McKinsey: Difference between Consultant and BA?

Rank: Monkey | 63

What is the difference between the consultant role and business analyst role? Are they the same thing and McKinsey just uses a different name than usual, or is there a significant difference?

McKinsey Business Analyst vs. Consultant Title

The different labels used by consulting firms can cause confusion when trying to compare positions and salaries between firms. Our users shared that McKinsey does not have a "consultant" title and that the business analyst is the lowest point on the totem pole.

Starpoints:

Business Analysts are consultants. No one at McKinsey has the title consultant, everybody client-facing is a consultant, with the hierarchy going: BA - Associate - Engagement Manager - Associate Principal - Principal - Director.

User @much consultant wow shared a comparison between McKinsey and the Bain Consulting Group titles:

much consultant wow - Venture Capital Manager:

consultant role exists with BCG and it is the equivalent of Associate position in McK (post MBA). To make things more complicated, pre-MBA BA in McK has an equivalent of Associate in BCG.
So you get:

  • McK: BA/Fellow - (Junior) Associate - Engagement Manager - AP - Partner
  • BCG: Associate - Senior Associate (in some offices/systems) - Consultant - Project Leader - Principal - Partner & MD - Senior Partner - [executive positions within practice areas/committees, etc.)

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Comments (105)

 
Aug 31,2013

AFAIK, business analyst is a pre-MBA role comparable to an investment banking analyst role, whereas the consultant title is reserved for persons with further experience and/or an advanced degree such as the MBA (given that, the role is also comparable to an investment banking associate).

More experienced monkeys should chime in.

in it 2 win it
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  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Dec 31,2015

boooooooooooooooooooooooo

 
Aug 31,2013

BAs are consultants. No one at McKinsey has the title consultant, everybody client-facing is a consultant, with the hierarchy going: BA - Associate - Engagement Manager - Associate Principal - Principal - Director.

 
Aug 31,2013

Makes much better sense, and explains a few of my own misunderstandings.

in it 2 win it
 
Sep 30,2017

In military form: BA--Lieutenant, Associate--Captain, EM--major, AP-Colonel,, Director--General.

 
Aug 31,2013

/Partner - Managing Director - Senior Partner - International Partner - Global Managing Partner.. so just wanted to say that once you got to be a partner, there ain't no stopping ;)

"Practice drinking whisky straight."

 
Aug 31,2013

Not sure if you're saying this is how McKinsey is, but it's not. The CEO's title is Managing Director, so I guess there could be one more level about Director if you want to call it that. But there's no such thing as senior partner or international partner.

 
Jan 31,2016

consultant role exists with BCG and it is the equivalent of Associate position in McK (post MBA). To make things more complicated, pre MBA BA in McK has an equivalent of Associate in BCG.
So you get:
McK: BA/Fellow - (Junior) Associate - Engagement Manager - AP - Partner
BCG: Associate - Senior Associate (in some offices/systems) - Consultant - Project Leader - Principal - Partner & MD - Senior Partner - [executive positions within practice areas/commitees, etc.)

Not sure about Bain though. Hope this helps.

 
 
Jan 31,2016

from nontarget, 3.8+, excellent SAT, very involved in leadership activities and you might get an interview

then you crush the case interview and your odds are pretty good

 
Jan 31,2016

What's their typical profile from a target? Any different than above?

 
Jan 31,2016

from a target: 3.7+ but i actually heard you need 3.8+ from a friends brother who worked there...also need high SAT's which you should have if your from a target but i think the EC's might not matter as much as long as you have a tough major...even then you gotta rock the cases

 
Jan 31,2016
ibanalyst:

from a target: 3.7+ but i actually heard you need 3.8+ from a friends brother who worked there...also need high SAT's which you should have if your from a target but i think the EC's might not matter as much as long as you have a tough major...even then you gotta rock the cases

Their GPA bar is pretty low, at least 3.3 for 1st round interview for targets. They weigh ECs and especially diversity very heavily (much moreso than banking).

