Non-Target to MBB, from US to Latin America

coxinha's picture
Rank: Chimp | 13

Hi All,

Disclosure: this is my very first post so please bare with me, should I make any mistakes in not following any guidelines.

I am a US citizen interested in breaking into MBB in Brasil/ Latin America. I am speak little Portuguese and I will be in Brasil working on non-consulting related (engineering) work next year.

I was wondering what the process is like for breaking into MBB in Latin America and Brasil in particular? I know that most of the time these firms recruit out of regional university heavily (for entry level) -- is there a chance for someone like me (from US) working in MBB offices in Latin America, especially if I don't speak the local languages as fluently as other locals?

And are Latin American offices for MBB more selective than in US? would I be looked more favorably because I am a US citizen and speak english fluently?

Comments (11)

Dec 8, 2017

I don't know much about the recruiting process but I have had some experience working with people from LatAm offices.

Strong command of the local language is still quasi-required. Some offices in Brazil cover Spanish-speaking countries and hence favor knowledge of Spanish in addition to/ interchangeably with Portuguese. I would assume that working proficiency in English would be required to work for MBB there.

Based on this, you should try to increase your command of Portuguese (and/or Spanish). Regarding your chances, you will very probably have to network more than locals. What I would do is start with people in your area and get referrals to people working in LatAm. That tends to work better than going straight to them.

Dec 11, 2017

Thanks for the input! From your experience with working with people from LatAm, would you say that these offices have a large number of internationals (that are not locals)?

I am far from being fluent in Portuguese, but would say getting close to being able to work in Portuguese. I was wondering whether the interview process itself would be in Portuguese/Spanish in LatAM in general (because this would be much more difficult)

Dec 8, 2017

The majority comes from the area (broader LatAm if not from the country of the office). Most internationals are there for a case or a short-term (<1yr) transfer, according to my experience.

No idea about recruitment specifics, especially across firms. My recommendation would be to ask recruiting about it (maybe through a friend if you're worried they might put you in a bucket straight away).

Dec 26, 2017

There are numerous foreigners working at MBB in Brazil/Latin America; it's a very common destination for Portuguese/Spanish management consultants (Iberian Peninsula is a very limited market). In Brazil alone, all of MBB have at least 5 foreign partners (mostly from US, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain)

The most common path to Brazil/Latin America is through internal permanent transfers; you get a job at MBB in your country of origin, you're a top performer, and then requests like these are usually granted. You can also recruit during your MBA, being interviewed directly by the offices you want to work at.

However, you will surely need portuguese/spanish skills, as most clients either don't speak english or are not comfortable/effective using it; I don't believe you need to be a perfect 10 during the interview process, because people at MBB usually learn portuguese/spanish very quickly; if they like you and you're able to communicate reasonably well, language shouldn't be an issue.

    • 1
Dec 11, 2017

It seems that the bottom line is to hone down spanish/portuguese as much as I can.

To be completely honest I am confident that I can get the language down eventually, but just a matter of time.

Portuguese will be my third language, and although I am nowhere fluent, I can't imagine it being too difficult once I am physically located in Brazil or LAM in general.

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Dec 28, 2017

Hey man! I'm a Brazilian trying to crack into the MBB and I can tell you that their first demand is that you have fluent English and Portuguese or Spanish. That's the first filter. Without it I don't think you could go far.

Dec 11, 2017

Best of luck!
seems that we're in the same position.

you mentioned portuguese or spanish, does this mean in Brasil they will hire people that only speak Spanish, expecting that they will pick up Portuguese very fast? or vice versa?
(reasonably so, since they are very similar in my experience)

Dec 29, 2017

Hey bro,

I'm currently a 3rd year MBB in Brazil (leaving for MBA soon) and I can guarantee that you do not neet to be fluent right from the start. This year, a German joined my firm with decent knowledge (not fluent at all) and the company has been paying him Portuguese classes. Of course you need to be able to do a complete case in Portuguese but this is not a big of an issue. Focus on killing the case and the fit questions and you'll be in a good shape. As per the recruiting process, MBB in Brazil will usually host several events at major universities (you do not need to be a student in that university) where you can do the tests and, hopefully, be invited for the interview.

Wish you best of luck!

    • 1
Dec 11, 2017


Thanks for the reply!!

Wow that's great to hear -- so theoretically I can just physically enter a big university events (in SP or Rio; USP, etc) and just get connected to people from MBB?

It's great that they are paying for Portuguese lessons; did your company have a specific need for this guy (maybe he has Ph.D or some particular skill needed in your office) or just spoke enough portuguese to go through interview, then killed interviews?

Can PM you about details about recruiting?

Dec 29, 2017