MBB Europe English-only landscape
Will be somewhat lengthy post but as the title suggests the topic is about English speaking offices throughout Europe. and I just want to emphasize... this is not a rant :)
I've done a lot of reading here and over the internet and I am yet to have a clear picture of how things really work for particular offices. Just to be clear we are talking about pre-MBA positions (as of course the higher you go, the less of a problem the language barrier becomes).
I am trying to establish what is the true English only office (apart from London) and how much are you actually disadvantaged (let's say percentage wise after the screening stage) when you don't know the local language. I see people say that Nordics are English only and while I can't dispute that, I can certainly dispute the fact about Amsterdam being English only.
But let's start first with Nordics - Ok, so they are English only - does that really make a difference for anyone outside of that region? I feel like target schools in European countries are more or less region based and they lose their relevance as you cross borders (I am not talking about MBAs now) - which would mean that non target schools have absolutely zero relevance and I don't see how someone who is say studying in Germany can successfully apply to Nordics if he only knows English and actually get the offer.
On the other hand, a lot of people said Amsterdam is English friendly however I have collected evidence to the contrary. McK for instance has every single networking event advertised with "Dutch fluency required" so you cannot even communicate with them, and when I went further and actually sent an email to requirement to inquire about English speaking events and their recruitment policy I was literally told they expect C2 fluency!!! I mean C2? seriously? so basically they only recruit native speakers then. By the way, don't get me wrong, I get the local language thing, but C1 should have been more than enough, this was just so typically arrogant and pompous real McK way yet they proclaim "diversity" everywhere you go.
Next, BCG has similar situation (if we are talking about Amsterdam) - where virtually 90% of the networking events are in Dutch so you cannot network and upon my inquiry to the recruitment I got a far nicer response than McK, but got told straight up that they favor Dutch speaking candidates and that they might consider non Dutch if the candidate has the right set of skills..... I have my own way of thinking why all of this is bullshit but I'll save it for conclusion.
Bain apparently accepts English only, but since there aren't enough networking events (compared to other MBB) and I haven't been in touch with them yet, I cannot make any conclusions.
Regardless, taking all of this into account, what I did, I used LinkedIn to search for all entry level position profiles in all 3 firms in NL. Not a single non Dutch person. Now I might have made some errors or "overlooked" something, but I just don't see enough evidence to support that they are English friendly.
Now you might think omgoat start learning Dutch(I can't bring it to fluent in <1 years time especially not to C2!!!)... well see that's the thing, what I am actually doing is learning German, as I already have previous knowledge so my chances are much higher to be fluent in time for the interview, even though I would face the same problem with my schools not being known enough but the real problem I see is I don't actually feel like working in the DACH region (please correct me if I am wrong, would be appreciated haha) as from what I could read, hours are much tougher and the culture is much less informal than West/North... the last point really bothers me, but I've heard that Zurich is probably the best in DACH from that standpoint + the tax situation is more favorable too!
So guys and girls, what do you think is the true situation here? this isn't meant to be a rant (if I have offended anyone, I apologize in advance :) ) but just a brainstorm topic to figure out the likely course of action. I would really like to get on board in NL, but the only likely candidate is Bain here, and I am pretty confident that my language decision is the correct one as it opens doors in far more countries for a lot more opportunities, but also in consulting in general whilst thinking on an international level. I'm not about to spend my free hours learning a language to a sub par level so I could get told to fuck off by some douche bags who expect C2 but are not man enough to admit that they take only native speakers.
Sorry for the last "ranting" point, but I've had to fight prejudice all my life for every single thing I had to do.... I never wanted this, all I ever wanted was a nice place under the sun so to speak (decent job, decent whatever blabla), but soon I figured out that things don't work that way and that you have to be aggressive to take what you want and that 'decent' just isn't enough, and well yea then by applying myself I soon realize that I can perform better than others and now I just want to keep going. which is why its so incredibly frustrating to not be even able to network due to language requirements in a place for which "allegedly" English is sufficient!!!