Networking with a partner is counter-intuitive. It is much easier to network with a McKinsey / BCG partner for at least four reasons. First, partners always return emails. Second, partners are generally willing to take a call just to explore your profile. Third, partners are less hung up on things like degrees etc. since they look deeper at a profile. Fourth, partners are accessible with easy to find details. That said, the trick to networking with partners is to treat them as a peer. As soon as you place them on a pedestal, you will kill your networking chances.

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19 responses to How to Network with a Senior Partner

  1. Hi Michael,
    as usual your podcasts and advice are a real mine and I do believe ideas and thoughts worth more than gold.

    Back to the networking subject and the specific topic regarding being “likable”, I recently came across a nice video (coaching video on YouTube) where the networking was addressed in such a way that reminded me about your advice, the coach was actually saying that no matter skills or experience someone might have, in networking things work in the following order: 1. personality, 2. aptitude and 3. experience which for me sounds very similar to your approach, personality or let’s call it interpersonal skills are very important in networking, while some people are gifted to have it as a second nature, others would have to work on it; but definitely interpersonal skills help to rich the so-called “Likable” point.

    Best Regards,


  2. Hello Andrew,

    Thanks for your note. This is covered in several other podcasts on our iTunes channel and website.


  3. Hi michael,
    i’m a university junior and thinking about applying to BCG particularly. You mentioned in one of the podcasts, this idea of reading articles written by a partner you wish to network and using that in the conversation.
    Could you please provide a brief example of how to do that, especially given the big intellectual gap between a graduate and someone who’s a partner. How do we use “articles” as a networking artifact in a genuine and respectful way? Thankyou for podcasts:)

  4. Hello Udit,

    Kudos for your perseverance. Yet, this is hard. Yes, partners can help but getting them to help takes a lot of effort. And because I cannot see your profile, when you are writing to them, how you are writing to them etc., it is tough to know where the problem is occurring.

    My advice is to work in small batches and see what works and does not work and keep things that are working.

    This will not be easy but it is the best path provided your LinkedIn profile is set-up correctly.


  5. Hi Michael,

    Firstly i would like to thank you for sharing such insightful audio recordings, that too free for all to access. Although i am yet to subscribe to any of the consulting products in this portal, I have been following your advise (through such articles & audios) for networking for sometime now. However, in practice, after connecting with partners in LinkedIn when i request them for a talk they would simply respond by saying ‘please send your resume to the recruiter’ or ‘kindly send your application online’. So what would you suggest i should do in such case ?
    To keep you informed my starting message to such partners after connecting is – ‘Dear XXXX, Thank you for accepting my LinkedIn request. I am very interested in applying to AT Kearney office in Singapore and I would really like to know if you had sometime to talk to me about the culture, the work and any advise you had for me. I can call you at an agreeable time for a brief chat. Thank you ! Warmly, Udit’. Do let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks in advance,
    Udit (Experienced candidate with 5 yrs of exp. in a Research Consulting firm in SG)

  6. Hi Veikko,

    The firm website will usually contain deep bios of most partners.

    The other option is to just talk about the office and its culture, requiring you to have far less knowledge before the call.

    Hope that helps.


  7. Hi Michael,

    You mentioned in the podcast to be well prepared before meeting a partner: “Focus on specific work they have done, give your interpretation, implications etc.” I get that…However, I’m not fully sure where to get that background info. When I read partners introductions on McKinsey’s website or LinkedIn they are usually quite vague: “X has led several restructuring and transformation programs within technology companies” . Some partners have publications and it surely helps. Though it also limits the number of partners quite a bit.

    I wanted to check if I’m missing some source of data where I could find more details about partners? Is there a way to get their resumes?

    Thanks a lot!

    Kinds regards,

  8. Hello Menacel,

    Given the higher price of gold, I will take that as a compliment.

    Yes, we will do much more on networking, communication etc., as a practicing consultant.


  9. Hi Michael,

    I think your networking podcasts are a true gold mine. Is your team considering developing similar podcasts for those that have landed a consulting role? For example, networking with senior partners to work with on projects or business development (particularly those who want to switch industries such as from Oil and Gas to Retail).

  10. Aamir,

    One other thing. I see you went to a pretty good school. So my guess is if he does show disinterest it may be sincere as a result of the fact that he actually does not influence recruiting and is not involved in the ME region.


  11. Hi Aamir,

    Glad you find our networking advice useful.

    I actually think this partner is being quite helpful. He assumes you wanted to join ME and is willing to connect you with people. Applicants tend to assume a partner in one region and can influence recruitment in another region. That is not the case so that is the reason he is willing to introduce you.

    If you want to interview in the ME, take him up on it, if not, explain you are actually interested in his office. If he still brushes you off then he is probably not interested.


  12. Hello Michael,
    We hope you’re doing well. I wonder if you have suggestions on how to handle the situation in which a partner you just connected with has suggested to contact a recruiter. Here is how this happened:

    1) I locate a McKinsey partner on LinkedIn who seems to have somethings in common with me.
    2) It is his 10th work anniversary with the firm, so I send him a congratulations message and ask if it would be possible to get to know about his transition into consulting when he’s free.
    3) He asks me to send me his resume if I’m interested in McKinsey.
    4) I send him my resume, thanking him for the initial gesture and stating that I’d appreciate his feedback and aim to make a transition by mid-2015.
    5) The partner says that he’s looked at my resume and recommends that i get in touch with recruiters in a particular office.

    Here is the exact (redacted) message from the partner:
    Thanks Aamir. The best place to start if you want to chat with McKinsey folks is through recruiters – which office are you interested in? Looking at the resume, I feel that middle-east obviously would be a good. I can connect you to the right folks there if you’re interested. Let me know.

    I wonder what do you suggest as an appropriate next step in this situation. From your experience in guiding people, would you consider such a behavior to be a sign of disinterest in the candidate?

    Thanks again for your time Michael!

  13. Kieran,

    Definitely network with the foreign office partner. The local partner cannot help you much, if at all.


  14. Michael,
    What would you advise for candidates applying exclusively to foreign offices? Would you recommend face-to-face networking with local partners?

  15. Dhaivat – same approach applies.

  16. Hi Michael –

    In a separate networking podcast, you had mentioned an approach to connecting with individuals for networking by sending a LinkedIn invitation and then writing a personalized message once the invitation was accepted. Does this approach apply when trying to make intial contact with a Senior Partners or should we follow a different route.

    Thank you in advance.


  17. Hi Leo,

    All the podcasts work fine. The problem may be the browser you are using. We generally do not maintain the site for IE. Just Chrome, Safari and Mozilla.


  18. Correction, I mean inaccessible. Typo in my last comment.

  19. Hi Michael,

    Some of the podcast is accessible, such as this one. Is it because the file is broken or something else?

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