I got rejected after the first round of McKinsey interview. My only career plan was to work at McKinsey. What can I do?

Working at McKinsey was my only career plan since my early years of undergraduate studies. I studied a lot, practised a lot. However, I couldn't succeed, Things went wrong and I got nervous during the interview. I couldn't show my ability to crack the cases. I was devastated at the end of the interview.

I will never apply other consulting firms, including BCG and Bain. It is obvious that both firms lack the prestige that McKinsey have, and both of them seem somewhat inferior compared to McKinsey. I ignore Big 4 or other consulting firms, since I don't consider them as a "consulting firm". And I don't even consider other jobs except consulting as a "job". For me, non-consulting jobs are too simple in terms of the work done, and way too easy to get a job offer even for an average person. So, finding a job outside consulting is not a success for me.

In McKinsey, there are at least 2 years ban for rejected candidates. I will be eligible to apply only at the end of 2020. Even if I get a job offer 2 years later, I will never be a person who has never been rejected. I wanted to be a perfect McKinsey consultant. Getting rejected in the past will prevent me from being perfect. Being perfect implies being perfect at all times. Starting my career at McKinsey would be more superior than switching to McKinsey after starting at anywhere else.

I feel like that's the end of my life. Are there anything that I can do? Do you have any advices?

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Comments (30)

Dec 1, 2018 - 11:07am

Either you're trolling hard, or you're severely, severely misunderstanding McKinsey and consulting as a whole.

Less than 1% of people who apply get offers at McKinsey, so from that standpoint alone you shouldn't bank on "preparation" to get the offer. Secondly, BCG and Bain are nearly on equal footing prestigewise if you care so much. Firms like S& and S&O have excellent placement, and my friends in both firms are extremely capable people, some of whom I'd argue are clearly MORE capable than my colleagues at MBB.

Management Consulting by its very nature is to provide sound business strategy in an advisory capacity; the name behind the adviser does not magically grant him or her sparkles visibly zooming out after each word they utter.

I can sympathize with your sense of failure - we've all been there. But if you think McKinsey is the only thing in life that you needed straight out of undergrad, you'll always be unhappy.

Lastly, about 50% of analysts leave McKinsey within 2 years. If everyone who enters is so "perfect" then why are almost all the partners at the firm members who started at the associate level? Life is not a set path, and there are wonderful opportunities everywhere.

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Dec 1, 2018 - 1:20pm

From MBB here...If you re-read what you're writing, and no alarm bells sound off at how incredulous it sounds - you should do some soul searching. That's what you should do. You're chasing a perfectionist illusion with a mind full of contempt for others.

One by one:

Muscleman:
I will never apply other consulting firms, including BCG and Bain. It is obvious that both firms lack the prestige that McKinsey have, and both of them are inferior compared to McKinsey. I ignore Big 4 or other consulting firms, since I don't consider them as a "consulting firm".

Why the **** do you care so much about prestige? And in what world do you think other firms are so inferior that they are beneath you and not worth consideration? As of now, you are just someone without a job.

Nevermind that BCG and Bain are lumped into "MBB" for a reason.

Muscleman:
And I don't even consider other jobs except consulting as a "job". For me, non-consulting jobs are too simple in terms of the work done, and way too easy to get a job offer even for an average person. So, finding a job outside consulting is not a success for me.

You do realize that the work we do is for non-consultants... right? And that people WANT to exit MBB for certain companies...right? Get your head straight here. There are other jobs out there, and other jobs that are more challenging or interesting than the work done at MBB.

Muscleman:
Even if I get a job offer 2 years later, I will never be a person who has never been rejected. I wanted to be a perfect McKinsey consultant. Getting rejected in the past will prevent me from being perfect. Being perfect implies being perfect at all times.

You have a perfectionism and need for validation through prestige that will end up destroying you. I hope you understand this.

Muscleman:
"I feel like that's the end of my life. Are there anything that I can do? Do you have any advices?"

Pull yourself up by the bootstraps because this is nowhere near life ending, realize that what you're chasing is an illusion, and find another job. If you want to go to MBB later, go get an MBA afterward and transfer.

