MBB Office Preference

wanna b mbb's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 716

I will be applying for MBB from undergrad, and of the three, from my school, BB only recruit to their Dallas and Chicago offices. As things stand, I would prefer to end up in Chicago over Dallas, but I would be willing to put in 2yrs in Dallas before an MBA if that is what it took to land at Bain or BCG.

Questions are:

1) Is Chicago recruiting going to be more competitive? Any suggestions for listing my office preference in order to #1 maximize my chance of an offer, and #2, hopefully land in Chicago?

2) Would the lifestyle/work be significantly different in Dallas vs Chicago?

3) Am I totally wrong to want Chicago over Dallas? I have been to Chicago and love it, but never to Dallas. Also, I consider myself more suited to the midwest then texas, but who knows, I might be wrong.

Any thoughts welcome, thanks!

United States - South
United States - Midwest

Comments (11)

Jun 8, 2011

For BCG, Chicago is absolutely the lifestyle office in the firm (not just in the Americas, but worldwide). As it is a rapidly growing office (and has been for some time), it is far easier to get promoted. Additionally, the partnership has pretty consciously made work-life balance a focus.

From hearsay, Bain Chicago is less ideal and McK Chicago is very intense. (From my experience, the best consulting offices for each firm tend to be in different cities, as business can be a bit zero-sum and one of the big drivers of lifestyle is often office performance - growth translates to more room for promotions translates to less pressure).

I don't know a lot about Dallas specifically, but have heard that the Texas system (still for BCG) is pretty average in terms of working hours. It would be noticeably different from Chicago, but not unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

As for listing preferences, especially if you attend a school that is targeted by both Chicago and Dallas, it would not hurt you to pref Chicago above Dallas (as long as you list both). I would caution you to make sure you are willing to work in Dallas (maybe learn more about the city or the office) before taking an offer for the firm without regard to the city.

I am curious about which school you are attending, as I don't know of many shared core schools between Dallas and Chicago that don't give other options (either Minneapolis in the Midwest or Houston in Texas).

Jun 8, 2011

Each of the three allows you to make 3 office preferences when applying. It doesn't typically matter for first-round interviews, which are held on campus, but if you make it further in the process, they will take your selections into account when determining what office you interview with for final rounds. You have very little influence in that decision.

If you're applying for international locations alongside US ones, be aware of how each firm handles your selections. BCG puts you in the international pool first before considering you for the US. So you may run into a situation where the international location didn't like you enough to interview you, but since that decision was made after on campus slots for US offices were already determined, you will not be interviewing with BCG at all, even though you may have been a good candidate for the US. McK does it differently. You are evaluated based on if you fit what the firm's looking for in general, so your office preferences have no bearing on whether or not you get a first round interview. Not sure about Bain though.

Jun 8, 2011


Jun 8, 2011

I think it's a given to assume that getting hired into a NY office is tougher than, for instance, Charlotte or Indianapolis.

Jun 8, 2011


Jun 8, 2011

Thanks, computerblue.

johnnyhoward333, you make an excellent point. That's actually one of the reasons why I was asking this question. My top three office choices would be Boston, NYC, San Francisco. The fact of the matter is, if you know your stuff, it shouldn't matter what you pick. But, realistically, would it hurt my chances if I applied to those three offices?

Jun 8, 2011

johnnyhoward333, I think if you asked most firms they would say that they would like to increase their presence in Asia. They have very defined presences in Western Europe, meaning that Paris is just as difficult to get into as popular US locations, if not moreso.

bluedevil6, not really, but recognize that the competition is much tougher to get an offer, because almost everyone applies to at least one of the three you mention. My advice is to apply to places that you would actually like to live and work in.

Jun 8, 2011

With McKinsey there is global staffing and it is irrelevant what office you are staffed in.

If you are in, say, Milwaukee (hypothetical), you can still get staffed on the same projects with people in SF, NYC, Chicago, etc. though it makes travel much harder.

People on the East Coast travel to LA/SF all the time for studies, and vice versa, its not as if the deal flow at a certain office is better than another office.

I'm guessing Bain is a bit different and that different offices provide different opportunities (for example, most PE work is done in NYC office, whereas in McKinsey its more spread out and whoever wants it can have it) and so on.

Also, you make the same amount of money no matter where you are staffed, so if you are in NYC throwing down 1400/month in rent versus in some shitty town like Denver where rent is like 250 then you are making an extra 14G's a year.

BlueDevil, I'm assuming you go to Duke, reach out to current interns with Bain or McKinsey - I work at one of the above and know that Bain takes a bunch and McKinsey takes a few as well (search on facebook to find them or something, I'm sure they won't mind answering questions).

Also even though professional opportunities don't vary by city (at least at McK/BCG) I'm betting social life is important for a 23 year old - something else to consider in case you want to live in like Idaho or something.

Jun 8, 2011