Interview Question: Why BCG? Why McKinsey?

Kushagra452's picture
Rank: Monkey | 39

Hi Folks!

I was wondering what is the best way to tackle this seemingly innocuous interview question

- "Why BCG?"

What things should I mention in my answer?

Thank you very much!

Why do you want to work for BCG? (McKinsey or Bain)

This is a question that you will be asked in almost any interview with any consulting firm and you need to be ready to knock it out of the park. You should shape your answer to this question by reading about the firm and by speaking with people who are currently working there. You need to know why each consulting firm feels that they are unique and hit on those points as well as touching on the cultural points about why you want to work at BCG, Bain, or McKinsey.

maktec5 - Consulting Analyst:

Go to BCG careers section on their website. Look at what they typically expect of their people and frame these as answers to Why BCG (works for any firm)

VSC_MM - Consulting Associate:

When recruiting, I wouldn't even apply to a firm (particularly MBB firm) unless I had done at least 1 informational interview (often times several) with someone else in the firm to ask pointed questions that would give me this type of information.

This really becomes a layup question at that point.. you can say something like...

In doing my research on which firm I thought would be the best fit for me, I spoke to [John Doe Engagement Manager] out of the [largest local office in my area] and I believe there are 3 key distinctions that make [MBB firm] the right place for me - [1 the X distinction in culture, 2- the Y distinction in long-term opportunity, etc.] ...

Done properly (e.g. it's genuine), there is very little chance that another candidate will have the exact same canned answer. It also tells the interviewer you've done your homework, demonstrates you have some capacity to network and are actually interested in their firm.

Not rocket science but it does take the extra effort. IMO - If you're going for BCG and other top firms it's a good exercise to go through so you can actually make an informed decision on which firm you like best (culturally they are NOT all the same).

If you are looking for differences between the consulting firms user @24837 shared, a consulting analyst:

24837 - Consulting Analyst:

There's definitely unique characteristics to each one.

  • McK vs BCG - specialist Vs generalist
  • Bain has a PE focus and touts a "younger" culture

Moving away from MBB:

  • Roland Berger - express fascination for "the" european consulting firm / challenger mentality
  • Booz - global brand, at the same time low key compared to MBB

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Comments (27)

Jun 15, 2011

It's official people are just inherently lazy

    • 1
Jun 15, 2011

Hmmm.... I did search online and have jotted down the points that I will like to mention. They are the following:

  1. Want to gain a broader experience of working with clients in different industries and functions.
  2. BCG will give me an excellent opportunity to make real world impact by helping solve challenging problems faced by clients. At the same time i
  3. I want to work with the best minds in the industry which will in turn nurture my creative thinking and problem solving skills
  4. . I want to work in an environment where collective brainstorming, creativity and individual opinions are cherished. Given that BCG values out of the box thinking and looking at every problem from a fresh perspective, I know that it will be an excellent place for me to grow professionally and intellectually.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!!

Jun 17, 2011
Kushagra452:

Hmmm.... I did search online and have jotted down the points that I will like to mention. They are the following:

  1. Want to gain a broader experience of working with clients in different industries and functions.
  2. BCG will give me an excellent opportunity to make real world impact by helping solve challenging problems faced by clients. At the same time i
  3. I want to work with the best minds in the industry which will in turn nurture my creative thinking and problem solving skills
  4. . I want to work in an environment where collective brainstorming, creativity and individual opinions are cherished. Given that BCG values out of the box thinking and looking at every problem from a fresh perspective, I know that it will be an excellent place for me to grow professionally and intellectually.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!!

7S:

this wont work, it applies to all consulting firms

Also, learn how to make lists: 1, 2, 3, ... 4, 5

Jun 15, 2011

Search WSO

Jun 15, 2011

If you can't bullshit that question, you're not going to make it as a consultant.

    • 1
Jun 15, 2011
cibo:

If you can't bullshit that question, you're not going to make it as a consultant.

This.

It's middle school level bullshitting skills. You should be anticipating what everybody else has been saying too so you can come up with something non-cliche.

Jun 15, 2011

Go to BCG careers section on their website. Look at what they typically expect of their people and frame these as answers to Why BCG (works for any firm)

Still I Rise

Jun 15, 2011

btw cibo is right

Still I Rise

Jun 15, 2011

So I just went to BCG's website (mind you, I know nothing about and have no interest in consulting/consulting firms) and immediately found what they feel they have to offer their hires:

Grow Further.
The knowledge, experience and skills you will gain at BCG will provide you with a springboard to excel in any field within BCG or beyond. How far will you grow?

Chart Your Own Course
MORE
Challenge Your Mind
MORE
Team to Lead
MORE
Make a Difference
MORE
Win with BCG
MORE

More is good, all is better

Jun 15, 2011

Thanks folks! That really helped!

