A Guide to the BCG Internship

What to expect from an internship at one of the world's most prestigious consulting firms.

Emily Wong

Along with McKinsey & Co. and Bain & Co., Boston Consulting Group is one of the top three management consulting firms in the world. With $8.5 billion in revenue in 2019 alone and over 90 offices across the globe, BCG is a recognized and respected name anywhere you go. If you’re looking to pursue a career in consulting, the BCG summer internship program is a stepping stone to amazing opportunities in the industry, including a full-time offer at the firm. But an internship at BCG is in high demand and short supply, which means you’ll be facing stiff competition. Here’s what you can expect, from the recruitment process to the internship.

What’s the Internship Like?

The BCG consulting internship is open to rising college juniors and seniors, as well as grad students in business school. It’s hosted in over 90 locations, from San Francisco and New York to Malaysia, and while the program duration varies by location, it’s typically 10-12 weeks long. Interns are put on case teams, assigned real clients projects, and often have to travel for part of the week to visit their sites. They also receive lots of training and mentorship outside of their work from current BCGers. According to some sources , United States offices pay $32,000 for MBAs and $18,000 for undergraduate summer interns for the duration of the 10-week program.

Do You Have the Right Background?

bcg cover letter internship

Many consulting firms prefer candidates who come from quantitative backgrounds, like business, economics, statistics, math, etc. But while math skills can certainly come in handy in interviews and on the job, BCG prides itself on hiring students from a diverse set of backgrounds, from science to humanities. One former   BCG   intern even said, “it’s almost like business students are disadvantaged because a diversity of majors and academic disciplines is really encouraged.”

Academic achievement is important to BCG, with GPA as a natural indicator. Some sources advise that candidates should have a minimum grade point average of 3.6 out of 4.0 in order to prove their qualifications. However, that doesn’t mean anything lower than that is automatically ruled out. A candidate with a 3.2 GPA can still make it to the next round if they can show outstanding achievements to make up for it, like awards, prestigious past internships, or high standardized test scores.

Making the Most of Your Application

bcg cover letter internship

If BCG conducts visits at your campus, you can find your school’s page on their website and apply directly through its portal. Otherwise, you can go through the general online application. Either way, the application just consists of general information, including your background, office preferences, transcript, standardized test scores, resume , and cover letter.

While writing your cover letter, it’s important to cater it specifically to BCG. Boston Consulting Group values teamwork, problem solving skills, passion, flexibility, and curiosity. Therefore, try to highlight these values when talking about projects and experiences. You can also personalize the letter by talking about your specific experiences with BCG that make you want to work there, whether it’s conversations with current associates or completing the BCG Virtual Experience Program .

Before advancing to the interview stage, undergraduate candidates typically have to take the BCG Potential Test, an online assessment that allots you 45 minutes to answer 23 multiple-choice questions. Most questions assess your quantitative and logic skills, like, “Which of the following conclusions are accurate given the following data?” or “Calculate X, Y and Z given the following information.” You’re expected to complete the test without using a calculator or other resources.

Nailing the Interviews

bcg cover letter internship

If you make it past the BCG Potential Test, you’ll be invited to a live interview. The BCG website says that the interview process varies by location, but there are usually at least two rounds of live interviews, divided into three parts:

  • BCG will strive to learn more about you during each round. You’ll talk about your background and personal experiences so they can assess your fit at the company.
  • They’ll assess how you solve problems by giving you a case study to evaluate your thought process, strategic/analytical skills, and ability to make a strong argument for the solution you recommend.
  • They’ll answer your questions about the job as they evaluate your ability to listen and communicate effectively, as well as your curiosity and creative thinking.

Knowing more about you

While preparing for the behavioral portion of the interview may not be your first priority, your experience and cultural fit will be significant factors in BCG’s hiring decision. Before the interview, try to come up with thoughtful responses to questions that you know they’ll ask, like, “Why consulting?” or “Why BCG?” Show that you’ve researched the consulting career path and the firm, talked to consultants, and have concrete reasons for why BCG is your top choice.

BCG is also interested in your professional history, so be ready to talk through and answer any questions about your resume. Additionally, think about how to answer other questions that candidates have been asked in previous interviews, such as:

  • Tell me about a time you persuaded someone
  • What accomplishments have given you the greatest satisfaction
  • Tell me about a time you failed
  • Tell me about a time you took leadership
  • What’s your leadership style?
  • Tell me about your greatest challenge on your previous job

Don't know where to start? Try writing a list of accomplishments, significant lessons, and interesting stories from your professional experience. Think about class projects, internships, leadership or volunteer positions, and other task-oriented settings. Once this list is complete, think about which behavioral questions each story could address.

As you move forward in your career, keeping a list of professional achievements is always advised. Starting early will put you ahead of the curve!

👉 For more behavioral interview tips, click here

Assessing how you solve problems

bcg cover letter internship

Cases are a staple of the consulting interview process. During a case interview, you will be told about a business scenario and asked to propose a solution. This requires thorough knowledge of the factors that impact organizations, from manufacturing costs to market trends. Luckily, there are plenty of in-depth resources to help you prepare. Popular study materials include caseinterview.com or the book Case in Point . BCG also offers its own resources, such as case interview tips, practice case interviews, and guided consulting cases on its website.

Taylor Smith, managing director and partner at BCG, suggests practicing a case live with a friend or somebody from your career office who can give you feedback. It’s important to learn how to walk someone through your thought process and be able to hit on the right points without rambling. BCG employees also caution against memorizing examples or facts from industries and suggest that you instead focus on being present during the interview. Engage the interviewer, ask for information when you need it, and think about solving the problem collaboratively.

Answering your questions

While this is your time to get more information about the role, your interviewer will still use it as an area of evaluation. It’s important to make the questions insightful, whether they’re about your potential responsibilities, the firm’s history and culture, or even the interviewer’s personal experiences.

If you want to stand out, show that you've looked into the company. Instead of asking general questions, dive deeper into BCG-specific programs/initiatives (think resource groups, volunteer programs, etc), research they have conducted, or articles they have appeared in.

Part of your evaluation will be based on how well you present yourself, so confidence and eloquence are key.

Enjoying the Internship Experience

bcg cover letter internship

COVID response

Along with every other company, BCG had to make some adjustments to its 2020 internship program. The firm extended full-time offers to all interns, as well as three options for the program itself, as long as they signed the full-time offer within two weeks. First, interns could choose to work at a non-profit of their choice for full pay, giving them an opportunity to make a real social impact during the pandemic. They could work for a startup for 33% pay, which gave them some flexibility like working on their own business or a friend’s project. Or they could do the 6-week virtual BCG internship for full pay. If they didn’t sign the offer on time, they’d be locked into the third option.

The in-person internship


While the details of the internship can vary by location, they all follow the same basic structure. For the first three days, summer associates are led through orientation, where they meet the other interns and attend lectures by current BCGers on the skills required in consulting, like problem solving, email communication, and Microsoft Office. They also get their work iPhone and laptop, as well as some introductions to BCG’s time-saving Excel and PowerPoint macros. Finally, they go over the BCG evaluation process, parameters, and benchmarks. Interns are typically assigned their client project within the first few days and head to the client sites during the second week.

The program

Interns are given a lot of hands-on responsibility to manage real client work. Nishad, a former intern at the Bombay office , was assigned to a factory, where he aimed to increase profits by making production more efficient. He would walk around the factory to observe the process and ask questions to the workers and managers for most of the day, and then he would go back to his hotel to do more analysis. BCG works collaboratively with its clients, so Nishad was able to have lunch with the staff, attend internal client meetings, and present his final dashboard to the factory CEO and COO.

