What are considered back office roles in MBB?

Murricuh's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 43

Apparently back office in consulting gets a ton of shit here on WSO. I know HR for sure counts as back office. But what else?

Comments (16)

Dec 28, 2018

Within each firm, there's a practice that runs the business of the consulting firm. Same with the banks and any business. There are people:

  1. Doing the business of the business (consulting, banking, pharma, tech, etc.). Meeting with clients, selling services, providing support to clients, developing leads, etc.
  2. Managing the business of the business (HR, Senior leadership, facilities, accounting / finance / treasury). I imagine these are considered BO
Jan 10, 2019

BO for MBBs would either be their Knowledge Centres in India (and wherever else they are located) or their analytics sub-companies such as Gamma for BCG and QuantumBlack for McKinsey. You may get some client interaction in the latter options but the main role is to make impressive analytics to support the main engagement team - seems pretty BO to me.

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Feb 19, 2019

Hey man I am joining one of the MBB you mentioned and a couple friends are joining other MBBs you mentioned. From all our experience it doesn't sound BO at all.

You also have M-T travel, client interaction, some mix cases (generalist + analytics) or some pure analytic cases. Package is in the middle of UG generalist and MBA /PhD generalist (which i think is actually pretty appropriate for those positions since most candidates are masters).

Culture is way less "up-or-out" and viable path to partnership.

Don't wanna sound butthurt but I'd like to throw these types of "analytics consulting" out there.

Feb 19, 2019

False. Neither Gamma or QuantumBlack are Back office at all. They are staffed on client engagements just like any other consultants.

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Jan 10, 2019

Also in reply to @chicagomonkey , I'm basing the reply on my firm's analytics team and friends that work at MBBs. Sure, client interaction occurs but not nearly as much as the main consultants (which would be considered BO). And yes, you may get analytics heavy projects (e.g. a pricing analysis project) but in most cases the analytics would be used for A component of a project and therefore limited fixed exposure. Analytics teams are not usually staffed 100% on 1 project like FO consultants, they will often help in multiple projects.

Perhaps exposure changes at the senior level but this applies to other areas of firms considered BO such as HR.

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Feb 19, 2019

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Feb 19, 2019

"Analytics teams are not usually staffed 100% on 1 project like FO consultants, they will often help in multiple projects."

This isn't right. Without revealing my firm, at my MBB if an analytics person is staffed on my project, they are staffed 100%. This means they are sitting next to me everyday in the team room with the client. Yes, especially more junior folks. It's actually the more senior folks who may help across multiple projects, because their expertise may be required across various engagements, similar to associate partners/principals, etc. To suggest that most analytics folks don't have much client interaction isn't true.

Granted, I will say the level of client interaction varies across roles. For example, some McK New Ventures teams have analytics people who are staffed 100% on projects, but may not travel. Someone at McK Knowledge Center may spend 70% of their time traveling to clients, 30% of their time building internal analytics capabilities. Other analytics teams will spend 100% of their time traveling to projects. For the most part, Gamma falls into the last bucket.

If your definition of BO is "doesn't get staffed/travel to engagements 100%" then sure, there are many analytics teams at MBB who fall into that bucket. But non-analytics generalists often work on internal projects or knowledge research projects as well... that doesn't make them BO. A more valid way to group employees would be career progression/salary, in which analytics and generalists are comparable/the same.

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Jan 10, 2019

standard business functions that are present in every business in the world (HR, Finance, Accounting, Facilities, Admin, IT etc). and then more specific jobs like knowledge center work (think the "expert" track) and graphic/layout design.

Feb 19, 2019

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Feb 19, 2019

Short answer is anything that isn't client facing. So you're thinking corp fin, HR, legal, knowledge centers, graphics, and the like.