No offer from 2 MBB internship interviews, how to recover?

Hey WSO,

I'm a rising senior at a non-target school majoring in Finance. I interviewed with Bain and BCG (Bain was 1 round and BCG was 2, didn't make it past the 1st for BCG) and wasn't extended an offer for their summer internship programs. Thankfully, I still have full-time recruitment coming up in 2-3 months and I'm pretty sure I can secure another interview with both firms since I interviewed with them for their internship programs. Besides practicing cases, what's the best way I can prepare myself for this upcoming recruitment season? I probably did about 50-60 practice cases prior to the internship recruitment session and felt confident going into and finishing each interview.

Any advice, tips, reality checks, etc are welcome.

Thanks

Comments (8)

Jul 10, 2013

Same thing happened to me. Made it to final rounds with a few of them (MBB + 2nd tier) and ended up with no offers. Then I landed it during full-time.

You can brush up the cases but otherwise:

1) Make sure you spend the summer doing an internship that'd position you well for consulting. I interned for a F500 for its rotational program, and I purposefully picked a project that would give me good talking points (team work, strategic thinking, analytics, owning workstreams, etc.) over another that sounded much cooler/interesting. Also during the summer, think about how you can spin your experience to why you would rather do consulting for full time than continue on with the company you worked for over the summer. (For example, mine was about the learning / personal development in corporate vs. professional services environment.)

2) Keep in touch with the firms. It's true that you probably will get an interview with them again, but I've also had friends who weren't invited back for FT first-round interviews even after reaching a final round internship interview. So network with your alumni and make sure you're on their radar. If you have gotten close to any of them through internship recruiting, you can also ask them what you can do better next time. Often times, they can give you really good advice.

Jul 10, 2013

If it makes you feel any better, I interviewed with 2 MBBs as a junior for their summer internship and got rejected at both. Got offers from all 3 MBB and every other firm I applied to for full-time.

The key is to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE at whichever firm you do go to (trust me, a consulting internship at a decent tier 2 firm definitely helps with cases). Other than that - ask for feedback. This was key. I worked on the areas they told me to work on, practiced cases and kept in touch (asked about networking events, met with people I met during the interviews for coffee etc.). So yeah, if you got interviews with 2/3 MBBs, it means something. Now go practice cases! :)

Jul 10, 2013

Hey OP,

Sorry to hear, we've all been there and it definitely sucks. But you clearly have a strong enough profile for the MBB to be interested and with some tinkering you can definitely get there.

What was your feedback from your interviews? If you practised 50-60 cases and felt good afterwards, I think you definitely need to diagnosis what went wrong.

First round cuts are usually because of

- Personality fit

How are you coming across in the behavioural section? Have you paid enough attention to practising these?

e.g.
Are your answers crisp, logical and casual sounding? Or are you rambling, or too over-rehearsed?
Are you coming across authentically? Some people don't realise they are coming across too nervous/arrogant/abrasive/bored...

Maybe get your friends (particularly ones who are already working) to mock interview you. Cannot emphasise how important this is, if the mid-level consultants who are interviewing you in the early rounds wouldn't want to be in a team with you - that's the end of the road.

- Case approach

Sounds like you're very familiar with case interviews and feel comfortable about them. Any chance you were too formulaic in your approach? Interviewers hate to see applicants immediately jump to the 'cost vs revenue' tree or matrix this and that. Probably telling you what you already know, but the next level of case interviewing is when you're so familiar with them that you begin to be as flexible and creative as possible (within a logical framework). Are you there yet?

Other than that - yeah sure the F500 experience should be great. But it won't change fundamentally whether you get an offer from the grad interviews. You need to work out why these interviewers didn't choose you, and an extra anecdote or two about analytics at your prior internship won't make a huge difference.

Jul 11, 2013
Darkshore:

Other than that - yeah sure the F500 experience should be great. But it won't change fundamentally whether you get an offer from the grad interviews. You need to work out why these interviewers didn't choose you, and an extra anecdote or two about analytics at your prior internship won't make a huge difference.

To comment a little further on this. I do think the brand of your 3rd year internship matters very much because you're competing with other kids who did finance and strategy internships. (Few rising juniors, on the other hand, have these credentials.) You still have to pass the screening, and the few friends who didn't get invited to FT interviews after going through internship interviews didn't have that "brand" on their resume.