Interns also get a lot of support from their BCG team members and associates. Each intern is assigned a buddy-- a current associate who they can meet for coffee and ask for support and career advice throughout the internship. Typically, interns report directly to a 2nd year senior associate, a project leader, or a consultant. They get regular feedback from their project leader throughout the program to give them an opportunity to learn and improve.

Past BCG interns have reported a tight-knit cohort, with plenty of opportunities to bond. On the weekends, they can attend intern events, like office-wide retreats, sporting events, volunteering, meals, and happy hours.

Return offers

BCG says that the vast majority of its interns receive offers for full-time positions. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed. In order to lock down a return offer, it’s important to stay focused and show a commitment to your work. Respond to feedback quickly and positively. 

Finally, it's important that you show balance and keep a level head. The job is stressful, but it also presents a lot of opportunities to cut loose at parties and other social events. Embrace these factors, but be sure that neither get in the way of your learning experience. In time, you'll find a way to work hard, stay healthy, and have fun!

Cover photo by Boston Consulting Group - https://www.bcg.com/

The information provided herein is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide tax, legal, or investment advice and should not be construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation of any security by Candor, its employees and affiliates, or any third-party. Any expressions of opinion or assumptions are for illustrative purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results and the opinions presented herein should not be viewed as an indicator of future performance. Investing in securities involves risk. Loss of principal is possible.

Third-party data has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed. Candor does not receive compensation to promote or discuss any particular Company; however, Candor, its employees and affiliates, and/or its clients may hold positions in securities of the Companies discussed.

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Consulting cover letter guide (for McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc.)

Consulting cover letter

Today we’re going to explain everything you need to know about writing consulting cover letters.

We’ll start by reviewing an example cover letter that got interview invitations from ALL the MBB firms (McKinsey, BCG, and Bain). 

And then we’ll explain exactly how you should write your own cover letter to land consulting interviews. Here’s a full list of the topics in this guide:

  • Example cover letter

How to write your consulting cover letter

Consulting cover letter tips.

  • The skills consulting firms look for

Consulting cover letter screening process

  • Get help with your cover letter

Let’s get to it! 

Click here for a consulting letter/resume review with an ex-MBB consultant

Example cover letter (which got interviews at mckinsey, bcg, and bain).

Below is an anonymised cover letter from a candidate who got interviews at McKinsey, BCG and Bain. So you can trust that this template works.

The image here highlights the different sections of the cover letter, but we’ll dive deeper into the text later, and you can also get a downloadable copy below.

Consulting cover letter example

Free download of the consulting cover letter example, here. 

In the next section, we’ll go step-by-step through each part of the cover letter and explain how to go about writing it. But before we dive in, please note the following points about the above template:

  • A lot of people use this template. Get inspiration from it, but every sentence in your letter should be written from scratch.
  • This cover letter might sound impressive. It's one of the best ones we’ve seen. But even if you have not achieved as much as this person, you can still get an interview.

With that said, let’s dig into the cover letter writing process!

As a starting point, this video provides a nice overview of the full writing process for a consulting cover letter. 

Now let’s break things down further.

1. Introduction

Example - Introduction

Mary Taylor - [email protected]


Dear Sir / Madam,

I would like to apply for an Associate position at McKinsey in London.

This section is a formality. It should simply state the following information:

  • Your name and email address. You can replace your email address with a postal address although those are not commonly used anymore.
  • The date on which you are sending your letter
  • The position, company, and office to which you are applying

Keep it short and sweet.

2. Why you? 

Example - Why you?

I started working as an Analyst at Big Finance in New York in September 2020 and was quickly promoted to Associate in a year and a half instead of the average four years. While at Big Finance, I advised a broad range of clients who constantly gave me positive feedback and regularly asked to work with me again. Before joining Big Finance, I graduated as the top student of my MEng in Chemical Engineering at Prestigious University in the UK. While studying, I received two competitive scholarships and awards. In addition, I developed my leadership skills as the President of the Prestigious University Consulting Club. High energy was essential to lead a team of 5 managing the club and growing the number of members by 20%.

This is your "GOLD MEDALS" section. It is the first section of your cover letter and therefore the most important one.

It should state the TOP 3 achievements of your life to date that are relevant to consulting. These achievements should be as unique and as memorable as possible. When your reviewer reads them they should think "Wow, that's impressive. I want to know more about this person."

To write this section you need to step back and ask yourself "What are the most impressive things I've done with my life so far?" This is not an easy question to answer. 

In our experience discussing this with a close friend can help. It's sometimes easier for them to quickly point out the impressive things you have done as they are an external observer.

In addition, notice how achievements are QUANTIFIED in the example above. Saying you have been promoted "in a year and a half instead of the average four years" is much more powerful than saying you have been promoted "quickly." You should quantify your achievements whenever possible.

This section is your chance to grab the reader's attention. If there's nothing impressive in it, they will stop reading and just scan the paragraphs. So don't miss your opportunity!

3. Why consulting?

Example - Why consulting?

There are several reasons why I want to pursue a consulting career. To start with, I know I will enjoy being a strategy consultant because I have already worked in a strategy team in the past. This was in summer 2019 when I was a Strategy Intern at Big Grocery Retailer in London. In addition, I think consulting is a unique opportunity to comprehensively learn about business management by working on a variety of company situations. Over the past two years, I have started building my business skills while advising clients on financial matters at Big Finance. I now look forward to learning more about companies’ management at McKinsey. Finally, I want to work in consulting because I truly enjoy interacting with clients. Throughout my work experiences I have built a successful track record of developing and maintaining relationships with clients including, for instance, the senior strategy team at Big Grocery Retailer.

Once you have convinced your reviewer that you have impressive achievements under your belt they'll be thinking: "Ok, this person is impressive. But do they REALLY want to be a consultant? Or are they just applying because they're not sure what to do with their career."

The third section of your letter should therefore answer the  "Why consulting?" question . But here is the thing about this question: There are some reasons to go into consulting that you should tell your reviewer about. And some reasons that you should really keep to yourself.

For instance, one of the mistakes candidates commonly make in their cover letter is to write something along the lines of "I'd like to spend 2 or 3 years in consulting to learn more about business in general and then decide what I want to do." This is a HUGE mistake. 

Consulting firms want to hire FUTURE PARTNERS. Not employees who will stay for a couple of years. You can watch the video below for more details about this.

The best approach for your "Why consulting?" section is to write about past experiences that really show you know what you are getting into. The perfect situation is if you have done an internship in consulting or in corporate strategy and have enjoyed it. If that's the case, this is the perfect section to write about it.

But even if you haven't done related internships, there are plenty of angles you can use to connect your past experiences to what you will do as a consultant. For instance:

  • You might have enjoyed working with clients when you were in M&A or in Sales
  • You might have enjoyed structuring and solving tough problems as an engineer

You should use these experiences to say that "working with clients" or "solving tough problems" is something you KNOW you enjoy doing; and you look forward to spending more time doing this as a consultant.

When they read this section, your reviewer should think: "Ok, this person is impressive AND they know what they are getting into."

4. Why McKinsey / BCG / Bain / Other?

Example - Why McKinsey?

McKinsey appeals to me for three reasons. To start with, the different people from the company I have met and worked with all told me they had truly enjoyed their time there. For the past two years, I have worked for Michael Smith, a former Engagement Manager from the London office, who now works for Big Finance. Additionally, I regularly read McKinsey’s reports on financial services and think the insights delivered by Sarah James and others in the Finance practice are truly superior to that of other consultancies. By joining McKinsey, I therefore think I would have an opportunity to work with and learn from the best consultants in the industry. Finally, the fact that McKinsey was selected by Finance Supercorp to shape its digital strategy also played an important role in my decision to apply. This was a first-of-its-kind contract in finance and it shows that while at McKinsey I could get the opportunity to work on truly unique projects.

