Getting into McKinsey BTO?

L-K's picture
Rank: Chimp | 3

Hey guys!

I'm wondering what is optimal profile for getting into McKinsey BTO (Business Technology Office) right out of college?

Let me explain: I live in Central Europe, have a bachelor's in Electrical Engineering (lot of ICT subjects, ERP implementation internship) from the top technical university in my country, now I'm studying for my master's in Management at the same university, did a consulting internship at a Big4, had top leadership positions in a student organization, and I'm member of the university's consulting club.

McKinsey promoted 2 main recruitment events in my city: a case study competition, and a 5 day international BTO workshop. I got into the finals of the competition by doing good on the PST (around top 10%), which is great, but I'm more concerned that I was not selected for the BTO workshop based on my CV and motivation letter (I have no info on applicants/selected numbers), because I feel that if they didn't find my profile attractive now, I won't really have a chance when applying for a FT position.

So I'm really curious, what is the optimal profile for BTO applicants? Is engineering background or experience an advantage or disadvantage? Would I do better to apply with a bunch of years of industry experience?

Some country specific info:
-McK HR confirmed that they want to hire people for BTO in my city
-almost everyone does a master's right after their bachelor's, very few people have MBAs, mostly those that have it payed by MBB
-GPA is not really a thing here, higher education kinda sucks, and compaies know that, so they don't really care about your grades
Thanks for your help!

Comments (14)

Apr 10, 2014

I don't have solid answers for any of your questions, but have a few thoughts:
- What was the process for applying for the BTO workshop - just CV/CL or additional rounds of interviews like in normal recruiting process?
- If the choice was based solely on CV/CL, then I suppose it was the competition that take you out - competing with the whole country for the few spots is harder than to go past screening and get your interviews.
- You mentioned that grades aren't an important thing, however it could be your weak spot just because of the process.

My intuition is that you should care about your CV/CL, but not that much. Do not throw your chances away just because of the rejection on that event.

p.s. I'm curious, did you mean Problem Solving Test by PST? Is it a part of the business case competition?

Apr 10, 2014

I'd advise you to find a local McKinsey BTO person on LinkedIn and ask them. Superficially your background looks fine, although something related more directly related to IT might have made you an even more obvious candidate, but I have no idea as for the requirements in your country though, hence the advice above.

Apr 10, 2014

Thanks, very useful answers!

Some additional info, and reply to some of the questions:

BulatD
-There was only CV/CL screening at the workshop, no other contact. I feel that my CV is very solid, but maybe my CL should have been better, who knows. I'll work on that more next time
-My grades are not very good, but one of my friends got to last round at McK with even worse, so I don't think that would be a big problem in the long run, but you're right, it might cause me some dificulties. I'm definitely working on improving them until graduation.
-PST: yes we did some modified version of PST. Local language, 35 questions, but still 60 minutes. Pretty sick, if you ask me. The questions were the usual stuff, but slightly less complex than their 26-question counterparts. Still extremely hard, though. We'll go to some 2-day prep event with McK HR+consultants, and we'll have case solving and presentations after (or I'll guess so, they are pretty secretive about the content and schedules so far).

Andres:
-Thanks for your insights! Unfortunately, as they are just planning to open a BTO practice here, there are no locals to approach, but I'll definitely try to network around to see if I can get some insider opinion. I'm gonna meet some McK people in a few days because of the competition, so I'll also ask them a few questions.

Apr 10, 2014

I am also from CE and currently starting with one of MBBs there with a lot of contacts with remaining ones, so I can probably give you a bit of an insight there.
Honestly, even though it seems that you might be on the right track, your profile just does not look that strong. You have to realize that you are competing against peers not only from your country, but with guys who studied all over the world at top schools. From my experience the majority of new BAs/Associates are guys with pedigrees from Oxbridge/LSE/HSW, etc., therefore you have to figure out a way how to stand out even in this much more competitive field (for instance in comparison with Big4).

Few recommendations there:
I doubt that you really have a shot at FT right now, these positions generally go to locals who already have their Masters. You might want to consider the summer internship, which is arguably easier to get there and if you perform, you have a good chance to get an FT offer.

GPA actually matters, especially for McK, even in this region. You can overcome it, if you network hard enough, but if you are around or below 3,2, they will seriously start to question your ability to do the job (because it means that you are either on the wrong track (bad judgement, lack of strategical thinking), you are reckless (can I really entrust this guy with this model?) or just plain stupid) and you have to make a case for why you werent able to get better grades. So, thats one thing you want to keep in mind.

From my experience majority of guys who went to BTO (at least in the recent past) had some engineering background, so thats good. On the other hand, it is questionable, why are you switching to MIM (and I assume it is not CEMS, since I do not recall any technical university in this region with the CEMS programme there). What is the agenda behind that?

You said that you were a member of a consulting club, so just go to guys from McK and ask, what they think about your profile, Id say they will be more than happy to give you some feedback.

Jun 17, 2015

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Nov 4, 2015

it really depends :)
In the US, many BT BAs dont have tech background..but i heard its a requirement in APAC or some other regions!

Nov 4, 2015

Interview process should be exactly the same as for a generalist BA. All BA selection processes are the same regardless of whether or not they are applying for a specific function.

Also important to note that BA specializations are "soft". If you are hired as a BTO BA only roughly 50% of your engagements will be BTO (can be more or less depending on your interests), and you will have access to generalist engagements as well.

Nov 4, 2015
Emous:

Interview process should be exactly the same as for a generalist BA. All BA selection processes are the same regardless of whether or not they are applying for a specific function.

Also important to note that BA specializations are "soft". If you are hired as a BTO BA only roughly 50% of your engagements will be BTO (can be more or less depending on your interests), and you will have access to generalist engagements as well.

Yep. Slightly different/nuanced perspective: probably closer to 75% BTO engagements and you will probably see 1-2 more BTO-focused cases in the interview process, especially in the final round.

Nov 4, 2015

Interview process was exactly the same as for generalists, not even one tech focused case and none of my interviewers were from the BTO practice. The process is just as competitive as for any other consulting role at McK.

BTO is going after some interesting problems on the executive agenda. If you have any inclination for tech, it seems like a lucrative position to grow in.

Nov 4, 2015

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Nov 4, 2015
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