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6 Secret rules of getting in BCG, Mckinsey, Bain.

As someone who has worked in BCG, I understand that a career with MBB can be an aspiration of many because of the-

1. higher pay & flamboyant lifestyle,

2. steep learning curve (problem-solving, communication)

3. great exits (PE/VC)

But before I reveal the secrets, please also note that a typical downside of consulting career is relatively longer working hours than most industries!

Now, the secrets-

1. Secret I- Resume

So many professionals don't get this right. They obsess over cases, without building a robust resume. The thing is consulting CVs are very different from a conventional CV (eg- CV needs to be structured, you ensure you need to have a spike in at least one area etc.). When I had applied for Boston Consulting Group (BCG), McKinsey & Company- my CV's spike was in my "professional experience" area.

Unfortunately, very less people spend time over this, even though this is the most important gatekeeping stage that decides whether you get an interview invite or not !

2. Secret II- Referrals

Referrals do work in management consulting- especially that of a partner is way valuable for you to get an interview invite.

And that's why getting in BCG, Mckinsey, Bain is hard because no one within mid-management interviews you. You will be interviewed by a partner starting round 1. Once again, don't devalue the stage of getting a shortlist because it is your biggest bottleneck!

3. Secret III- Case Interviews

What I have discovered through my interview prep in 2018 was that you don't need to be 5/5 on a case interview. You can be a 4/5 (able to build structures for problems, communicate well) and you have a high chance of getting in!

Think of this lever like GMAT, you don't need to have an 800 to be inside Harvard Business School. A 730+ score will suffice!

4. Secret IV- Personal Interview

This is the most under-rated lever where you get to actually sell your story to the partner on why BCG/Mckinsey/Bain.

Most of the MBB consultants I know had really wonderful personal answers to this question rather than a google copy-pastable answer.

5. Secret V- Communication

People who get in MBB are good communicators - they have patience, calm, and structure to their answers.

Just imagine the strength of your candidature when you are already communicating in 3 points with a partner during the interview!

6. Secret VI- Listen very carefully

Trust me when I say this, that the partner across the table is looking for data points to hire you!

He/She will give you hints when you'd go wrong during the case. Don't screw up your chances by being a poor listener!


Lastly, please know that a career in MBB is definitely not the end of the world.

I can understand that it's a prestigious career but I personally know of innumerable beautiful, kind, and successful people- who aren't from BCG, Mckinsey!

If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.


Author- Shatakshi Sharma, Cofounder Global Governance Initiative, Ex- BCG, Advisor, Tony Blair Institute

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