If you have managed to convince your reviewer that you have an impressive background and that you really want to be a consultant, you have a VERY HIGH chance of getting an interview. 

The only question that's left for you to answer is: " Why McKinsey  / Why BCG? / Why Bain? "

Top consulting firms  have a lot in common. In most regions, they cover the same industries and work for similar clients. They also pay similar salaries, and the career path is more or less the same from firm to firm. So what should you write about in this section?

In our experience, the most efficient way to set yourself apart in this section is to write about three specific elements:

When you write "I've met with Michael Smith," or "I've read report X," or "I've heard about project Y," you are making an argument that's SPECIFIC enough for your reviewer to think: "Ok they've done their homework."

If you stay too GENERIC, your argument will be much less credible. For instance, writing something like "While at McKinsey, I'll be exposed to a broad range of industries which I'm excited about" is a weak argument because you could swap McKinsey for BCG or Bain in that sentence.

In fact, this is the ultimate test. If you can swap McKinsey with another name in your "Why McKinsey?" section you are not being specific enough. You need to work on your paragraph again and mention SPECIFIC people, reports, or projects that you find interesting.

5. Conclusion

Example - Conclusion

For all these reasons, I am very enthusiastic about the chance to work at McKinsey. I am available for an interview at any time and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Mary Taylor

The last section of the cover letter is a formality again. It should include the following elements:

  • A sentence or two saying that you are enthusiastic and available for interviews at any time
  • Your final signature

So how do you make it easy for your reviewer to put your cover letter on the "Accept" pile? We have put together the 10 tips below to make sure you can achieve this and avoid common mistakes.

Consulting cover letter tips

Tip #1 Don't use a template letter

Writing cover letters is painful. But trust us, reading hundreds of them can be at least as painful. That's why you should make every effort to make your letter interesting and genuine. 

It's ok to get inspiration from templates such as the one we provide in this guide. But every sentence in your letter should be written from scratch.

Tip #2 Keep it to one page

One of the unwritten rules of consulting cover letters is that they should not be longer than one page. The trick to achieve this is to only select the MOST RELEVANT experiences from your  resume  and to summarise them. 

The points you decide to highlight should clearly demonstrate that you would make a great consultant.

Tip #3 Standard format and font

It's tempting to use an eye-catching font and format. But that's actually a bad idea. You only risk your interviewer thinking: "I've never seen this font, it looks really weird. Who is this person?" Your cover letter should stand out because of its content, NOT because of its format.

Tip #4 Not the time to be shy

Your cover letter is not the time to be shy. If you went to Harvard and have three Olympic medals, now is the time to say it! Most of us don't, and that's fine. But the point is that you should really push yourself to bring your most impressive accomplishments forward.

Tip #5 Network, network, network

This might sound surprising, but a big part of the cover letter is  how much networking you have done . Having networked with people from the firm you are applying for pays dividends for multiple reasons. 

First, they might recommend you to the HR team. But most importantly, these people will give you insight into what makes their firm UNIQUE. Then you can quote what you've heard in your cover letter (and name drop the person you heard it from) to show that you really understand the firm you are applying for.

Tip #6 Read, read, read

Unfortunately, networking is not always easy or possible. In these cases, your second best option is to read as much as you can on the firms you are applying for. You should read about the firm's projects, reports, and partners and find pieces of information you are really interested in. 

For instance, if you did your master thesis on electric vehicles, try to find who works in this area at the firm and what they have to say about it. And then mention what you have found in your cover letter.

Tip #7 One letter per firm

One question we often get is: "Should I write one letter per firm?" The answer is YES. But it's not as hard as it might sound. 

Every cover letter needs to answer three questions: Why you? Why consulting? And why this firm? The only paragraph you will need to change in every letter is the one about "Why this firm?" For each firm, you will have to do the networking and reading mentioned above.

Tip #8 Start writing early

Writing an outstanding cover letter is VERY HARD. Most candidates underestimate how much time it takes and start this process too late. You'll need to take a step back and reflect on everything you have done to date to highlight your most relevant experiences. 

This takes multiple iterations. Start early.

Tip #9 Get feedback

In our experience, great candidates all look for feedback and iterate on their cover letter until it's truly as good as it can get. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it.

It’s best to get feedback from peers or consultants. These people will be able to point out which parts of your letter they don't get or don't find impactful enough. If you’d like to have an expert review your cover letter, check out our team of  ex-consultant coaches .

Tip #10 Proofread multiple times

Finally, you should check and double check your letter for typos and grammar mistakes - multiple times. A cover letter is (not so secretly) a writing test and you should really treat it like one.

What consulting firms look for

To get multiple interviews at  top consulting firms , it’s extremely important to understand what those firms are actually looking for. 

The good news is that most of the leading consultancies are looking for basically the same skills. 

To illustrate this point, here’s what  McKinsey  and  Bain  say that they’re looking for in candidates, along with our own translation of what they mean:

What consulting firms look for

There are also a few unofficial items that consulting firms will look for on your resume, and you can read about those in our  consulting resume guide .

Next, let’s talk about the typical cover letter screening process.

Screening process

Now let's talk about HOW your cover letter will be handled once you send it. Here's how it works.

Your application will be sent to a JUNIOR CONSULTANT who recently graduated from your University. They will score your documents based on a grid provided by the HR team. 

Consultants usually have to score 200 to 400 applications in about 2 weeks. And this is sometimes on TOP of their normal project. It's not uncommon for them to leave the job to the last minute and to have to do it on a Friday night just before the deadline.

Why is this important? The point we are trying to make is your application is part of 100 other applications. And the person who will review it will be tired by the time they get to your cover letter. If they don't understand something, they won't Google it. It's your job to make their job easy.

Why consultancies ask for a cover letter

There are two main reasons why consulting firms ask for cover letters.

First, partners bill several thousand dollars per day to their clients. The opportunity cost of interviewing you is HUGE for the firm. Put yourself in the shoes of a consultancy for a second. What are the top 3 questions you want to answer before investing money in interviewing a candidate?

  • Have they demonstrated the skills needed to be a consultant?
  • Do they know what consulting is and what they are getting into?
  • Are they genuinely interested in working for our firm?

If you don't answer these three questions in a structured and impactful way, your chances of getting past the screening process are very low. This is why every cover letter should be structured as follows:

  • Why consulting?
  • Why this firm?

The second reason consulting firms ask for a cover letter is to test your writing skills. Consultants write all the time: emails, PowerPoints, Word documents, etc. They spend about 50% of their day writing. And a lot of the time their job is to summarise very large quantities of information in a succinct way.

This is exactly what you have to do in your cover letter. You have to a) look back on all your past experiences, b) select the relevant experiences to convince the reviewer that you are the right person for the job and c) summarise all these experiences in a way that's easy to read and digest.

Cover letters are a disguised writing test. Candidates who end up getting invited for interviews recognise this early on. Making a good impression on paper is way harder than making a good impression in person.

Are many candidates ready to invest HOURS in writing the perfect cover letter? No. That's the whole point. That's how you can set yourself apart. If you spend enough time making sure that your letter is as impactful as it can be, you stand very high chances of getting invited for interviews.

Another reason that it can help to have a cover letter is to explain anything on your resume that may look unusual to a reviewer, such as a time gap or a non-traditional background for consulting. 