 
Jan 31,2016
 
Jan 31,2016

yup, from this forum, people make believe that you need a 3.8+ and need to have found the cure for cancer to get an interview. GS, McKinsey, MS, all the top firms, as long as you have something outstanding, like great internships, a 3.2 will get you an interview (H/Y/P/S dont know about the rest). Though more often than not you have to be Econ/Sciences i.e show interest.

 
Jan 31,2016

Leadership experience and ability is extremely important for McK. Especially during the interview, you really need to demonstrate this.

 
Jan 31,2016

how do you demonstrate leadership during an interview? unless it's a group interview, i don't see how that's possible...

 
Jan 31,2016

From the interview schedule from my school there were 1/2 with 3.8+ and 1/2 with 3.3-3.7 or so. The 3.3 kids were amazing otherwise (i.e. 1450+ SAT, fraternity president, interned at Goldman, from very diverse background, spent a year in Guatemala doing rainforest research) and the 3.8+ just had amazing grades/good SATs. You have absolutely no shot if you are a 3.5, 1300 SAT, were in a few clubs and were just all-around average. You can get away with a lower GPA if you can prove that you are intelligent, motivated, hard-working, and a leader.

 
Jan 31,2016
stanford_07:

From the interview schedule from my school there were 1/2 with 3.8+ and 1/2 with 3.3-3.7 or so. The 3.3 kids were amazing otherwise (i.e. 1450+ SAT, fraternity president, interned at Goldman, from very diverse background, spent a year in Guatemala doing rainforest research) and the 3.8+ just had amazing grades/good SATs. You have absolutely no shot if you are a 3.5, 1300 SAT, were in a few clubs and were just all-around average. You can get away with a lower GPA if you can prove that you are intelligent, motivated, hard-working, and a leader.

This is hilarious. The give 1st round interviews to about 200 people. Their resume screen is probably one of the least selective (except for probably BCG)

 
Jan 31,2016

I agree. At my school, McK interviews about 160 kids over 2 days. I mean, if you don't get an interview, you must REALLY suck. But after that, its all about how you present your experiences and do in your cases. True, the guy with a 3.95 prolly doesnt have to have that much extracurricular, but he also prolly wont have the same leadership skills if he did nothing out of school work. The issue should be how to nail the interview, not how to get one
PS I dont work there, so cant attest much to what gets more weight in interviews, but my mindset is that if you want it bad enough and prepare, you will get it

 
Jan 31,2016

I don't believe you guys...

why is getting into mck suddenly sounding like getting into some easy college program?

I seriously hope all these are true...I previously thought I had to literally walk on water to even get an interview...

what of their summer BA program? That at least is competitive, I think...don't you most certainly have to have a 3.8+ from a target to get into the maybe pile for first rounds..?

 
Jan 31,2016
yup:

I don't believe you guys...

why is getting into mck suddenly sounding like getting into some easy college program?

I seriously hope all these are true...I previously thought I had to literally walk on water to even get an interview...

what of their summer BA program? That at least is competitive, I think...don't you most certainly have to have a 3.8+ from a target to get into the maybe pile for first rounds..?

Their summer BA program is very competitive. The easiest route for them is through FT recruiting.

If you are from a target and in the top half of your class, you'll get a 1st round interview. Non-target you probably have next to no chance though.

 
Jan 31,2016

Getting an interview at a target school is easy, getting a job, esp an internship, is mad competitive because there is a wide pool and very few slots. So as I said, if you didnt prepare for the interview, high GPA doesnt matter, the 3.5 guy with lots of leadership experience prolly gets it. At least that was my experience.

 
Jan 31,2016

oops...poor me.
will still try tho. summer BA and FT

 
Jan 31,2016
yup:

oops...poor me.
will still try tho. summer BA and FT

Do you go to a target?

