This is what worked for me. Hope these materials help you pass screening to McKinsey, Bain, BCG and other consulting companies.
For some reason people don’t like to share their motivational letters and resume. I guess they’re afraid of competition, or don’t want to show off, which is an indispensable part of personal PR. Some think they’re writing is too personal and no one should, apart from recruiters. Their right.
I have a different approach. I believe information is a great thing. It can often make another person richer without taking anything away from the other. Materials of this article have been of great service to me, getting me in to an amazing job and boosting my career. Now they lay untouched on my computer and are of no use to me. There are, however, thousands of people going though the same thing I went many years before. Worrying about their CV and cover letter, solving cases at night and seeing PST tests in their dreams. These young professionals do need my materials! They will give them ideas and even inspire them. For example, you could even think of ways how you could tell your story better than I did! And I will be very happy if so.
At the beginning of this article I shared my resume which got me accepted at McKinsey.
Here is my motivational letter for McKinsey
How to get maximum benefit out of these materials?
- First, read my articles on motivation
- Make a list of 4 topics: (1) achievements; (2) why consulting; (3) why McKinsey (or any other company) and (4) why you. Bullet points (1) will be used in your resume, while (2), (3), (4) – in your motivational letter
- Read my resume and letter
- Do not copy word for word! There will be many lazy people who will do the same. Take the structure and some ideas. Expand your (1) – (4) list, if needed. You can look up other ideas in this article
- Write the first drafts of your resume and cover letter. Do you like them? Probably not. Have you considered these recommendations? Then
- Write a second and third draft
- When you feel you can show your profile (CV + CL) to someone else, ask your friends to comment
- After 3-4 “attempts” you will achieve the version you can send to recruiters
And here is my motivation letter
December 21, 2012
McKinsey & Company
Dear Recruitment Manager,
I am currently enrolled in the second year of Master of Science in Economic and Social Sciences at the Bocconi University, Milan, and would like to be considered for a Generalist Business Analyst position with the Moscow office starting July 2013. I believe consulting is the best business domain to launch my career because it offers unique work experience in several dimensions. Devoting myself to projects in various industries and possibly different countries would help me shape my career interests, while the amazingly steep learning curve of consulting would ensure that the skills acquired are not only broad, but also deep and well mastered. Of course these gains come at the expense of hard work and long hours, but this is an advantage to me: I’d rather take up a demanding job which I would be proud of (and the BA at McKinsey is definitely such a job) than a dull nine-to-five one.
McKinsey is my number one choice because of its unique approach to managing human capital and distinguished corporate culture. The Firm hires brightest minds from diverse backgrounds, which means I would learn something from all of my colleagues and senior consultants. At the same time the “One Firm” principle ensures that my knowledge and skills would be allocated in the most efficient way. Moreover, this allocation would appear to be also socially desirable, due to the Firm’s commitment to making a positive impact on the society both through improving business practices and involvement in non-profit organizations. I also know McKinsey would help me to grow further by providing access to formal training programs and offering less formal but equally important opportunities of team-based growth, mentorship, and coaching. Naturally, I would contribute to other consultants’ personal growth as much as I can. As a result of such mutually beneficial collaboration, I would be able to establish lifelong relations with interesting and trustworthy people, which is important wherever my career path brings me at the end of the day.
Also, I believe my skills and experience would add value to McKinsey. I have developed strong problemsolving skills and deep expertise in economics through my Master of Science program at Bocconi University and the exchange year at the Economics PhD program of the University of Minnesota. The latter experience also taught me how to deal with considerable workload and tight deadlines, inevitable companions of any good PhD. Internship at Citibank, where my colleagues and I together developed database procedures and supported other units on software-related issues, has taught me the importance and benefits of teamwork. I have shown leadership skills through organizing events at MGIMO Debate Club, including two international tournaments, and coaching less experienced debaters. Interpreting for businessmen and politicians, I have improved my communication skills, learned to deal with pressured situations and mitigate conflicts. Finally, speaking 4 languages and having lived in 3 countries, I believe I would both fit in and be able to contribute to McKinsey’s cosmopolitan “One Firm” environment. I thank you for considering my application and hope very much to be invited for an interview.