Whatever your unique situation is, if you’re not confident in how your cover letter looks today, then we can help you. 

Get an Ex-MBB consultant to review your cover letter

The guide above, in addition to our guide on  consulting resumes , should go a long way in helping you craft documents that will get you interviews. 

But if you still feel you need additional help, we have a team of ex-MBB recruiters and interviewers who would be happy to provide feedback on your cover letter.

You’ll get feedback on how to immediately improve your cover letter, including what experience to focus on, how to optimise your phrasing, formatting, etc.

Start by browsing profiles for available coaches.

Interview coach and candidate conduct a video call

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Creating an Exceptional BCG Cover Letter: Tips and Examples

Girl diligently crafting her BCG cover letter on a laptop while seated on a couch.

Table of Contents

A well-crafted cover letter is an essential component of any successful job application, and when it comes to applying for a position at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it’s even more critical. In this guide, we will discuss the necessary steps to create an outstanding BCG cover letter that will help you stand out from the competition. We will also provide a BCG cover letter example that you can use as a template for your own application.

Writing Your BCG Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter for a consulting internship or a full-time position can be a daunting task, especially if you are applying to multiple companies. However, there are ways to make the process more efficient and effective. By using a template and pre-written paragraphs, you can create a tailored cover letter specific to each company and role. This article provides tips on how to mass-produce your BCG cover letter while still making it personalized and impactful.

Remember, no matter what, your application is a  hollistic one. That is, you need to make sure you don’t just have a great cover letter, but also a optimal application strategy , a killer resume, and have effectively networked . 

A cover letter is just one component in getting yourself an interview, to know all the tips and tricks, make sure your read our free article on getting an interview . 

Steps for creating a bcg cover letter

Understand BCG's Values and Culture

Cut-out paper figures symbolizing BCG's company culture.

Before you start writing your cover letter, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with BCG’s values and culture. This knowledge will help you tailor your cover letter to align with what BCG looks for in its candidates. Visit BCG’s website and read about their values, mission, and the kind of work they do. You can also conduct additional research on platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to gain more insights into the company.

Research BCG’s Key Values:

BCG has a set of core values that drive its culture and the way it does business. These values include:

  • Respect for the individual
  • Clients come first
  • The strategic perspective
  • Value delivered
  • Partnerships
  • Expanding the art of the possible
  • Social impact

Understanding these values and incorporating them into your cover letter will demonstrate that you share BCG’s principles and that you are a good fit for the company.

Identify Your Strengths and Experiences

The next step in forming your BCG cover letter is to identify your strengths and experiences that align with BCG’s values and the role you are applying for. Think about your academic, professional, and extracurricular experiences that showcase your skills in areas such as analytical thinking, communication, client management, leadership, teamwork, diversity, and passion for learning.

Choose Relevant Themes:

Once you have a list of your strengths and experiences, consolidate them into key themes that best fit your skills and BCG’s values. Some possible themes to consider include:

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication
  • Client management
  • Passion for learning

Select three or four themes that best represent your skills and experiences, and focus on these in your cover letter.

bcg cover letter internship

Write Compelling Paragraphs

Man in suit holding a red paragraph sign, emphasizing BCG cover letter importance.

With your themes identified, it’s time to write succinct and impactful paragraphs that showcase your achievements and align with BCG’s values. Each paragraph should be 3-5 sentences long and should lead with a statement that connects your experience to the company’s values. For example, “BCG values strong analytical skills, and I have demonstrated this ability through my experience as a data analyst at XYZ Company.”

Use Pre-Written Paragraphs:

To save time and create a tailored cover letter for each company and role, consider writing a set of pre-written paragraphs that highlight your relevant skills and experiences. You can then select three of these paragraphs to include in your cover letter, adjusting the language and details to fit the specific company and position.

Personalize Your Cover Letter

Woman with polished nails presenting a BCG cover letter example.

Now that you have your pre-written paragraphs, it’s time to personalize your cover letter for BCG. This step involves adjusting the language and replacing words to fit the company and application. Use BCG’s language and terminology, and make sure to replace the company name, office location, and other details as needed.

Remember, we have an entire mini-course dedicated to showing you how to  mass-produce  your tailored cover letters.

Show Genuine Interest in BCG:

Even if your pre-written paragraphs cover similar topics, using BCG’s language and making minor adjustments will show that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in the company. This attention to detail can make a significant difference in the overall impact of your cover letter.

BCG Cover Letter Example

Below is a BCG cover letter example that I used to successfully apply to interview at BCG:

bcg cover letter internship

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a personalized and impactful BCG cover letter that showcases your skills and experiences while aligning with the company’s values and language. This tailored approach will not only save you time but also increase your chances of making a strong impression and securing an interview with BCG. Good luck in your application process!

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Rationale Behind Consulting Cover Letters

What is bcg looking for, how to write a bcg cover letter, bcg cover letter tips, bcg cover letter example, bcg cover letter: your guide to success.

Whether you're a student or an established professional, the path to joining the ranks of top consulting firms like Boston Consulting Group will include a compelling cover letter. Candidates should aim to provide a concise, customized cover letter for each major consulting firm application, and it should be tailored to your experience to showcase your unique story.

BCG Cover Letter

Let’s start with some of the basics.

First, does BCG require a cover letter?

Yes, BCG does require a cover letter. Cover letters are essential for filtering applications and gauging an applicant's interest and ability for the position. Some geographies will indicate that the cover letter is optional, so you might ask us, “Should I still write a cover letter if it appears optional?” Our emphatic answer is – yes! Cover letters are a great way to stand out in this highly competitive field.

Second, understand who will be reading your resume.

At a firm like BCG, the cover letter will be most important to recruiters and to hiring managers, and, to a lesser degree, the consultants that interview you. BCG, and most other management consulting firms, are not using AI readers for cover letters that come through campus recruiting, so write your cover letter planning for a human to read it.

Lastly, recognize that your cover letter is largely a filter.

This is because the cover letter and resume are both used to screen candidates, but once you are into the interview stage, case interviews and behavioral interviews govern most of your outcome. With that said, put your best foot forward to get in the door.

BCG wants creative candidates who demonstrate an understanding of industries combined with a skill set that includes problem-solving, analytical thinking, leadership acumen, and effective communication.

With regards to stories, BCG wants to see your specific contributions and impact on projects. Recruiters are more interested in your individual ability to drive revenue than in the total project size that you participated in. Both metrics are valuable, but the first displays your impact in a personal manner.

Writing a BCG cover letter involves five key steps.

Know your story

Recruiters are trying to understand what type of a consultant you might be, so you want to address who you are in simple and direct terms, crafting a memorable and consistent narrative of yourself.

Identify specific situations of unique success from your story

Highlight episodes that reflect your problem-solving abilities, leadership roles, or communication skills. The cover letter allows you to go deep where the resume was broad, so pick two to three specific “hero stories” and describe them in detail.

Follow a structure to make your story easier to read

The format of your cover letter is not the time to be creative. You generally want four main paragraphs: an introduction, first hero story, the second hero story, and a conclusion, in addition to salutations.

Be quantitative in your stories and result

Provide specifics on the results you've delivered. Whether it's a 20% increase in sales or reducing project delivery time by three weeks, numbers speak louder than words to consultants, and numbers will give the recruiters confidence that you can think like a consultant.

Address potential red flags in your story

Think about spinning. If you have a gap in your resume, now is your chance to explain the gap and potentially make it a compelling part of your story. In one example, a recent new hire at BCG took a gap year to train and claim K-2, often called the hardest mountain climb in the world. Addressing this in his cover letter was a great way to communicate the reason for this gap and spin it to a positive story of commitment and endurance.