 
Jan 31,2016

well i am not from a target and in fact i missed the deadline but i wrote a very compelling cover letter to the recruiter and i was flying to NJ for an interview... had above a 3.8+ internship at similar consulting firm and mad leadership experiences though... but it came to the case at the interview

 
Jan 31,2016
 
Jan 31,2016

just like any typical case trying to increase revenue and blah blah blah it was different than i expected because they ask u questions like take a look at this chart .... then what do u think we should do... i got stuck on a fraction 9/16... i said that is about 55 percent and the dude said no i need an exact answer.... lol

 
Jan 31,2016
cls55amg:

just like any typical case trying to increase revenue and blah blah blah it was different than i expected because they ask u questions like take a look at this chart .... then what do u think we should do... i got stuck on a fraction 9/16... i said that is about 55 percent and the dude said no i need an exact answer.... lol

Their cases are really good except for that kind of exact arithmetic stuff, which is really stupid.

 
Jan 31,2016

yeah i was like well u know 9/16 = 8/16 + 1/16 so we have 0.50 + 0.250.25 (1/41/4) lol... while the dude stared at me... i thought it was stupid... my 2nd interviewer was pregnant and seemed really tired... she could not moderate the case well

 
Jan 31,2016
cls55amg:

yeah i was like well u know 9/16 = 8/16 + 1/16 so we have 0.50 + 0.250.25 (1/41/4) lol... while the dude stared at me... i thought it was stupid... my 2nd interviewer was pregnant and seemed really tired... she could not moderate the case well

well, i think it would be easier by dividing it 4 times by 2. 9/16>4.5/8>2.25/4>1.125/2>.5625/1

 
Jan 31,2016
toiysam:
cls55amg:

yeah i was like well u know 9/16 = 8/16 + 1/16 so we have 0.50 + 0.250.25 (1/41/4) lol... while the dude stared at me... i thought it was stupid... my 2nd interviewer was pregnant and seemed really tired... she could not moderate the case well

well, i think it would be easier by dividing it 4 times by 2. 9/16>4.5/8>2.25/4>1.125/2>.5625/1

yea, though i think his way is easier if you work with 1/8 enough (engineering majors should know by heart that its .125).

 
Jan 31,2016

At my school it only interviewed 10 people (I don't go to Stanford if you are confused, this is my friend's account) I would say my school is a semi-target (top school but not really a target) but Bain is a bigger recruiter here (40 people on interview schedule). Anyway, hope that clears it up.

 
Jan 31,2016

ok, so from all indications, Mck isn't that hard to get into. A FT position shouldn't be too much of a challenge but a summer BA position might be...

How many spots do they have for summer BAs anyone?
(I think they only recruit for their Atlanta and New Jersey offices)

 
Jan 31,2016
yup:

ok, so from all indications, Mck isn't that hard to get into. A FT position shouldn't be too much of a challenge but a summer BA position might be...

How many spots do they have for summer BAs anyone?
(I think they only recruit for their Atlanta and New Jersey offices)

Uh...McK isn't hard to get into? Isn't their total BA class 100-150 for entire US? That's still pretty selective.

I'm guessing that it's pretty easy (relatively speaking) to get interviews from target if you have decent stats, and McK would probably want to see as many candidates as possible since they need bodies.

It's still going to be extremely difficult for non-targets, you better have a really high GPA with really good work exp and ECs, and nail the interviews.

I heard summer BA is really small, only a handful a year, since it's hard to give meaningful work to a summer. (At least this is what I heard from a few McK guys I know.)

 
Jan 31,2016

Wasn't the guy with a 3.3 also at a target school? With an IBD internship and other good stats?

Not to give the impression that McK is impossible, but I seriously doubt anyone can just waltz in for an interview, especially for a non-target student.

To be honest, to summer as a BA for McK is about damn near impossible, the only people I know of that summered were at a target ivy (Stanford, UPenn the only two I recall seeing), and had ridiculously good stats (1500+ SATs, soph BB IBD internships, etc).

FT is pretty much the only shot at McK for most target applicants, even more so for non-targets.

 
Jan 31,2016

It's easy if you are from a target. Since you are from a non-target I doubt you'll even get an interview.

 
Jan 31,2016

Does McK advertise undergrad internships? I've never really seen it on their website before...