But no, the internship in itself won't make a huge difference--but it can make your behaviorals much stronger. I had a lot of trouble with behavioral when going through the internship recruiting. And I think having worked on strategy-related projects on a small team at F500 gave me very convincing data points as to:

1) why consulting (vs. any other strategy-related career)
2) teamwork questions
3) analytics questions

Especially with a return offer in hand, it was a much stronger argument on my work ability as well as my commitment to consulting. Just my 2 cents.

Jul 11, 2013

Yeah you're right - brand definitely matters, and it would be helpful material in an interview. OP, just make sure you get the core mechanics of your interviews right too

Jul 12, 2013

Thanks guys for quick replies and great advice! I really appreciate it. Fortunately, I was able to get feedback from one of my MBB interviews. My comments from my interviewer were that behaviorally, I did very well and I did a good job opening the case but I struggled pushing the case forward and asking the right questions (this was the Ops case. It really wasn't a hard case looking back at it, I guess it just caught be off guard since I was preparing for a profitability or market entry). Also, I think I may have come off a bit too formulaic through the middle. My biggest challenge with case work is really just the middle, opening and closing are fine for me.

As for the other interview, which was second, I was definitely not as relaxed. I guess I was still in shock that I didn't make it past the first round of the other interview because I felt so good leaving it (minus that ops case of course) and so I definitely felt like I rushed some of my answers. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get feedback from that interview but I think with that one it was more of nerves knowing that it was my last chance to land an MBB internship.

As for this summer, I am interning for a large, international financial data firm (think thomson reuters, bloomberg, etc.) which is completely unrelated to management consulting. The reason why I took this was because it was late in the game, didn't know what was coming afterwards, I put all my eggs in one basket thinking I would land one of the MBB internships (which was unfortunate, because I got an offer from a hedge fund 3 weeks after I accepted here) and none of the tier 2s or boutiques recruited interns at my school. However, I do have extensive internship experience, one being with a F500 and one being PWM, so I don't think this summer will hurt me too much. Also, one of my contacts at one of the MBBs told me that it didn't really matter what I did this summer when I asked him. He just said do whatever you want and keep your grades up.

Sorry I'm rambling, but again, thanks for your guys' support.

Pnb and consultingboi: as two individuals that were in my position before, how'd you address rejection from the internship and what did you focus on when preparing for the full-time recruitment season? Did you change anything up? Could you guys expand a little more on your previous posts?

Jul 22, 2013
mtr2014:

Pnb and consultingboi: as two individuals that were in my position before, how'd you address rejection from the internship and what did you focus on when preparing for the full-time recruitment season? Did you change anything up? Could you guys expand a little more on your previous posts?

I don't know if you're going to read this since it's been a while, but I can address this.

It definitely hurt since I made it to the final rounds with most firms and ended up with no internship offer (in consulting). I was even on a waiting list for a couple of them. So I know how disappointing the rejection can be.

BUT I had told myself going into internship recruiting that this is more to get my name out there to the firms in preparation for FT recruiting than to get an internship. And I think that's the attitude anyone recruiting for consulting internships should have. Doing well in the SA round helped me tremendously--through networking / interviews, I had gained what's called 'internal champions' who vouched for me and helped me throughout FT recruiting. Some of the partners remembered interviewing me, which also helped. Finally, I was lucky enough to land a good, brand-name F50 internship with amazing hours and great pay (slightly lower than MBB for 35 hours / week). I consciously chose a project that would look good for FT recruiting, and I felt fine once the summer really started.

Near the end of the summer, I got back into recruiting mode. In terms of cases, I knew that I was in a pretty good place. Even though I had had a couple of bad ones, I think that's understandable given how many real interviews you have to do during the recruiting season. So, confident that I had gotten the basic mechanics of the cases down, I focused on customizing my approach to each firm's style. You have probably noticed that each firm does have a slightly different style, so it's very possible to develop an approach for each style.

The bigger problem for me was the behavioral portion. My sense is that I had come off as very formulaic/mechanical/robotic during the behaviorals, so I worked on being more lively / personable. I also think I had just given very typical answers to some of the questions, so I took some time to reflect on my experience up to that point and develop genuine answers. For me, doing some soul-searching and thinking about why I really wanted to do this job and why I am a good fit really helped me.

For both the cases and behaviorals, I practiced with friends as well as alumni I had met during SA recruiting. This is where the internal champions helped a lot--they really wanted me to join their firms, so they got on the phone / met up with me to help me prepare.

This got really long (perhaps unnecessarily--too lazy to edit), but I think the most important things for you are:

1) Improve your cases based on the feedback
2) Maintain the relationships with consultants you had met.

Hope this helps. Feel free to PM.

Jul 23, 2013
Comment