The above items should be achievable, regardless of your circumstance. In addition to these, also try to add reference to people that have referred you within the BCG. This is a detail to add to your concluding paragraph. You can also add any BCG events that you have joined or note BCG projects that you are aware of that uniquely resonate with you.

BCG Cover Letter Format

Now let’s talk about some tactical details.

  • Length: Always keep it to one page. Recruiters start to fall asleep after one page.
  • Font: use 10–12-point professional, readable fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri (font should match your resume).
  • Spacing, Margins, and Alignment: Stick to 1-inch margins, 1-1.5 line spacing, and ensure your content is neatly aligned.

The above format is the industry standard. There is almost no reason to veer from this, unless you are a seasoned executive coming into consulting at the partner level, in which case you will include an extra page and discussion of your vision for the role, in addition to a lot of other requirements.

  • 2 Rounds of Edits each on 1 Resume and 1 Cover Letter
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Common Mistakes To Avoid

Now that you are equipped with a guide on how to successfully craft your BCG cover letter, let's talk about common mistakes to avoid for your cover letter draft.

Writing more than one page for a cover letter.

This is the biggest mistake that most people make when they draft their cover letter. The simple reality is that most people will stop reading after one page, and some recruiters will dock points against you for this simple mistake. Keep it to four paragraphs on one page.

Failing to quantify your results

Consultants like numbers. They want numbers in your interview answers, on your resume, and on your cover letter. Each “Hero Story” needs metrics. Sales metrics, team members led, even the number of PowerPoint pages that you built are encouraged on a cover letter.

Not ending with a compelling call to action

You want to strive to end your cover letter politely, but also with a clear next step. Some of our favorites are “Thank you for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you soon,” and “Thank you in advance for the time; I look forward to discussing my application further.”

  • Salutation Do’s and Don’ts:

Address the hiring manager if you know the hiring manager that will review your resume, otherwise, use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To whom it may concern." Do not use “Mr.”, “Ms.", and not “Mrs.” in the salutation.

  • Tailor for each firm:

A one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it. Customize your cover letter for BCG specifically, using the name “BCG” and calling out specific BCGers that you’ve met.

  • Stay concise:

Stick to relevant details and avoid the fluff. Anything before university is likely irrelevant.

Reiterate your interest and clearly indicate a goal for further discussion.

  • Think long-term motivations:

Show how your long-term goals align with BCG's vision, or how your passions align with BCG’s mission.

  • Proofreading:

A simple typo can cost you dearly. Double-check, triple-check, and have a friend re-read it before sending if you are prone to typos.

  • File Format:

Typically, a PDF format is preferable as it retains the original formatting.

Depending on your experience, your specific achievements will vary. Consider the following examples.

Focus on your leadership in university over academic achievements. Stories about leading a club or another student organization are more interesting than getting an A in a hard class. Call out your extracurriculars for the same reasons, focusing on your leadership and your impact. Be sure to call out any relevant internships, specifically any direct impact that you contributed.

MBA / Advanced Degree:

If you’ve worked full-time, one of your two “hero stories” must be from your most significant professional role. If your work experience is research focused, try to communicate the impact of your research experience in layman terms.

Experienced Hire:

Emphasize relevant job roles, especially anything with analytics or problem-solving. The big question with experienced hires is usually, “can you think like a consultant?” Leadership positions and key accomplishments are also valuable, as they show you can bring these skills into BCG. For Cover Letter examples and template, check out our thorough guide on writing cover letters.

Crafting the perfect BCG cover letter is a blend of putting your best foot forward, understanding BCG, and communicating your story. Remember that this is a screening exercise, so details matter and formatting can cost you. For those seeking personalized guidance, work with our team of MBB resume and cover letter editors on a custom cover letter edit. Learn more .

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BCG Sophomore Internship: BCG GFL & Other Programs

  • Last Updated January, 2024

BCG sophomore internship programs are great opportunities for college sophomores who aspire to enter consulting.

One of BCG’s programs is the BCG Growing Future Leaders (GFL) Internship Program, which gives Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Indigenous/Native American/Alaska Native students an immersive opportunity to experience consulting.

BCG GFL provides a competitive edge needed for consulting recruiting, with real work experience, mentorship, and resources.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • An overview of the BCG Sophomore Internship Program and who should apply
  • How to apply for the BCG Growing Future Leaders Internship Program
  • 6 tips on how to make the most of your experience in the BCG GFL Internship Program
  • Other BCG sophomore leadership programs to consider

Let’s get started!

What is the BCG Sophomore Internship Program & Who is it For?

The BCG Growing Future Leaders Program is a prestigious internship focused on providing opportunities to underrepresented college sophomores who demonstrate exceptional potential, ambition, and leadership skills. Through this program, BCG aims to promote a diverse talent pool of future leaders in consulting. BCG also wants to foster diversity and inclusion within its ranks while tapping into the vast pool of emerging talents.

The BCG GFL Internship Program allows a highly selective group of sophomore students to experience BCG’s work and culture in one of the US or Canadian offices. During the internship, the candidates work with a mentor, participate in training and development programs, and work as a member of a BCG case team. Upon completing the BCG GFL Internship Program, candidates are eligible for a scholarship & an offer to return as a Summer Associate following their junior year.

If you meet these criteria, you should consider applying for the BCG GFL Internship Program:

  • Sophomore (second year) student at a U.S. or Canadian university
  • Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Indigenous/Native American/Alaska Native
  • Outstanding academic achievement
  • Passionate problem solver and analytical thinker
  • Strong leadership skills and team player
  • Excellent communication skills

How to Apply to BCG GFL Internship Program

The BCG GFL Internship Program application process is similar to the general consulting internship application process.

When filling out the application, you will need the following:

  • Cover letter (although it is optional, we highly recommend you submit one to help you stand out from the other applicants)
  • College transcripts
  • ACT and/or SAT total scores with sub-score breakdowns (for candidates applying to a U.S. office)
  • Your top 3 U.S. or Canadian office preferences

Upon applying, you will receive a confirmation email with a link inviting you to play the BCG Pymetrics games. These games are neuroscience-based games to assess your cognitive and emotional skills. It also gives an insight into your potential to succeed at BCG. You will get 25 minutes to complete the games, and the invitation link expires 48 hours after you receive the email.

Refer to BCG’s Growing Future Leaders website for the latest program and application deadlines.

Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 89.6% of our clients pass the case interview.

6 Tips to Make the Most of the BCG Sophomore Internship Program

1. have a learning mindset.

Consulting internships are a great opportunity to learn and improve various skills like communication, problem-solving, business acumen, etc. Approach the internship with a curiosity to learn and grow.

2. Immerse Yourself in Case Work

At the core of consulting lies problem-solving for interesting case problems. Immerse yourself in the assigned casework. Aim to take ownership of the assigned tasks and provide valuable insights.

3. Seek Feedback and Apply It

Constructive feedback is invaluable for your professional growth and undeniably an integral part of any consulting opportunity. Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback from your peers, mentors, and project leaders. Use the feedback to identify areas for improvement and work on refining your skills throughout the internship.

4. Build Relationships

Networking is essential in any career, and consulting is no exception. Don’t limit your interactions to just your team. Try to connect with fellow interns, mentors, and project leaders during the internship through networking events and social gatherings. Take the initiative to network with employees from different teams and practice areas. Exposure to diverse projects and people will broaden your understanding of consulting and help you gain the maximum from the internship.