 
Jan 31,2016

I do not know what you guys are talking about; regardless of how many people get interviews, McKinsey is no gimme. It is still ranked the #1 preferred employer for all MBAs including all the bulge brackets, hedge funds and private equity that everyone here drools over.

yup is clearly getting the wrong idea about how to approach recruiting. yup, if you are serious about landing a job at McK you need to put in some serious hours for case practice (atleast 15-20 hours) as well as having all your answers down pat for the behavioral.

 
Jan 31,2016
stanford_07:

I do not know what you guys are talking about; regardless of how many people get interviews, McKinsey is no gimme. It is still ranked the #1 preferred employer for all MBAs including all the bulge brackets, hedge funds and private equity that everyone here drools over.

yup is clearly getting the wrong idea about how to approach recruiting. yup, if you are serious about landing a job at McK you need to put in some serious hours for case practice (atleast 15-20 hours) as well as having all your answers down pat for the behavioral.

15-20 hours only sounds way too little.

 
Jan 31,2016

BA full time is much less difficult than BA intern, however, both are extremely selective... however for those who r not elected as the select few, McK is now moving towards BAs with one or two years post graduation... u do get paid more than BAs directly from college but u still enjoy the love BAs get because u would do the exact same work an associate does and u are more billable i.e. cheaper than an associate for the client

 
Jan 31,2016

For a summer BA spot, your chances are definitely around 0-1%. Not to be mean, but do you have better than a 3.7+ GPA, GS TMT internship soph year, ivy league background? That's who gets summers.

You claim you have the "background", but nothing you've said so far supports that you have the "background".

 
Jan 31,2016

There is so much misinformation in this thread it's ridiculous.

These claims, for instance, are ludicrous:

freeloader:

For a summer BA spot, your chances are definitely around 0-1%. Not to be mean, but do you have better than a 3.7+ GPA, GS TMT internship soph year, ivy league background? That's who gets summers.

And for all those who insist they only recruit Ivies for summer BA's, I don't know about other publics, but McK recruits at UT for Dallas AND NYC.

A lot of blind leading the blind here.

 
Jan 31,2016

Um, since when did McKinsey start interviewing 3.3s? I went to a target and pretty much all the people at the first round interview were 3.5+ (at least) with most in the 3.7+ range. For the 2nd rounds, they picked some of the very best students in the school - VERY impressive people.

Sure you might get a first round, but that's still pretty far from getting an offer. I think the ratio of people who got offers to those interview was like 50-75:1.

It's not easy.

 
Jan 31,2016
 
Jan 31,2016

I don't think people are trying to be mean or discouraging, just merely giving a reality check after you made a few off-base comments. Best of luck to you trying...

 
Jan 31,2016
 
Jan 31,2016

The way I see it, having a BB IBD sophomore year (in an actual group, not one of those soph honors programs) puts anyone on a level playing field. The mere fact that you were able to get IBD soph year already shows you had a lot of the prereqs (grades, EC, etc). So I guess I would say both candidates are on a pretty even footing given those stats.

 
Jan 31,2016

I meant doing a normal IB internship, meaning being in the same pool with the juniors, and not the sophomore programs. That is much harder to do.

 
Jan 31,2016

McK hired 39 undergrads FT from my school (target ivy, you can guess which one) (the # of offers was muc hhigher). it was a pretty diverse group; included psych, socio., and women's studies majors who would've had no chance for IBD.

 
Jan 31,2016

what is the rationale in hiring someone who have never herad anything about business or economics??? just curious. i have talked to a McK EM in my country (non-US) and he said those that can contribute the most to the firm are business and econ majors...

 
Jan 31,2016

The rationale is, that it's about intelligence, creativity, leadership and communications. Projects are mostly so specific that any knowledge from business school doesn't really help. Can tell from first hand as I was a McK EM until a year ago.

 
Jan 31,2016

I call BS.

They didn't hire 39 from any school last year.

 
Jan 31,2016

Actually, I wouldn't doubt that McK hires a large number of BAs or consultants from a couple schools.

