BCG offer, take it or ask interview at McKinsey

Hey guys,

I just got an offer at BCG and was wondering if I should just take it or ask an interview at McKinsey.
BCG was my first interview, so I got a 100% score out of it, but as everybody always says McKinsey has more prestige I was wondering if it is smarter to try McKinsey or just go with the BCG offer. Is McKinsey really better? What do you guys think?

Comments (22)

Jun 1, 2014

I'm ex-McK but have worked with many ex-BCG'ers. BCG has a different culture - get the sense they see themselves as a bit more cerebral and intellectual than McK. Probably set by having triggered the strategy revolution that McK responded to. But, I don't think exit opportunities are worse, and the consulting experience is comparable. There are numerically fewer alums in the BCG network, but I understand BCG has duplicated many of the alum networking approaches of McK, and it is not the size of the network itself that is the main source of post-MBB career acceleration. So unless you were to get an offer at a more favorable office from either a geographic or industry-focus perspective, I wouldn't expect a material advantage from holding out. If choice is between two offices in your preferred city X, then main drivers would probably be depth of industry coverage in areas you want to move into plus personal fit with those you meet in interviews.

Jun 1, 2014

What do you mean, "I got a 100% score out of it"?

Jun 1, 2014

@"NoName": I meant 1st try, 1st offer.
@"KenB": Thanks a lot! That makes it a lot clearer. Its both in the same city, hence that shouldn't make a difference then. Do you know happen to know which firm is stronger in the oil & gas and renewables industry?

Jun 1, 2014
Suitup1111:

@NoName: I meant 1st try, 1st offer.

@KenB: Thanks a lot! That makes it a lot clearer. Its both in the same city, hence that shouldn't make a difference then. Do you know happen to know which firm is stronger in the oil & gas and renewables industry?

mck for o&g.

if this is your interest, i'd consider trying for McK. That said, can't go wrong with either firm.

Jun 1, 2014

Agreed. McK's Houston office is definitely the strongest and most established of the bunch.

Learn More

2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. 11 Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate, 10+ hours of video. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you’ll ever need to ace your consulting case interviews. Learn more.

Jun 1, 2014

For oil & gas, it depends on which office your offer is for. For example, if you have an offer in the Seattle office for either firm, it doesn't really matter which firm has a better oil & gas practice (McKinsey and BCG are very comparable) -- you're not going to see a lot of oil & gas action if you're based in Seattle.

Jun 1, 2014

Also, McKinsey may be the most established with oil & gas companies around the world (I'm not entirely convinced of this though), but BCG is the most established with US oil & gas companies, in addition to international companies.

Jun 1, 2014

Generally projects are staffed at office-level, then opened up more widely to firm-wide staffing if vacancies persist. Once you build a network, you can start to staff yourself more, even across offices.

In the US, office means a region - so Houston and Dallas would be part of the Southern office. Expect easiest to get staffed on energy out of there, but still possible at locations in other offices. Key is to just have at least one partner active in that industry practice in your office to make the inroads. That said, you can always email a partner in another office and ask him to keep you in mind for staffing. For advancement, though, you want to be working regularly with the partners in your own office.

Aug 13, 2014

If you can interview at McKinsey without jeopardizing your BCG offer you might as well.

No question there are more opportunities and prestige at McKinsey vs BCG, although BCG is also an outstanding firm.

But very few people who get offers to both choose BCG (something like 90% take McK when I worked there). That should tell you what you need to know about which firm is more desirable.

    • 3
Aug 14, 2014
McKCaseInterview:

If you can interview at McKinsey without jeopardizing your BCG offer you might as well.

No question there are more opportunities and prestige at McKinsey vs BCG, although BCG is also an outstanding firm.

But very few people who get offers to both choose BCG (something like 90% take McK when I worked there). That should tell you what you need to know about which firm is more desirable.

I'm very skeptical of this 90% figure. Cross-offers aren't super-common, so we're dealing with rather limited sample sizes here, but I personally know multiple people who have chosen BCG over McKinsey as well as vice versa. It's not at all clearcut that McKinsey is better than BCG. At the end of the day, McKinsey is a much larger firm and scale allows them some advantages that BCG and Bain don't have, but in the end, all three firms do pretty similar work and headhunters view consultants from all 3 with rather equal prestige. Cultural fit should easily be the number one deciding factor when evaluating offers from both firms.

Aug 14, 2014

Agreed. Prestige is one thing but it's not everything. You should really feel like you fit in that particular office, or you're going to have a bad time.

Aug 14, 2014
McKCaseInterview:

But very few people who get offers to both choose BCG (something like 90% take McK when I worked there). That should tell you what you need to know about which firm is more desirable.

Hmmm, at my school, BCG has won the cross-offer battle 2 years in a row. Over the last 5-7 years, it's pretty close to 50-50. In fact, because of the stark cultural differences between BCG and McK, BCG loses more cross offers to Bain (% basis) than to McK.

Aug 15, 2014

It can both be true that you know people who chose BCG over McK and that McK has the 90% win rate.

Ask a BCG / Bain recruiter if they have a different #

Aug 19, 2014
McKCaseInterview:

If you can interview at McKinsey without jeopardizing your BCG offer you might as well.

No question there are more opportunities and prestige at McKinsey vs BCG, although BCG is also an outstanding firm.

But very few people who get offers to both choose BCG (something like 90% take McK when I worked there). That should tell you what you need to know about which firm is more desirable.

That is blatantly false--McK does not win 90% of cross offers at any level. (Maybe 20 years ago?) Each firm (McK, Bain, BCG) has strongholds in certain regions, at certain schools, and at different levels.

And the exit opportunities don't differ considerably between the three firms. Any headhunters who reaches out to employees/alums of one will reach out to employees/alums of the other two.

Aug 14, 2014

hopefully it's not too late, but you should really reject both and hold out for Deloitte

    • 1
Aug 19, 2014

Speaking of Texas, at my Preview Weekend for one of the firms (BCG or Bain), we went to an NBA game and by chance our box was literally right next to the McKinsey Preview Weekend box. As in, we could see them right across the railing. We were all partying it up while they were taking it very seriously and honestly looked pretty bored. It was comical how serious they all looked during an NBA game. Needless to say, we won all the cross offers that weekend.

Aug 19, 2014
Comment