5. Participate in Firm Activities

Like most consulting firms, BCG organizes various events and initiatives to help full-time employees and interns connect with the company’s culture and values. Attend workshops, seminars, and social events organized by the firm. Active participation will demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to the BCG community.

6. Showcase Your Uniqueness

Consulting firms value diverse viewpoints, and your perspective could provide fresh insights and solutions. Improve your contributions to projects and discussions by emphasizing your unique background and perspectives.

By actively engaging in the BCG Growing Future Leaders Internship Program and applying these strategies, you will maximize your experience and position yourself for future success in BCG and the consulting industry. Remember that this opportunity is a stepping stone towards a promising career, and the skills and relationships you build during this internship can impact your journey as a future BCG leader.

Other BCG Sophomore Programs

Bridge to consulting workshop.

Bridge to Consulting Workshop is an exclusive opportunity for freshman/first-year and sophomore/second-year students from underrepresented minority groups, like Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Indigenous/Native American/Alaska Native, to explore and understand life as a BCG Associate.

During the workshop, the attendees get a chance to:

  • Learn about BCG and the collaborative work culture
  • Meet BCG leaders and consultants
  • Network and build connections with peers from across the country
  • Participate in interview prep to develop the interview toolkit

If you meet this criteria, you can apply for the workshop:

  • Current freshman/first-year or sophomore/second-year student at a U.S. or Canadian university, and identifies as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Indigenous/Native American/Alaska Native
  • Passionate and natural problem solvers
  • Strong leadership skills and teamwork

You can read more about the program and application deadlines on BCG’s Bridge to Consulting Workshop website.

BCG Advance Program

BCG Advance is an interactive, invite-only virtual conference that can open the doors for a potential BCG summer internship the following year.

This 1-week winter conference is for sophomore/second-year women currently enrolled at a college or university in the U.S. or Canada.

The BCG Advance Program application includes:

  • BCG Advance digital application (5 to 10 minutes)
  • Pymetrics games (30 minutes)
  • One-way video interview (45 to 60 minutes, to be completed within 72 hours of receiving the prompt)

For more information, check out BCG’s Advance Program website.

– – – – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • BCG Growing Future Leaders Internship Program and who is the right candidate for it
  • Applying to the BCG GFL Internship Program
  • How to make the most of the BCG GFL Internship Program
  • Various other BCG sophomore leadership programs

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the BCG Growing Future Leaders program, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s recruiters will answer them.

Want to know how to prepare for these internship applications? You can check out the other articles below:

  • Top Consulting Firms
  • BCG Pymetrics Test
  • BCG One-Way Video Interview
  • BCG Cover Letter
  • Answering ‘Why BCG’
  • BCG Internships

Help with Your Consulting Application

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on sophomore consulting programs. My Consulting Offer has helped 89.6% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too. For example, here is how J.A. was able to get his offer from BCG.


3 Things Consulting Firms Actually Look for in Your Application

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McKinsey, Bain, and BCG Application Deadlines for 2025 Summer and Full-Time Roles

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Application deadlines for McKinsey, Bain, and BCG begin as early as July 7. To stay updated on the application process, register for upcoming events, and apply, please visit the website of each respective firm.

Bain, BCG, and McKinsey application deadlines for 2025 internships and full-time roles:

*Bain will review applications after each deadline date.  You can apply to either deadline; be prepared to interview a few weeks later.

**BCG has designated the earlier date as the preferred application deadline.  Classes will fill as talent is identified. We recommend applying by the preferred deadline date if you will be prepared to interview a few weeks after this date.

For undergraduates (full-time):

  • Bain Associate Consultant deadlines: July 7 *  or September 8
  • BCG Associate deadline:   August 7
  • McKinsey BA application deadline: August 8  

For undergraduates (internships):

  • Bain Summer Associate deadlines: July 7 * or September 8
  • BCG Summer Associate deadlines: July 17 ** or September 4
  • McKinsey Summer BA application deadline: September 12

How can I learn more about consulting?

The Management Consulting and the Interview Process Guide includes an introduction to consulting, examples of cases, two common case interview methods, and tips for acing the case interview.

Forage  offers short, self-paced, virtual work experiences designed and delivered by leading companies, including consulting firms. Virtual work experiences let you take on the practical tasks of a consultant so that you can get a feel for what it’s like to work in consulting.

How can I prepare my application materials?

Visit the OCS website for resume resources and cover letter tips , which include Big Interview . With Big Interview, you can run your draft resume through an AI review and upload a specific job description to see how well your resume aligns with that role.

How can I prepare for case interviews?

OCS offers RocketBlocks , an interactive web application built by experts from McKinsey, BCG, and Bain.  RocketBlocks provides guidance on how to approach case problems, exercises to hone your case skills, and access to live partners to practice your skills.   Additional resources can be found here , including a case prep timeline.

How can I prepare for behavioral interviews?

Visit the OCS website for interviewing resources, including how to tell your interviewing story , and Big Interview, a platform enabling you to run interactive mock interviews and receive instant feedback.

Connect with the OCS for advice, review of your application materials, and encouragement. 

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Consulting Cover Letter: What You Actually Need to Know

The key to effective cover-letters is story-telling. Most people write cover letters like resumes, with cold, hard facts, and that’s the problem.

Cover letters are much more effective if they contain stories capturing the burning spirits of candidates. In this article, I’ll tell you how to install such stories seamlessly into your consulting cover letters, and land a case interview yourself.

Consulting cover letters – The basics

What are cover letters for.

Cover letters are documents accompanying resumes, to provide further insights into the qualities and motivations of a candidate, as well as portray who he/she is as a person .

In consulting cover letters, there are three essential qualities you must always display:

  • Leadership skills:  the ability to influence people’s decisions.
  • Achieving mindset : the continuous, relentless push for the best results.
  • Analytical problem-solving:  the ability to solve problems in a structured, methodical manner.

Regarding motivations, there are two questions you need to answer:

  • “Why consulting?”:  Do you really understand the consulting world, and how it fits with your long-term plans? Is there something unique in the consulting track to explain your choice?
  • “Why this firm?”:  Out of all the consulting firms, why ours? There should be something uniquely attractive about this firm to you, isn’t there?

And last but not least, don’t forget to show that you have an interesting personality that fits with the firm’s culture.

Cover letters vs Resumes – What’s the difference?

Because so many candidates confuse between the two, then end up writing boring cover letters resembling “paragraph versions” of their resumes, I feed the need to differentiate.

There are four marked differences:

Cover letters go deep, resumes go wide

In cover letters, you should select one or a few most notable achievements, and describe them in detail to reflect your three defining aspects (values, competencies, motivations).

This stands in contrast with resumes, where you cram as many relevant achievements as possible into the space of one or two A4 pages.

Cover letters are “soft” stories, resumes are “hard” bullet lists

The content format of cover letters is much less defined, leaving room for a lot of creativity, unlike resumes which are almost always bullet lists of cold, hard facts.

Your goal as the candidate is to fully utilize that loosely-defined format and make your cover letter as attractive and memorable as possible.

Cover letters describe personality, resumes do not

A crucial role of the cover letter is to portray who you are as a person. Resumes don’t do that, they focus on your achievements.

Your personality does not only come directly through the contents, but also reflected in the style of the letter – so take time to make your cover letter more attractive, and you’ll make a better impression with the screener.

Cover letters touch on future plans, resume concerns mostly the past

In cover letters, you have to answer the motivation questions (why consulting, why this firm). In resumes, that aspect is barely mentioned.

The most credible answers to those questions connect the job with your future plans – as such, the cover letter is not confined to the past like resumes.

Understanding your audience

The vibe inside the screening room.