 
Jan 31,2016

There are only 150 or so hired nationwide each year. 1/4th at one school = no.

 
Jan 31,2016

hires may come from more than these schools, but the following is a list of the actual targets for McK

Harvard
Princeton
Yale
MIT
Stanford
Dartmouth
Columbia

There are about 150 BA's throughout the United States (which is 14 offices)and many have a regional flair (ie: Boston=Harvard/MIT
NJ=Princeton Chi=UC/NW SF = UCB/Stan) etc.

That being said, there is no way there are 39 from Harvard. Also, there are others who were not campus hires. Somebody will always at least review resumes submit online and the top candidates at other Ivy's, NESCACs and even large state schools will always be given a second look.

Now, for the person who said people got hired from his school who couldn't have gotten BB...you are horribly misinformed if you think anyone given an offer for a McK BA couldn't get an offer at Citi, BA, JPM, DB, BS, ML, etc. Goldman and Morgan might not be a done deal b/c they are more selective but surely a BA would have as strong a shot as any other candidate applying.

 
Jan 31,2016

Well, keep in mind there are non-BA positions as well, research analysts, operations analysts, etc.

 
Jan 31,2016

many people I know, particularly in research positions, attended what McKinsey would consider "2nd tier" schools.

So whereas H/P/Y/S/MIT & Dartmouth and Columbia are the primary targets for BA's, RA's seem to come from NESCAC, UChi, NW, NYU, etc. However, where there may be 140-155 BA's hired in a given year, there are only 10-25 RA's hired.

 
Jan 31,2016

according to their career services website.

http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/wharton/s...
And that's just people going (although i'm sure McK has a pretty high yield).

 
Jan 31,2016
oldhat:

according to their career services website.

http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/wharton/s...
And that's just people going (although i'm sure McK has a pretty high yield).

wow, McKinsey got 19 accepted offers and GS got 27. Guessing a McKinsey yield rate of about 70%, that means theres around 27 offers given to Wharton undergrads. If this report is true, the 39 figure seems believable now.

 
Jan 31,2016

I counted 5 people from the Wharton Report.

 
Jan 31,2016

Better add those double majors in there in my next calculation...

 
Jan 31,2016

General question: How much does McK pay?

 
Jan 31,2016

this year BAs start with 60000 bonus 7000 relocation 6000

 
Jan 31,2016

FYI:

Research analysts at McKinsey work less hours than BAs and get to travel, but not nearly as often or as grueling a schedule as BAs. RA's also perform less menial tasks but also will not perform significant tasks like being staffed to a client team, which is usually after 6 months in the position. A senior research analyst/knowledge specialist is akin to the associate level.

In terms of pay, RA's this year will make $55,000 with no bonus, but McKinsey's 12% investment add in and the world's best benefits and loads of perks are in there as well.

 
Jan 31,2016

Do you apply for a BA and RA separately or do they just offer you whatever they think to be appropriate given your credentials?

 
Jan 31,2016

correction. 39 = undergrads from H for this yr given offers, not number actually hired. though i suspect the vast majority will accept.

such is the power of the harvard name and alumni network (McK/BCG are essentially cabals of HYPMS)

 
Jan 31,2016

where did you get this statistic? I still find it hard to believe.

 
Jan 31,2016

The only true target schools for McK/Bain {in the US} are all Ivy's (minus Brown and Cornell hanging on the edge), Stanford, & MIT. This is largely because of 1)wanting to be in the good graces of these "highest calibur" places year in and year out and 2) given the int'l nature of consulting work, the Ivy League/Stanford/MIT are known 'round the world and you never have to second guess it or ask "what school are you from, again?"

Depending on the regional offices; Michigan, Northwestern, UChicago, UCBerk, UCLA, & UVa are also in the mix.

Outside of one of these and good luck with your 4.0

And to answer your question Mr. Miyagi, you are not either selected as a BA or RA. BA's are clockwork: 115-140 hired every single year as a similar # need to be replaced every year. Business Research Analysts are hired on an as-needed basis with no specific campus recruiting machinery in place.

