With a success rate of just 1%, getting hired at the big three consulting firms isn't easy. First, you must have an excellent academic record, excellent communication skills, and be exposed to a wide range of academic and extracurricular activities. McKinsey reportedly receives more than a million applications a year and hires less than 1% of them. The top 3 consulting firms are among the ten most selective employers in the world and it's notoriously difficult to receive a job offer.
I was also an experienced employee, so I definitely identify. The hardest thing for you is probably getting an interview. McK is probably the most open, assuming you have the specific knowledge set they need; BCG also hires some experienced employees, but that's rare; as for Bain. As far as I know, they practically don't take anyone out of school.
I ended up at BCG because I had worked with them for 4 months on a project at my company, and the director felt comfortable recommending me for an interview. However, McK and Bain's contacts were unable to get me an interview, even after BCG had already made a verbal offer. I know of 2 or 3 people who received an offer from BCG as experienced employees without having worked with anyone there, but they were definitely exceptions. Now, once you have an interview.
Expectations will be pretty much the same. Yes, you should probably have a slightly better business sense than average because of a longer work experience, and yes, you may feel more comfortable talking to senior executives, but that won't make a noticeable difference in how they'll judge you. At least, these 2 or 3 people I mentioned earlier and I didn't feel like they treated us differently from the rest. Does that help? Knowing that you have 4 years of experience is not enough to determine if you are going to be a reasonable candidate; however, I can answer your specific question about the selection process.
I can't talk to other firms, but what I wrote above is going to be accurate for 99% of all experienced candidates applying to most offices in the world. McKinsey is a company where it's easy to get offers, but you need to know how to make it happen. Don't hesitate to book a session with me if you want to know more. The differences may depend on where the application is submitted, for example,.
Some Bain offices in Europe tend to prefer experienced employees rather than graduates. But above all, your behavior during the interview, as well as the handling of the cases, determine your success. You must be prepared for the case interview, and it's also essential that your resume is polished. Do you need help with that? No, neither more nor less than newcomers from the University of the Master.
The bars you should know are simply different, depending on the expected experience. I hired experienced employees for BCG. I would say it's just as difficult as applying when you're a student. You must go through the same interview process.
In the first round, you'll likely be interviewed by higher-level consultants; McKinsey usually doesn't send junior EMs or senior associates to interview an experienced executive. Expect partners and access points right from the start. The implication is that you must focus more on showing your business sense, communication and trust at the executive level and your ability to generate an immediate relationship with the interviewer. With 4 years of experience, I would say that you are perfectly positioned to venture into consulting, either as an associate or as a consultant (if you do the MBA route).
Consulting firms often expect some experience so you can start delivering value right from the start. It's not difficult at all, it's the short answer. Admittedly, you wouldn't have “traditional” access to campus events, although being an experienced employee can give you an advantage anyway. Each of the firms has an experienced and specific hiring program.
Don't think that the expectation is greater, as long as your “story” of applying and transitioning to consulting makes sense. Happy to chat more if you want. Good luck with the process. I know several experienced employees who joined McKinsey.
One went from being the director of a pharmaceutical company (about 7 years after finishing college) to an associate at McKinsey in his business technology practice and eventually became a partner there. I know another person who was directly hired at the associate director level after about 12 years out of college and after holding a position of responsibility in government. As for BCG and Bain, they aren't very familiar with their policies on experienced hiring, but they definitely interview people with experience as well. Learn about the BCG online case and learn how to tackle this specific Boston Consulting Group test when you want to start your consulting career.
Find out what the McKinsey Imbellus game consists of. Get specific information on how to succeed in your McKinsey case interview. The Bain Sova test is an aptitude test for Bain %26 Company candidates. The test consists of 4 areas and is used at Bain for consulting job interviews.
McKinsey hires staff from some of the best business schools in the world and there is a wide range of MBA jobs at McKinsey for students seeking a career in consulting. Today, being a BCG consultant means working in diverse teams that span diverse disciplines and functions, and recent business school graduates need that experience if they want to land one of the many BCG consulting jobs on offer. .