I made it to the final rounds for BCG, Bain, and McKinsey but didn’t receive an offer. What should my next steps be?

This is a tough time. The sting of rejection is real. It is an accomplishment just to get to final rounds with McKinsey, Bain and BCG, but it is hard to feel proud of that accomplishment when there isn’t a final offer.

I don’t know your situation. I don’t know the specifics of what happened in your interviews. But I bet that where things went wrong was in the behavioral, or “fit”, part of the interviews, not the “case”.

Why do I make that bet?

Because I have seen, over and over again, candidates who have practiced their frameworks until they can recite them backwards and forwards, but haven’t put in the time to think clearly and compellingly about how their personal work history prepares them for a career in consulting.

They haven’t collected key examples from their past where they demonstrated the attributes consulting companies are looking for, like leadership, teamwork, and the ability to think strategically.

They haven’t honestly identified their strengths and weaknesses and found ways to share this information in a matter that is both forthright and helpful.

They haven’t demonstrated their familiarity not only with the firm, but with the office where they are interviewing, showing their knowledge of both the types of client work performed and also the culture of the firm.

In sum, they haven’t built a compelling case for their candidacy.

So, now what do you do?

The good news is that while this is a setback, it is not the end of the campaign. You need to step up your networking efforts, finding new contacts at firms and offices that are interesting to you. There are dozens of top-tier strategy firms. There are hundreds of specialty consulting companies covering every industry and business function. Start developing your new target list, as well as strengthen your connections to McKinsey, Bain or BCG to see if you can apply again next year.

Enlisting the services of experienced advisors from an organization such as the Consulting Career Academy at The MBA Exchange could help you gain the edge you need to win.

The Consulting Career Academy (CCA) of The MBA Exchange can help you reach your goals. Send your resume to info@mbaexchange.com, and ask for a free management consulting career evaluation. We would love to have a conversation with you to answer any questions and propose the best approach for your management consulting career plans.

By Stephanie Horn (Managing Consultant) and Matt Strickler (Senior Advisor), Consulting Career Academy at The MBA Exchange