Change in Bain titles

A friend of mine showed me an e-mail about title changes at Bain. Apparently, the following changes will apply to the generalist consulting pool:

  • Case Team Leader becomes Manager

  • Manager becomes Senior Manager

  • Principal becomes Associate Partner

This seems to be done to align with the rest of the industry. Other changes seem to apply to experts, support, etc.

Can anybody confirm this is global? Any additional view on non-generalists?

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Comments (30)

  • Works at Bain & Company
Jun 30, 2020 - 8:31am

It's global - the email was sent to all offices. Specialist consultants (i.e. experienced hires recruited specifically for their expertise in X) will have the opportunity to become an 'Expert Partner.' We'll also start referring to our support teams as 'business functions' where leaders can be VPs and EVPs. One thing to note, the email stressed this is a change in title only. No change in responsibility or pay or progression timeline whatsoever.

Jun 30, 2020 - 1:29pm

Thanks for the input! Guess the fresh "Manager" promotes will look slightly better until the outsiders catch up

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Jul 14, 2020 - 1:24pm

Wait a minute... so case team leaders, which are effectively just senior Consultants at Bain, now are called managers? That's wildly misleading if you ask me..

Will Consultants be called case team leaders now then?

Jul 14, 2020 - 2:42pm

While I completely agree with you, Mckinsey has been doing the same for years (Engagement manager) and nobody blinked an eye. These new Bain managers at least have 5 years of experience under their belt (2 years AC, 1 years SAC, 2 years C, M) while I have seem some 23 year old EMs at Mckinsey (2 years BA, EM). It is pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

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  • Intern in PropTrad
Jul 14, 2020 - 5:56pm

Change your signature to managing partner and assign the interns all the work. Easy.

Most Helpful
  • Works at Bain & Company
Jul 15, 2020 - 3:55pm

Want to clear up a bit of confusion here.

At Bain, a CTL can play two roles on a case team:
1. Senior consultant with 1-2 direct reports, reporting directly into a Manager.
2. An acting Manager on the case, reporting directly into a Principal or Partner (called OVP at Bain)

If a CTL is playing role #1 they are likely in the first 6-9 months of their CTL year. Later in the year they have an "at bat" to try out for the Manager role by playing role #2. If they are successful in role #2 they get promoted, if not they get counseled out.

Also, gg-universe is correct. The three real promotion points are SAC -> C1, CTL -> M, and Principal -> Partner. At least in recent years, the SAC -> C1 hurdle hasn't been all that high and if you wanted it you'd likely get it. CTL -> M is probably the biggest pinch point, although I'm too junior to have much visibility into the Partner promotion.

Jul 22, 2020 - 3:32am

From what I hear this can vary a lot by region. Europe seems to have a more automatic SAC promotion and Consultant-CTL is the bigger deal vs. CTL-Manager promotion.

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Aug 3, 2020 - 10:33am

Wow we have been receiving a flurry of Consultants applying for roles with our team, and I've seen a lot of Bain Managers with only 2 years experience post MBA - I Guess these are just "senior" Consultants trying to upsell themselves.

To be frank the title change is confusing as heck though - anyone from Bain knows what the reason for this is?

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 3, 2020 - 11:46am

They feel the Manager title is more LfL with the competition. Bain Consultants in their 3rd year (old Case Team Leader) manage ~2 people on average, McK and BCG's (Engagement) Managers also manage ~2 people so the activities are roughly similar across each role and they want to signal that to the market. I don't think it's really LfL though and it'll never be - Bain's commercial model just doesn't map 1-to-1 to McK/BCGs

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Aug 3, 2020 - 1:57pm

Hm so you mean consultants at Bain don't even manage anyone and they only start getting some managerial experience at the CTL (now manager) level?

I have a feeling these candidates will try to BS when they come in for interviews - will be good to know how it actually works

Aug 3, 2020 - 11:56am

Curious about how many BCG PLs you see apply as they typically also only have 2 years post-MBA experience (or do you not consider that manager level either). Also, don't even get me started on how many junior Mck EMs I have seen with little to no managing experience.

I can see how this change is confusing on the corporate side, but in reality the difference is only 0.5 - 1 year compared to the old Bain manager title.

Aug 3, 2020 - 12:28pm

This is something that has bugged me as well. In my work, Mck EMs are seen as generally less experienced and capable compared to BCG PLs and old Bain Ms. Your point on the comparison between the new Bain M vs. BCG PLs makes sense. However, there is one small difference. BCG C to PL is a real promotion step with a non negligible possibility to be counseled out. Bain C to new M is still a tenure based promotion. Therefore, you could make the argument that the average BCG PL is of highly quality than the average Bain M (new) despite both having similar years of experience. Likewise, the new SM role at Bain is more in line with a senior PL at BCG.

Aug 3, 2020 - 12:10pm

Mckinsey got similar shit a couple years back when they effectively removed the associate role (except for MBA hires). These firms understand that there will be confusion initially but eventually people will figure it out. These title changes at Bain are long overdue IMO

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