Busy, tiring, and boring – that’s the vibe inside the screening room.”

Picture this in your mind:

A junior consultant is in the office on a Friday night, going through hundreds of applications. He has to do this as a form of goodwill for the company, on top of his ongoing project.

Everyone’s application looks the same, following one set format; a somewhat extraordinary resume catches his attention, so he checks the cover letter to see if there’s anything interesting, only to be disappointed because the letter is an exact recital of the resume.

If you want to grab the screener’s attention and make memorable impressions, you have to break that negative vibe, using an unordinary cover letter.

Most cover letters are just listings of achievement and cliched motivation statements – they feel like unoriginal walls-of-text that offer nothing new – and that’s the exact reason why many screeners don’t like cover letters. Write an exciting story instead – the screener will love it.

Why they read your cover letter

There are two main reasons why the screener reads your consulting cover letter:

  • He wants to know more about your motivations and personality because your resume is both impressive and interesting/unordinary at the same time.
  • He wants to clarify some ambiguous points in your resume – this happens if you appear highly competent, but your writing is not clear enough.

In both cases, there’s no excuse to repeat your resume in a paragraph format and disappoint the screener. You have all the reasons in the world to present an attractive, detailed, focused narrative – tell a story and get your interview.

Both the background and the purpose of cover-letter-screening suggest that an innovative story-telling approach is much more beneficial than the common, formulaic, overly-formal cover letters.

Such an approach will definitely make your cover letter stand out from the heap of some 200 other applications. It helps you grab the screener’s attention, and impress him in a memorable way.

Additionally, it makes reading the cover letter easier and more enjoyable. The screener is already tired, so there’s no point in making his life harder.

Whatever the reason, as the cover letter is opened AFTER the resume, the implication is that you need to perfect your consulting resume first!

If you haven’t read it, here’s an A-to-Z guide to writing the perfect consulting resume , from a former McKinsey consultant and resume screener!

Consulting cover letter – Step-by-step guide

All these elements must be presented in a coherent storyline and concise language.

Keep in mind this is a consulting cover letter – as such, your story should be backed up by impactful, specific, verifiable results.

To write impressive, fact-based stories that demonstrate all three necessary aspects of the candidate, I advise you to follow these four steps:

Step 1 – Self-reflect for storylines

Search your memory for events, experiences, ideas… that can serve as a basic storyline – the backbone of your cover letter. For each storyline, consider the following six criteria :

  • Uniqueness: The base story should be something unique to you. If it’s something common or universal, you won’t have the screener’s attention.
  • Attractiveness: Your story should be attractive and entertaining – only then can you trigger the screener’s curiosity. Usually, it’s something “big” and impactful, but not controversial
  • Positiveness: The story should have a positive “vibe” to it. If it’s something sad or negative, don’t include it in your cover letter.
  • Qualities: All three consulting qualities (leadership, achieving, analytical problem-solving) should be illustrated in your story. Otherwise, consider that story irrelevant.
  • Motivations: Your story should at least help explain why you’re applying, if not providing direct answers to that question. Firms don’t like to hire candidates without clear motivations.
  • Personality: Make sure you exhibit a likable personality. On the other hand, if that story suggests negative traits (pessimism, short temper, cynicism, etc.) you have to modify it.

Let’s see if these storylines of my own could match the requirements:

“I escaped from a near-death experience during a paragliding session using my gliding skills.”

This is not something you hear every day, and near-death stories are often quite attractive, so you have those two boxes checked; and for now, there’s no sign of “bad” personality traits.

However, it’s a near-death experience, so it does have a negative vibe. Additionally, it shows neither consulting qualities nor relevant motivations.

=> This story only meets 3 out of 6 criteria. Out!

“I founded an entertainment business which attracted lots of attention, but ultimately failed.”

Not everyone is a startup entrepreneur, so this story does meet the “uniqueness” criterion. It’s relatively easy to draw attention with startup stories, and it’s easy to explain a consulting career choice from a former entrepreneur perspective, too. No negative personality trait is visible.

While being a business owner suggests some leadership and problem-solving experience, as well as an achieving mindset, a failure story like this might raise some questions on the “qualities” aspect; it also creates a negative vibe.

=> Overall, 4.5 to 5 out of 6. Not really the best storyline for a consulting cover letter, but usable with some modifications.

“I broke McKinsey’s code of conduct, convinced a client to pay their long-overdue service fees, and was celebrated for it.”

Is there anyone who doesn’t like those “breaking rules” stories? I’m quite confident this experience is quite unique and attractive. Because this is actual consulting work, it’s undoubtedly easy to point out all the important consulting qualities, as well as to provide a basis for my motivations.

However, this “breaking the rules” story may suggest rebellious tendencies, so if I’m going to use it I’ll again need some modifications.

=> This story scores 5.5 / 6. Quite good but I do need to be careful with it.

bcg cover letter internship

Step 2 - Add and classify details

Rack your memory and jot down everything related to your storyline; don’t worry about having too many details, you will be trimming the story later.

Pay special attention to the details best illustrating relevant qualities , motivations , and personality , because you will need to emphasize them.

Step 3 – Structure and enhance

Arrange the details of your story in a logical, intuitive structure; the most common method is:

1. Describe a notable, relevant experience using the problem-action-result structure to impress the interviewer with your qualities first.

2. Try to link it up with the present/future parts of your story (ideas, philosophies, plans) to explain your motivations.

Trim all non-essential and technical details, they do nothing but confuse the reader and bore them to death. Your story should be told in a way even your grandmother can understand.

Then, arrange and enhance the remaining details so that the story feels more dramatic, i.e the uniqueness and difficulty of the problem should be emphasized.

On a related note, consultants dislike lengthy cover letters – in fact, one A4 page is the maximum length – so there’s one more reason to start trimming.

Step 4 – Amplify consulting features

First, make all three key consulting traits stand out from your story – leadership, achieving mindset, and analytical problem-solving.

Then, make subtle references to consulting work using the industry’s terminology and concepts. Most screeners, being consultants themselves, will subconsciously appreciate this. However, avoid buzzwords and slangs found on the Internet, or you’ll appear superficial and unprofessional.

Consulting cover letter – Tips

To write the best cover letter, you must thoroughly understand the industry, its major firms, and even the very office you’re applying into.

To achieve such an understanding, there is quite a bit of research to do – and here are three tips for you to ease that process!

Tip 1: Networking

Successful networking goes a long way in the consulting recruitment process and in cover letters.

Firstly, management consulting firms are relatively publicity-shy, so having a connection within these firms allow you to gain very specific and authentic insights about the firm, the job, as well as the consulting world in general, helping you make better choices and deliver more convincing reasons.

Secondly, you may earn a referral ! The screening stage is harsh – it’s where most candidates are filtered out, both in absolute and proportional terms – and referrals help a great deal with that.

Remember to show your networking efforts by mentioning the names of consultants at the office you’re applying into, as well as their projects. The screener will know you really do care about the job, and you’ve done your homework.

Tip 2: Read consulting news

The websites of major consulting firms all have countless articles on current affairs as well as their own projects – read them frequently and regularly .

For one thing, those articles will deepen your understanding of management consultants and their work, helping you make better choices and explain them more effectively to the screener.

Additionally, reading consulting articles regularly will help you know more about the specific projects of each firm, which you can bring up in cover letters.

Tip 3: Build “cheat sheets”

A few ready-to-use “cheat sheets” containing all the important details on the consulting industry and major firms will significantly ease the writing process.

I recommend making three different groups of sheets – one for the consulting world in general, one for the firms, and the last one about the specific offices you’re applying into.

