and did my PhD at a target school in the US where MBB actively recruits PhD scientists. I'm currently applying for jobs, and it looks like I might have one or two full-time opportunities to start this fall at well respected life science firms as an off-cycle applicant/referral. I'm also planning on applying to MBB and other top firms on-cycle this autumn. Would I be closing the door to MBB by taking a boutique job for a few years? None of the boutique positions are finalised yet, but my chances are good. MBB on the other hand is less predictable.

    Is a bird in the hand worth more or less than two in the bush in my situation?

    Jul 1, 2015
    MadScientist:

    I'd like to echo what others have said in thanking the OP for a very informative thread.

    If I could, I'd like to ask what you think about the chances of a lateral hire into MBB from a life sciences boutique as a PhD holder. I ask this question strategically for the future. I'm currently a postdoctoral fellow at a non-profit research institute in London, and did my PhD at a target school in the US where MBB actively recruits PhD scientists. I'm currently applying for jobs, and it looks like I might have one or two full-time opportunities to start this fall at well respected life science firms as an off-cycle applicant/referral. I'm also planning on applying to MBB and other top firms on-cycle this autumn. Would I be closing the door to MBB by taking a boutique job for a few years? None of the boutique positions are finalised yet, but my chances are good. MBB on the other hand is less predictable.

    Is a bird in the hand worth more or less than two in the bush in my situation?

    I don't know a lot about the field, but I wouldn't imagine that experience at a life sciences boutique would be super helpful for a career at McKinsey. It seems unlikely that spending 2-3 years at a boutique firm would put you in any better position. That being said, you wouldn't be any worse off than you are today. So no, you wouldn't be closing any doors. Just talk with recruiters and make sure they understand your story so they can give good advice.

    W17C17:

    Background: I'm a junior at a target school, studying biology and finance.

    I know this has been asked a few times, and I've heard some varying answers, but I wanted to ask specifically about GPA cutoffs. I've mostly heard that 3.7+ is a standard cutoff, but I was wondering if there's any flexibility with this. Is there an absolute lower bound that recruiters will use if an applicant's resume is otherwise stellar, or does a GPA under 3.7 automatically disqualify you?

    No firm cutoffs. GPA is just a factor. Value of different GPA levels will vary based on school, degree, and the rigor of the other activities you're doing (if you're working 20+ hours a week to put yourself through school you better believe you get some leeway with your GPA). I had under a 3.7 GPA.

    Just a quick correction: recruiters will not be the ones reviewing your application. It'll be looked at by 2+ BAs, Associates, and/or EMs who are part of the recruiting team for your school.

    Jul 6, 2015

    Thank you so much for the response--this definitely has me hopeful with recruiting season coming up this year.

    "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less."

    Jul 1, 2015
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    "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less."

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