Also, there is a research capacity hierarchy with industry coverage groups over knowledge centers (particularly those not in the US)...

 
Jan 31,2016

Ok, but what about the case interviews? I have read many sample ones from HBS and CBS case guides and they did required knowledge that a non-buiness/econ major would not have heard about. And why did this EM say this???

 
Jan 31,2016

These were the cases I got in my interview a couple of years ago: Estimate revenues in first 5 years of a new telecom company entering the German Market; develop an internet ianking strategy for a classical retail bank, an insurance company is 50 bps less profitable than the average competitor - what are the reasons and why. For that you need business intelligence but I e.g., didin't know what bps stabds for so I simply asked my interviewer. If you are an econ. guy they assume you know such stuff.

 
Jan 31,2016

I thought you were an EM? Why were you interviewing a couple of years ago? Unless you were a lateral, which I find very hard to believe.

 
Jan 31,2016
boozer:

I thought you were an EM? Why were you interviewing a couple of years ago? Unless you were a lateral, which I find very hard to believe.

He probably got hired as an Associate out of B-school. Associates become EMs in 2-3 years.

 
Jan 31,2016

Didn't say that McK doesn't recruit elsewhere. I'm saying that's the type of background McK summers have (this is an actual person that was a McK summer, btw), and that's the competition people are up against.

 
Jan 31,2016

I started at McK around 5-6 years ago as "fellow" (kind of similar to BA in the US). With a "couple of years" I meant that. Misusing the word "couple" is a mistake due to me being Gnon US/UK by nativity...the same as I am always saying ...finish "until" e.g., 6 o clock instead of "before" ...ItA's still a foreign language to me:-)

 
Jan 31,2016

tomtom,

Yeah I was gonna ask this earlier! Where are you based at? Europe? Do you think the environment is different in the USA for those wanting to start their own consultancy after being at a top shop? Fiercer, easier?

 
Jan 31,2016

haha 15 -20 hours?

try 30 hours a week for two or three weeks leading up to your interview to nail it.

 
Jan 31,2016

if you know your 16 times tables its pretty easy to work off to .5625 in your head in about 20-25 seconds, or do they expect an instant answer in under 10 seconds?

"God takes care of old folks and fools, while the Devil takes care of makin all the rules", P.E. 1998

 
Jan 31,2016

I am wondering how do consulting firms verify someone's SAT scores? Are you supposed to get that data verified by your university, do you need a request sent to the college board or do they just take your word for it?

 
Jan 31,2016

I still find it odd that they would ask for an SAT score if they know you're at a particular college. Like there's no point in asking an MIT student what his SAT score is. Is it there to point out people who don't belong at Harvard, or more to pick out smart students who chose non-targets? Or just another statistic used to separate resumes?

 
Jan 31,2016
jaclee317:

I still find it odd that they would ask for an SAT score if they know you're at a particular college. Like there's no point in asking an MIT student what his SAT score is. Is it there to point out people who don't belong at Harvard, or more to pick out smart students who chose non-targets? Or just another statistic used to separate resumes?

As I understand it, SATs and the like are used primarily as a universal benchmark. Agreed that they are not particularly useful when comparing students from the same school, but when you've got students from an almagamation of schools, then standardized scores are an easy way to compare all candidates across a single, objective measure.

 
Jan 31,2016

anyone knows how their BTO offices, jobs etc. are?
in terms of pay, working hours? compared with strategy consulting.

 
Jan 31,2016

if it's possible to lateral into mck? i doubt it, but just wondering

 
Jan 31,2016

Is Duke not a target or something? No one's seemed to mention it at all.

 
Jan 31,2016

anyone get summer offers? i didn't even get an interview though i did for all the other places i applied (bain, monitor, katzenbach...) and i was a pretty strong candidate; 3.9 top target previous BB.

oh well here's hoping for full time

 
Jan 31,2016

does McKinsey give year end bonuses like investment banks?

 
Jan 31,2016
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Jan 31,2018

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