How necessary is networking to MBB for target school candidates?

Hey, I'm a junior at University of Pennsylvania with ~3.7 GPA. I've heard that education matters for consulting even more so than IB. I'm wondering how likely it is to secure an interview at MBB without a lot of networking from a target school.

I also have a second question. For networking to matter, do I need to directly ask for a resume referral, or is having coffee chats with a few associates in the offices enough to work in my favor?

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Comments (7)

Jun 30, 2020 - 5:15pm

Networking and the strength of your resume trade off. I went to HYPSM and not all people with a 3.7+ who wanted a round 1 interview got one (I was very surprised by this at the time tbh). If the rest of your resume (ECs, experiences) are also very good compared to others at your school with a high GPA, then no need to network. If not, I'd work on securing a referral.

I'd try to start with anyone you know whether it's a friend or a friend of a friend that can give you a good connection -- sit down, have a nice convo with them, ask them intelligent questions, and then say you're applying and ask if they have any advice. At this point, if they're willing to refer you (i.e. think you're smart enough that the chances of them getting that referral bonus.> the chances you'll embarrass them) they'll offer it.

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Jun 30, 2020 - 8:52pm

Thank you, this was very helpful!

Quick followup -
I've had coffee chats (virtual) with a few consultants at MBB and asked two of them to review my resume, to which they did and gave me good feedback. Do they know I'm basically asking for a referral, or do I literally have to ask: "Hey would you feel comfortable referring this resume?"

Jul 1, 2020 - 2:22am

The first thing is that McKinsey doesn't do referrals for target schools. For the others, you shouldn't straight up ask bc it's weird, especially if they don't know you and it can get awkward if they want to say no. Just make it clear you're applying and say you'd love any advice they have for you + ask if they could potentially introduce you to someone in [x practice] or [y location]. They get that you'd like a referral ideally but it's not necessarily super common to give one to someone you don't actually know. Someone may offer and that's good. Otherwise, lots of times the consultants at the glitzy recruiting events are the same ones resume screening so being nice there helps.

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Jun 30, 2020 - 9:00pm

My brother went there and all he did was one of the on campus coffee chats for mbb last fall and got an interview/offer. They interview hella people, but make a lot of cuts after each round

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