Dec 1, 2018 - 3:17pm

If it makes you feel any better most of the partners I met at McKinsey didn't start out of undergrad. Like other people have said, you probably reeked of desperation. If you don't change your perspective and continue to put McKinsey on a pedestal, you're likely going to be too nervous again if you get a second chance. Most people who get McKinsey would've been just as happy or maybe even happier to work for Bain or BCG.

Dec 1, 2018 - 7:59pm

Getting started at McKinsey is far more prestigious and hard to achieve than getting into McKinsey after getting started at anywhere. Joining McKinsey a few years later is not a success. Even many people who are not qualified to get an offer from McKinsey out of undergrad can do it. I define successful person as "a person who gets extraordinary achievements with no or very little effort and on the first trial, and never fails throughout his/her life". A partner who got into McKinsey after some time spent at a non-consulting firm or an inferior consulting firm is not successful, not extraordinary, and not superior, according to my definition.

Dec 1, 2018 - 8:42pm

Look on the bright side - at least you didn't major in Accounting or Art like the theaccountingmajor and I.

RIP theaccountingmajor
  • 2
Dec 2, 2018 - 10:23am

I was not 3, I was 10. I graduated from a top college with top grades. I studied a lot to achieve that. I was deserving the best job ever in the world more than anyone else. I lost the chance of getting the best job. That's God's fault. He didn't help me for the interview. Then I ****ed up.

Funniest
Dec 2, 2018 - 4:31pm

You were not a 10. A 10 is perfect. A 10 would not fail. You failed. A 10 does not spontaneously become a 9 (perhaps this was the math mistake that resulted in your rejection). You are getting a lot of nice comments here, but that is the nature of the internet, to help support people who are failures in real life by bolstering their self esteem via the internet.

As you said yourself, you have failed, and will never be what you could have been if you were not a failure. It's a stain that will not wash off. You have literally one real choice left, and that is ensure that your children learn from your weakness and become more perfect. It's not unheard of, many great people were born from failures. You will just need to ensure that every step of the way in their life they are preparing for their own McKinsey interview. Play Victor Cheng's LOMS while they are in utero. Teach them to read using the Wall Street Journal. Case practices throughout elementary school. Obviously, enroll them in the schools and extracurricular activities chosen by McKinsey alumni to get a head start on networking. High school is a time for building their own brand and businesses, invest as much time, money, and marketing in their high school businesses as possible. Exceptional people start early, and getting some articles by the WSJ written about just a few of the businesses you/they started in high school will help your children get a leg up and escape the stigma of being your offspring. During college (in the real Ivy League, not one of the pretenders like Brown or UPenn) they have the chance to take their brand and explore global opportunities. It is best if during this time they marry someone rich and politically connected or just super-rich. Ideally you will have several children, to minimize the catastrophe if any one child does not meet their milestones.

You are a failure but there is still the opportunity to be remembered as something else, at least by your children.

Dec 3, 2018 - 2:10pm

So if in the PEI interview they asked you "tell me about a time you failed", you were going to respond, "I have never failed!"?

Even if you had performed absolutely perfectly on your cases, with your attitude, I am fairly certain you never would have received an offer.

Try reading some books or articles about highly successful people, or listen to the podcast "How I built this" and you will realize that in order to succeed, one must fail. A person is not defined by his failures, he is defined by how much he learns from them.

Hopefully you learn from this experience that you need an extreme attitude and mindset adjustment. Otherwise, you will never be successful in anything (beyond academics), let alone in consulting.

Dec 3, 2018 - 2:28pm

Pathetic. Get a goddamn job, Al! You've got a negative attitude!

Levered Lloyd

Dec 4, 2018 - 5:04am

Yeah and I just quoted a line from American Psycho.

Levered Lloyd

Dec 4, 2018 - 1:22am

That's the end of everything. Nobody understands my pain. I have failed to achieve my lifetime goal. Life is unfair. There is nothing worth living. It's time to say goodbye to my life. Goodbye guys.

Dec 4, 2018 - 5:02am

Don't forget to turn off the lights.

Levered Lloyd

  • 1
Dec 10, 2018 - 1:07pm
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