Be implicit and “smooth” when using these sheets. Make sure to sound as natural and seamless as possible when mentioning your references; avoid putting them at the focus of your sentences, but to use them as supplements to the main idea (e.g: I was awed by the network of experts supporting our project with McKinsey back in 2016).

Consulting cover letter – Visual format

Consulting cover letters are not the place for creative, colorful designs. Format your letters in a conservative, text-dense, black-and-white fashion – that’s how actual consultants do it.

One A4 page is the maximum length for consulting cover letters.

Inside the busy screening room, nobody has the time and energy to read a two-page worth of story, no matter how attractive it is.

If your cover letter exceeds that maximum length, trim away the less important details and shorten your expressions; you can also tweak your font size, spacing, and margins to squeeze the most content into one page.

Use formal, conservative fonts, such as Times New Roman, Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, etc.

Keep your font size at 10-12. Larger text tends to feel somewhat “messy”, and they’re space-consuming. Smaller text, on the other hand, feels difficult and tiring to read.

Additionally, the typeface in your cover letter should match that on the resume.

Spacing, margins, and alignment

Use spacings of 1.15 between lines and 1.50-2.00 between paragraphs. Consulting cover letters are quite text-dense, so it’s important to use these white spaces to ease the visual strain.

Always align your text on the left side. Left-aligning is the standard in the United States, where most major consulting firms are based; additionally, left-aligning keeps the horizontal spacing between words even, unlike justified where that spacing varies considerably between each line.

All four margins should be equal at 1 inch. That should keep your letter neat and tidy while maximizing the amount of text on one page.

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Other reminders

If you know who’s screening, address them by name. Otherwise, generic salutations are fine.

I’ve come across pages claiming it’s no longer acceptable to write generic salutations (“ To whom it may concern ”); however, in consulting firms where the screening process is assigned to junior consultants on an availability basis, you don’t always know who’s reading your letter, so such salutations are okay.

On the other hand, if you happen to be applying into a small, new office, and your networking efforts are successful, you may know your screener. In that case, refer them by name for a greater impact.

Replacement test

If you can replace the industry and the firm in your letter with something similar and it still makes sense, your tailoring is not enough.

Your motivations should be based on unique and defining descriptions – for example, McKinsey having the largest support network for consultants, or Bain being the frattiest among MBB consulting firms.

Non-unique reasons, such as “prestigious brand name” or “interesting projects” can apply to basically every major consulting firm out there, so they’re not strong bases for your choices.

Maintain formality

Use formal language throughout, and keep standard your heading and salutation.

Show your uniqueness and creativity only through the main content sections. Other “procedural” parts of the cover letter should always remain formulaic – see the sample section.

The language in the main paragraph should also remain formal, i.e no slang, no contraction, no overuse of exclamations.

Avoid short-term motivations

Don’t say you’re in for a 2-year learning experience, or your application will be heading for the bin very, very quickly.

It’s costly to turn fresh graduates into effective consultants, so firms don’t want candidates who will bail out just after they’ve become useful. They want people who will stay in the firm for as long as they can – they want future partners.

You might include long-term plans concerning other industries, but don’t give the impression that you’re bailing out in a few years. If that’s your plan, don’t even mention it.

Proofread and edit

Writing cover letters should be a long process of continuous proofreading, feedback, and editing.

It’s best to find a former/working consultant or at least someone who’s knowledgeable about the industry to help you out. Consulting cover letters differ from normal ones quite considerably, so generic guidelines won’t be of much use.

It’s also very helpful to allow intervals of at least a few days between writing and proofreading sessions; you will find it easier to spot errors if you proofread with a “fresh” mind.

Try to avoid format, spelling, and grammar mistakes at all costs. In consulting cover letters, such mistakes are much less tolerated.

Cover letter file format

Always send your cover letters in the PDF format (most screeners expect you to do so).

This file format will make sure your cover letter appears the same on every computer, and it minimizes the damage that may occur in the file transfer process (by contrast, DOC files are vulnerable to numerous errors).

Depending on the computer, PDFs may look cleaner than DOCs – one possible bonus point for appearance.

Still not sure whether your cover letter is good enough? Book a meeting with former consultants. Our coaches will show you how to make your resume stand out among thousands of candidates. 

Cover letter example

Now that you’ve learned the secrets to the best story-telling cover letter, let’s have a little exercise and help the First President write one to McKinsey, shall we?

(The content in this sample letter is largely fictional for illustration purposes)

George Washington [email protected] Mount Vernon Plantation, Fairfax County, Virginia, U.S.A July 4, 1789

To whom it may concern,

My purpose in life is to liberate the American people and lead them to prosperity. The revolution of the Thirteen Colonies was up against the largest military force in the world – the British Empire – at a four-to-one disadvantage – few if any country had come up against such odds victoriously. And that was the situation I was in, as the leader of the revolution.

Under my lead, the revolutionaries mobilized internal support from 2.4 million soon-to-be American citizens and external support from allies in France. This support allowed us to remain operational even after severe defeats, which would otherwise put an end to the revolution. After six years, the Colonies came out victorious and was recognized as the new United States of America. War is over, so my new task is to steer the newfound States towards economic prosperity – and consulting experience at McKinsey will help a great deal with that.

I happen to also run a plantation business – Mount Vernon by name – which was McKinsey’s client during our expansion project in 1785. I was extremely impressed by the highly structured and data-based approach that McKinsey consultants took to deliver their solutions, and even more impressed by the incredible network of experts that was backing our project.

Through Ms. E.M – the Engagement Manager for our project from McKinsey’s DC Office – I came to be aware of the firm’s expertise in the public sector – which was recognized as being the overall best among major consulting firms.

And for that reason, I realized a consultant position at McKinsey DC will give me invaluable exposure in the public sector, both from its projects and its vicinity to the country’s capital.

I will be looking forward to speaking with you in person, about how I can put my experience as a former head-of-state and an entrepreneur to work at McKinsey.

Sincerely yours, George Washington

Scoring in the McKinsey PSG/Digital Assessment

The scoring mechanism in the McKinsey Digital Assessment

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Consulting Resume Toolkit

Get the fundamental of crafting a "consulting-like" resume with the most powerful secret toolkit.

You can refer on guides, tips, examples & templates in this article to build a excellent resume rely on the necessary criteria of a Management Consulting Firms

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Great consulting resumes have 4 main sections: Education, Work Experience, Extracurricular Activities, & Others. All should be result-oriented and data-driven

Sample cover letter for Internship position at BCG

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am a first year Statistics with Finance student at London School of Economics, and am writing to express my interest in applying for the 2016 Insight Programme in London.

Participation in Spring Program will be opportunity to challenge myself and learn from the experts in the field. With a large client base which includes corporations, investors and governments, BCG is a leader in providing the most sophisticated solutions to their clients. Through researching BCG, I am intrigued and impressed by the creative approach that BCG has in attempt to deliver a solution. Therefore, I believe not only will a career in consulting will provide me with an environment where I will be able to achieve my highest potential, but through applying to BCG will have a bonus because of the global presence, reputation and commitment.

I believe my background has provided a solid mixture of skill set in order to be successful in overcoming the challenges of a consulting career. My degree in statistics and finance provides a focus on skills as a mathematician, which requires me to be a quick, methodical thinker and solution-oriented person. This is crucial because being able to manipulate and understand numbers and statistics efficiently is a key part of a consultant role. In addition, through volunteering I develop a better understanding in communication with people through to be a better listener and also be creative in presentation. The creativity and perseverance of being a musician would also be beneficial to my performance in this role as I can perform well in a pressurized environment. 


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