I already know this is going to sound pretentious so I apologize in advance but am genuinely curious. When I was applying, I only really considered MBB (and less so Bain because of focus areas since I'm not that interested in PE) - for those at other firms, what drove that decision?

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Agreed with BCG1. This is incredibly tone deaf.

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The vast majority of consultants went to schools where MBB doesn’t even recruit, and even then, the majority of people who apply don’t get the job. Your question is basically like asking someone who went to Boston College why they went there instead of Harvard or MIT

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That wasn't my intention. I know people who chose state schools over Ivy Leagues for a variety of reasons (often financial) so was wondering if there was something similar. Again, I know it comes across that way though, which is why I noted that in the original post.

That’s a valid question - there may be many drivers for applying to other firms
1) It may be a matter of whether one was trying to get a job in consulting or only MBB. MBBs are obviously extremely competitive to get into and if one is aiming to make a career in consulting, it just makes sense to apply to other firms as well - the life is comparable (relative to switching professions obviously) and different firms offer different values. Travel vs. no travel / type of work / size of the organization - all lead to very different experiences

2) as it was pointed out earlier - depending on the school you’re from, options may be limited

3) work life balance - MBBs have a very specific appeal but there is a work life balance consideration that comes with it. Other firms may offer you an option of being able to have more flexibility in hours / projects.

4) title / position - again depending on your background, you can aim for a higher title in some specialized firms vs. generalist tracks at MBB

5) previous networks - this might be not a big factor alone but combined with others mentioned above, could play a big role since networks are quite beneficial to further your professional goals faster

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Didn’t have high enough GPA (3.2) to due to engineering background to be competitive for MBB for a target state school so only focused on T2 and B4 and didn’t want to do engineering work

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Out of undergrad I was in a different firm. I didn’t go with my initial MBB offer because of location. I went to a T2 firm in a different geography.

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I think you should answer what drove you to apply only to MBB. That’s the real question. Diversifying the amount of firms one applies to is probably the standard.

What else were you doing/before?

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