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#1 Urgent
17/10/2007 10:14


I am a graduate and have sent off about half of my applications, but have a strategy day coming up where advice is given on CV and covering letter presentation. Will I be at any significant disadvantage if I wait for this advice before sending off these applications? I have already had an e-mail back from Marakon saying my CV has been taken through to the final round of review, and am worried that potential candidate spaces are already being lined up for the first plunge. I just want to make sure my other applications (notably to MBBB firms) are as good as I can make them. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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#2 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 10:30

M to Lex (#1)

Maybe phone the MBBB grad recruitment hotline and try and gauge how near they are to filling their positions- sometimes they wont give the info but sometimes they are quite happy to say if (one week?) will make a difference.

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#3 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 10:31

anon to Lex (#1)

My experience shows that most top strategy firms wait for the deadlines before sending out progress emails.

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#4 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 10:47

Tony Restell ( to anon (#3)

I would agree with anon - none of the firms are going to handle applications in a manner that makes it harder for them to accept a good candidate coming through close to the application deadline. They are all going to keep their options open about which candidates they invite for interview until the application deadline has passed.

The message you've had from Marakon I would see as encouraging - sounds like they are basically trying to keep good candidates in the loop and indicate that their application has generated some interest within the firm. But again I'm sure they would not commit to who is going to get an interview spot until the actual application deadline has passed (NB in my days as a strategy consultant, this is exactly how the Milkround recruiting was conducted)

Hope this helps and good luck

Tony Restell

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#5 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 11:19

cynic to Tony Restell ( (#4)

Call me cynical... and I have to admit that I've never worked with a recruitment agent or HR... but could it be possible that the recruitment bods flick through the CVs they receive once they've got a fair old pile built up on their desk, then work through them until they've got 20 or however many they need decent candidates, then just bin the rest unless they spot something truly amazing during their 15 seconds per 100 CVs flick through of the remainder?

I'm just finding it difficult to imagine a truly conscientious/diligent selection procedure happening in practice... we all know how procedure goes out the window as soon as it interferes with someone's personal interests right?

Example: In theory, they should return phone calls to candidates. In practice, they often don't bother. Why? Because it's not in their personal interests (why waste hours and hours talking to people who aren't even going to end up working for the company?)

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#6 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 11:34

Obviously to cynic (#5)

Because recruiters (whether in-house or consultancy) should be spending their days giving detailed feedback to candidates who have not been selected because this is an extremely productive use of their time. It would be utterly unprofessional to focus on those they are actually likely to recruit, due to the charitable nature of the companies they work for. In the same way, strategy consulting firms should hand out free advice to companies they will never work with and investment banks/PE firms should be conducting due diligence research on behalf of other investment groups for free. Recruiters generally try to do the right thing but when you return from a week-end with 300 CV's in your in-box, 99% of which are not what you are looking for, you are inevitably going to focus on the 1%. If you KNOW you are the right sort (ie have a good inside track and are confident that you meet the criteria), push by all means. Otherwise, you should just face the music and dance....

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#7 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 11:47

Tony Restell ( to cynic (#5)

Cynic - you're way off the mark!

At my days at Roland Berger we received ~1,500 applications from Finalists wanting a graduate entry level position with the firm's London office. Each consultant was assigned a batch to review and had a portion of their billable month set aside to do this. There was a scoring system that everyone was briefed on and had to adhere to. All those that made the cut were then reviewed by a second consultant to ensure that we had consistent scoring being applied across the board.

Through this process we whittled the candidates down to about 200 strong candidates and then each consultant was able to fight the corner of the best borderline candidates in their batch. This got us down to the ~120 finalists that we then actually interviewed. So there was a massive investment of time and money in making this process as professional as possible and not missing out on any star candidates.

I could agree with your assessment that rejected candidates aren't always treated in the best possible manner within our sector. But where strong candidates are concerned, it's just plain wrong to suggest that the selection procedures are haphazard and shoddy.

Tony Restell

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#8 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 11:56

cynic to Tony Restell ( (#7)

Thanks Tony, it's reassuring to hear that things are generally handled professionally. I guess I'm just bitter from a few rejections I've had lately!!

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#9 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 11:59

Mars to Lex (#1)

Lex - keep your chin up! It's a marathon not a sprint.

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#10 RE: Urgent
17/10/2007 16:02

Lex to Mars (#9)

Cheers guys, that's comforting feedback although the cynical viewpoints are exactly the type of thing that got me worried. I think I'll take the positive advice - here comes the climb up the mountain.

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