When / how to apply to entry level roles at MBB as a lateral hire?

Started recently at a T2 firm, considering reapplying to MBB for entry level generalist roles. From what I understand, if I did this with a year of experience or less, I would have to 'reset' at an MBB firm and would start as an equivalent to a fresh undergraduate hire.

a) How common is this? From what I've read, it's not common but not unheard of either. I imagine that it depends on which MBB you are applying to and what region you are in. Evidently, there has been an uptick in lateral hiring across the consulting industry lately to meet project demand. Is this something that has increased demand for lateral generalist consulting hires as well?

b) How much experience should I have before attempting to do this? Is there a minimum amount of experience I should have first (i.e. 6 months, 1 year) or should I look to apply as soon as possible because I would be starting over? Alternatively, is it better to get more experience (say, 2 years) and attempt to come in above the entry level (but still as a generalist)? 

c) What time of year should I attempt to do this? Should I be applying at the same time that campus recruiting is going on? Or does it not really matter? 

Any other insight into the lateral process at MBB firms would be greatly appreciated!

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Comments (8)

Apr 24, 2021 - 5:54pm

I'm interviewing as a lateral now with about 9 months of experience. MBB have all been hiring aggressively recently. Not sure how much longer this will last but I'd recommend networking now and applying with referrals. Also, unless youre coming in from another MBB, you will not get any tenure credit with less than 3 YOE. From 3-5 YOE, you'd come in with 1 year of tenure credit, I think. After 5 YOE, you'd come in as a post-MBA. 

a. Not common until now. M and BCG tend to be more open to it in normal times, but Bain has also been recruiting. Most of the experienced hiring is for generalists.

b. Unsure about this, but I would take advantage of the situation and apply anyway. Who knows what the world will be like in a year from now. Usually, I think they only take experienced hires with more than 1 YOE.

c. Better to apply during the late spring (ie now) when there is no on campus recruiting. That's because during recruiting season, all fo their resources will be focused on recruiting students. 

Good luck!

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Apr 24, 2021 - 6:28pm

Do laterals get accelerated promotion timelines or is it the same as coming out of undergrad?

Apr 24, 2021 - 7:32pm

I know BCG brings in experienced hires with 3-5 YOE as senior associates, which is only for laterals. Senior associates can get the post-MBA promotion in 1-1.5 years as opposed to 2.

I don't think Mck or Bain hire into the Senior AC or Senior BA role since those are strictly tenure based, but I think you do get 1 year of tenure credit, meaning you'd make SAC or SBA in 1 year instead of 2. Again, this is for people with 3-5 YOE. 

Otherwise, if you're applying with <3 YOE, you'd likely come in with zero tenure credit, so that means you'd be on the same timeline as all of the other fresh undergrads.

Apr 25, 2021 - 9:08pm

Do you know if the hiring spree applies for undergrads? I am a rising senior and I intend to recruit for MBB for full-time roles in the fall, but given how hot the market is right now, I wasn't sure if I should be trying right now or wait until fall...

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Apr 25, 2021 - 9:36pm

So does that mean all hiring right now is limited to experienced hires? Given how hot the market seems right now, I just wasn't sure if I should be trying to get in on the action now or just wait it out until fall.

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