AMA: I worked at both McKinsey & BCG

About

Hey there,

If you trace back my posts on this forum you'll discover that 13 years ago I was trying to hack my way into consulting from a public school. Now I've stepped away from a 9 year career in consulting and have been working on my own for the last two years. I've also been teaching people the consulting skills through my company StrategyU - don't worry nothing to sell you here. I genuinely get a kick out of helping people and also thought a bunch of you might get a kick out of this BCG vs. McKinsey video I put together.

Video: https://youtu.be/eHdAJROE1FU

I tried to go beyond the traditional insights people offer or questions applicants talk about.

I'd be happy to answer more questions about freelance consulting, being self-employed, working in consulting, consulting problem solving or whatever!

WSO Podcast

Comments (26)

Feb 26, 2020

Thanks for doing this. A few questions.

  1. What were some of the most interesting projects you worked on? If you can't reveal the client names, the industry and type of problems you were asked to solve, would be helpful.
  2. Given that many MBB consultants exit to corp dev/strategy roles, was that something you ever considered?
Feb 27, 2020
FCFE:

Thanks for doing this. A few questions.

  1. What were some of the most interesting projects you worked on? If you can't reveal the client names, the industry and type of problems you were asked to solve, would be helpful.
  2. Given that many MBB consultants exit to corp dev/strategy roles, was that something you ever considered?

1 A CEO succession project where we helped assess candidates and then help the board develop a 5 year roadmap. Then seeing them implement it was pretty cool - especially because the future CEO was this amazing woman who definitely deserved it.

I found many of the big consulting projects not all that interesting. A lot of the projects were top down organizational change type things which evolve into PMO and initiative tracking projects.

2 I considered it towards the end of my consulting journey, but never found something I was really all that excited by. To be honest these gigs attract the super driven consulting types and they just end up re-creating consulting firms within these big orgs. Many people want to use them as fast tracks to c-level gigs, but that never really drove me.

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Feb 26, 2020

Hi there, thanks for doing this. I've met a few McK alumni and was not very impressed in terms of their personality, but the BCG people I've met are smart and friendly in general, so my question will be specifically to BCG and MC in general.

  1. What are the target MBA programs for BCG? I'm working in finance now although my title shows consulting. I believe it's not very common for a finance person to lateral in MBB without prior MC experience, so the best bet would be through an MBA.
  2. I see a lot of people talking about McKinsey or Bain, but BCG doesn't seem to get as much hype. What is the real culture inside BCG/your office?
  3. What does promotion work and how many people go from consultant to EM, and from manager to higher? roughly.
  4. What are some of the strongest groups inside BCG?
  5. Any type of people BCG likes?
  6. How is the pay there
  7. Do those two consulting firms work with headhunters to hire junior level people, if at all?

Thanks a lot.

Feb 27, 2020

I've met plenty of great people at both firms. BCG leans nerdy and McKinsey leans alpha. The average person at both firms is nice, curious and wants to be "successful"

  1. I'd google that. Not sure.
  2. Depends on the region. BCG is more well known in some places in europe and asia. McKinsey definitely more well known in US. BCG office culture varies more office to office than mckinsey - more local energy.
  3. I'm not sure. I think attrition tends to be 20-30% a year
  4. Depends on region.
  5. Humility and analytical
  6. Check glassdoor
  7. I got hired at BCG via a headhunter for a knowledge expert role - this is non-consulting - so yes sometimes they use headhunters especially for knowledge and non-consulting roles
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Funniest
Feb 26, 2020

Where do you think it went wrong in your IB job hunt?

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Feb 27, 2020
Mr Perfect Hairline:

Where do you think it went wrong in your IB job hunt?

I didn't go to the "right" schools / hadn't been networking and practicing interviewing enough compared to others.

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Most Helpful
Feb 27, 2020

Didn't know the Knowledge Group was considered consulting? thats like the middle / back office at a consulting shop isnt it

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Feb 27, 2020
Jamie_Diamond:

Didn't know the Knowledge Group was considered consulting? thats like the middle / back office at a consulting shop isnt it

Consultants don't really get as caught up with "back office" as much as finance types seem to be worried about it. "Knowledge" roles can vary a lot from fully staffed to fully internal / transactional. Really depends on the practice and role.

When I was at BCG I worked directly with the senior partner at the head of the practice, kind of like a chief of staff type role. I helped shape a lot of the frameworks, thinking, ideas etc... and coordinated with consulting teams. I also worked with consulting teams on occasion as flex staffing. Probably unique given I had been in consulting for several years at this point. Junior people are more responsive, doing one-off research, whereas senior people tend to be more hands-on especially if they have topic expertise

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  • Works at Bain & Company
Feb 27, 2020

Knowledge group is back office bro

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Feb 27, 2020

Thanks for your response. Does that translate into salary?

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

Mar 7, 2020
Jamie_Diamond:

Didn't know the Knowledge Group was considered consulting? thats like the middle / back office at a consulting shop isnt it

@consultantguy12

My man, I am not sure you process the gravity of the charges that were levied against you. He just inferred that you were Back Office. He emasculated you publicly. Not only is the size of your penis in question, it is now uncertain if you have anything between your legs at all. You cannot simply take that on the forehead and let it run down your face.

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Feb 27, 2020

Edit: ^ Already pointed out by Jamie_Diamond

Feb 27, 2020

The work I did at both firms was very much the same as a consultant might do, I just got to work less and travel less. I was deployed on consulting projects at both firms and then also was a full-time consultant at other firms including working directly with CEOs and Boards.

I don't really do a lot of freelance consulting now, but when I do people hire me for my specific skills and capabilities. I am very up front with my experience, but I can charge what people will pay. They aren't hiring a resume - that's how people hire for full-time. When you are self-employed, you have your own reputation on the line every time you do work, so if someone isn't satisfied I would return all the money. Luckily they've been pleased.

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Feb 28, 2020

I know why I got shit but would like one of the unwashed interns/college students/young consultants to explain the problem with OP and his comments. As the Bain guy above might tell me, maybe this was in a Victor Cheng framework but it's escaping me.

It's pretty simple, if you don't find the AMA helpful, scroll elsewhere. I don't get why you
Want the site to suck by discouraging people with actual inputs that some people might appreciate. This shit makes good users stop bothering.

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Feb 28, 2020

What is a Mckinsey and Bcg?

Feb 28, 2020
Associate 2 in CorpDev:

What is a Mckinsey and Bcg?

Cereal brand found at Walmart.

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Mar 3, 2020

I have a number of years of PE experience - but it's been spread across fundraising and post-investment-mgmt not only investing. If I was to try to get a role in consulting in a knowledge branch like yourself would my background be appealing to the firm? And what would be the process of getting recruited to such a role?

Mar 5, 2020

Of course. Good knowledge leads are super hard to find. Bring your industry expertise (which can be M&A as a function) and I'm sure all of the MBBs would love to have you

Mar 3, 2020
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