MBB Reapplication Ban: Rule & Policy

After months or even years of preparation, you, unfortunately, find a rejection letter in your email box. Of course, that is not the end, for now. You are determined to improve and take another shot at management consulting. But if you are too eager, the system will reject your profile right away. So when exactly can you reapply, and what should you do while you wait?

Why is there a reapplication ban?

The answer is really simple: to ensure candidates have improved before reapplying. Otherwise, with the number of candidates applying for MBB jobs each year, their HR departments will be stretched thin without much.

There are many reasons why a candidate is not recruited. It might have been an error in their resume, or maybe their resume was not good enough, or they did not do well in the interview round. Whatever the case is, the failing reason can be dealt with and improved on. MBB firms know better than to waste potential, which is why they allow candidates to reapply, but only after they demonstrate that they have grown enough.

How do they determine whether you have grown? Possibly through your new resume. They will look for new relevant experience and capacity growth in your resume. So during the ban period, if you haven’t found a way to add something new to your CV, you are unlikely to pass.

Even if you have acquired new experience, you still have more things to do in order to make your resume presentable to an MBB firm. Why not check out my Consulting Resume Premium Package to find fail-proof ways to improve your resume?


How long is the MBB reapplication ban period?

In most cases, the reapplication ban lasts 12 to 24 months. Here are the specific reapplication ban periods for the three MBB firms:

  • McKinsey: it has been officially stated on their website that they do not accept reapplication within up to 2 years of the initial screening.
  • BCG: though not officially specified, you can get referred for reapplication after 2 years.
  • Bain: unofficially states that you should wait 12 to 18 months before reapplying. 

However, there are exceptions for candidates that performed well enough in the initial screening. Furthermore, these cases might get an extra shot thanks to referrals from well-respected consultants. If you are confident you fit these criteria, you can look forward to as short as 6 to 12 months of waiting before you can apply again. That said, these cases are really rare, so you should play it safe and find sure ways to improve your profile instead.


Who can reapply to MBB Firms, and how many times can one reapply?

Generally, reapplication is open to everyone. No firm has officially stated reasons for why candidates are not allowed to reapply. So if you are not the center of any big scandal, you can rest assured that your new resume can get another fair shot.

That said, I have seen reports of offices that do not accept reapplication in a few regions. My best guess is, these offices have too many profiles to screen already and cannot handle more. If you believe your office of choice might have that policy, you should contact HR immediately; even if they don’t accept reapplication, you can always move to a different region and start anew.

As to how many times you can reapply, you can stop worrying because the answer is there is no limit. You can reapply as many times as you need to. I have seen cases where people get accepted after their fourth try.


What should you do when reapplying? 

The first thing you should do is contact the office and inquire about information on when you can reapply again. You just might be a rare case where they will happily screen your resume once more in 6 months.

Regardless of your waiting time, here are a few things you have to do, or can do when the ban is lifted. 

Acquire new experience 

Be it 2 years of business school, or relevant work experience in an industry or a boutique consulting firm, if you believe the experience can earn points in the recruiter’s eyes, go for it.

As mentioned above, the reason for the ban is for candidates to improve their resumes. And what good is a resume without any new bullet points? 

Expand your network to get a referral 

A referral will significantly improve your odds of getting accepted. What’s more, it can shorten your waiting time a bit. So while you are getting new experience, set aside some time and effort to make new connections.

You need to state that you are reapplying 

When screening reapplying candidates, recruiters will review your new resume alongside the resume, cover letter, written tests, and interview results from the first application. This is to make sure the candidate has grown and developed their potentials well enough to be a good consultant.

I have seen some people saying you can circumvent the ban period by changing your email and address, as well as leaving out your middle name. Those are cheap tricks and as a former McKinsey consultant, I cannot recommend you doing so. The office you are reapplying to will not tolerate it if they find out, since those shenanigans are only for tricking the system into processing your profile.

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