Business Consultant UK: Who Makes It Into McKinsey, Bain, & BCG?

Business consulting is a lucrative career that attracts ambitious professionals from a variety of backgrounds. McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are the most coveted consulting firms in the UK to work at. Yet, what type of candidate might be able to break into these top tier firms? This article will delve into the type of candidates that get hired to these firms, the most popular undergraduate schools, how international students can break into consulting, if an MBA helps you land a role, and whether it’s possible to switch from another industry.

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What kind of candidates are McKinsey, BCG, or Bain looking for in the UK?

McKinsey, Bain, and BCG typically hire candidates who have impressive academic credentials, strong analytical skills, and excellent communication abilities. They tend to prefer candidates who have demonstrated leadership potential, whether it’s through extracurricular activities, work experience, or volunteerism. In addition, they look for candidates who have a genuine interest in consulting, who are passionate about problem-solving, and have an aptitude for business.

Is it possible to transfer from another industry into McKinsey, BCG, or Bain?

It is possible to switch to McKinsey, BCG, or Bain from another industry, but it may require additional effort. Candidates from other industries will need to demonstrate their transferable skills and show how they can apply them to consulting. It’s important to research the firm and the specific role to understand the skills and experience required and tailor your application accordingly.

Which schools feed the most candidates into McKinsey, BCG, or Bain in the UK?

While these firms do not have a set list of preferred universities, they tend to target candidates from top-tier institutions. According to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the most popular universities that feed candidates into these consulting firms include the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics, and the University of Warwick. However, it’s worth noting that candidates from other universities can also be successful in securing a role at these firms. It’s worthwhile to note that the most popular fields of study for candidates are business, economics, engineering, and mathematics.

Can international students land a role with McKinsey, BCG, or Bain in the UK?

International students can break into consulting in the UK by following the same steps as UK students. They should focus on building a strong academic record, gaining relevant work experience, and demonstrating their leadership potential. However, international students may face additional challenges, such as securing a work visa. It’s important for international students to research the visa requirements and ensure they have the necessary documentation before applying for a role.

If you’re interested, you can also check out our article on how to Land A US Offer As An International.

Does an MBA give you an advantage to break into an MBB firm in the UK?

An MBA can be a great route to consulting in the UK, as it provides candidates with the opportunity to gain relevant business knowledge and skills. However, an MBA is not a prerequisite for securing a role at McKinsey, BCG, or Bain. These firms value candidates who have demonstrated leadership potential and problem-solving skills, regardless of their academic background.

How do I prepare for a consulting role with an MBB firm in the UK?

Preparing for a consulting role with an MBB (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) firm in the UK requires a combination of research, skill-building, and networking. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a consulting role with an MBB firm in the UK:

  1. Research the industry and the firm: It’s essential to understand the consulting industry and the specific firm you’re interested in. You can start by reading up on the latest news and trends in the industry, and researching the firm’s history, culture, and values. This will help you understand what the firm is looking for in candidates and how you can demonstrate your fit.
  2. Build your analytical and problem-solving skills: MBB firms are known for their rigorous analytical and problem-solving approaches. To prepare for a consulting role, you should focus on building your analytical skills, such as data analysis and modeling, and problem-solving skills, such as structured thinking and hypothesis testing. You can do this through coursework, case competitions, and independent projects, and of course the Management Consulted resources.
  3. Develop your communication and leadership skills: Consulting is a client-facing role that requires strong communication and leadership skills. You should focus on developing your presentation and communication skills, such as storytelling and visual design, as well as your leadership skills, such as teamwork and project management. You can do this through extracurricular activities, leadership positions, and volunteer work.
  4. Network with consultants: Networking is crucial in the consulting industry. You should attend recruiting events, information sessions, and alumni events to meet and learn from consultants. You can also connect with consultants on LinkedIn and reach out for informational interviews. This will help you gain insights into the industry and the firm, and potentially lead to job opportunities.
  5. Practice case interviews: Case interviews are a critical part of the consulting recruitment process. You should practice case interviews with peers, mentors, or through online resources to build your problem-solving and communication skills. You should also review case studies and consulting frameworks to understand the approach used by consulting firms.

Consider an MBA or advanced degree: While an MBA is not necessary for consulting roles at MBB firms, it can provide valuable business knowledge and skills. It also gives incentive for the firm to hire you to leverage the alumni and relationships you built during your studies, for future work. If you’re considering an MBA, research the best programs for consulting and the recruitment opportunities available.


In conclusion, securing a role at McKinsey, BCG, or Bain in the UK requires a combination of strong academic credentials, analytical skills, leadership potential, and a genuine interest in consulting. While candidates from top-tier universities tend to be successful in securing roles, candidates from other universities can also be successful with the right skill set and experience. It’s also important to network to increase your chances of landing a role. International students and those from other industries may face additional challenges, but with determination and especially with expert coaching, it is possible to land a role with a top UK consulting firm.


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Filed Under: Bain Case Interview, BCG, Consulting Firms, McKinsey Consulting