@cibo: I do have the BS ready for this question. Just wanted to make sure my answer does not sound "cliched". But I do agree with you said :D

Jun 15, 2011
  1. Want to gain a broader experience of working with clients in different industries and functions.
  2. Bain will give me an excellent opportunity to make real world impact by helping solve challenging problems faced by clients. At the same time i
  3. I want to work with the best minds in the industry which will in turn nurture my creative thinking and problem solving skills
  4. . I want to work in an environment where collective brainstorming, creativity and individual opinions are cherished. Given that Bain values out of the box thinking and looking at every problem from a fresh perspective, I know that it will be an excellent place for me to grow professionally and intellectually.

this wont work, it applies to all consulting firms

Jun 15, 2011

If I were you, I'd bust out your laptop, give them a powerpoint presentation and then bill them for dinner.

(at least that's what I do every day)

Jun 15, 2011

always mention one or two people you talked to and say something about culture

    • 1
Jun 17, 2011

jeez, this guy asks for distinct differences between consultancies and some ppl here throw the most generic consulting infos ever at him. way to go.
There's definitely unique characteristics to each one.

McK vs BCG -> specialist Vs generalist
Bain has a PE focus, touting a "younger" culture

Moving away from MBB:
Roland Berger - express fascination for "the" european consulting firm / challenger mentality
Booz - global brand, at the same time low key compared to MBB
... etc

firefighter:

always mention one or two people you talked to and say something about culture

true.

    • 1
Jun 15, 2011

When recruiting, I wouldn't even apply to a firm (particularly MBB firm) unless I had done at least 1 informational interview (often times several) with someone else in the firm to ask pointed questions that would give me this type of information.

This really becomes a layup question at that point.. you can say something like...

"in doing my research on which firm I thought would be the best fit for me, I spoke to [John Doe Engagement Manager] out of the [largest local office in my area] and I believe there are 3 key distinctions that make [MBB firm] the right place for me - [1 the X distinction in culture, 2- the Y distinction in long-term opportunity, etc.] ...

Done properly (e.g. it's genuine), there is very little chance that another candidate will have the exact same canned answer. It also tells the interviewer you've done your homework, demonstrates you have some capacity to network and are actually interested in their firm.

Not rocket science but it does take the extra effort. IMO - If you're going for BCG and other top firms it's a good exercise to go through so you can actually make an informed decision on which firm you like best (culturally they are NOT all the same).

Jun 16, 2011

You have to say something that will impress the interviewer. He's asked "Why BCG" pretty often, and 90% of the answers have been what you gave us at the top of this thread. Such answers are forgotten even before you finish saying them.

So think of something that is totally unique to BCG. Myabe something you learned in a conversation with a current BCG consultant, or something you read somewhere in BCG's Intellectual Capital. Go above and beyond what a normal college graduate would do and answer to such a question.

Jun 16, 2011

I don't think there's anything wrong with a somewhat cliched answer.
They are gonna hire the candidate they feel will make them the most money, not the one who loves them the most. As long as you don't say something totally weird, you'll be fine.

So concentrate on answering that question in a way that would sell yourself.
Ex:
Why BCG?
Well, BCG builds partnership based relationships with clients, and that's perfect for me, because i love building relationships and i am super fucking great at that [insert example]

More is good, all is better

Jun 16, 2011
Argonaut:

I don't think there's anything wrong with a somewhat cliched answer.
They are gonna hire the candidate they feel will make them the most money, not the one who loves them the most. As long as you don't say something totally weird, you'll be fine.

So concentrate on answering that question in a way that would sell yourself.
Ex:
Why BCG?
Well, BCG builds partnership based relationships with clients, and that's perfect for me, because i love building relationships and i am super fucking great at that [insert example]

Actually that's a good example of an un-cliched answer. So many people wax eloquent about the firm they're trying desperately to get in, without realizing that the interview is actually a chance for you to sell yourself. So working your own great qualities in while praising an M/B/B - very good idea, and a ploy not used by many.

Jun 17, 2011

For McK, you could try surfing Mck Quarterly, it has a bunch of interesting articles, perhaps even one from your interviewer, and is good general consulting knowledge that you could have conversation about with any of 3 companies.

Jun 17, 2011
  1. The opportunity to work for and with some of the top companies around the world, on a variety of projects (examples of clients and projects that you like that the firm had)
  2. You're able to stay on the cutting edge of business strategic thought (examples)
  3. You feel that you are a good fit for the job and the company (reasons)
  4. You're able to work with some of the best minds in the business world (examples)
  5. Something about the opportunity to work on projects all over the world, which would be a great learning opportunity for you and the springboard for whatever you want to do in the future (start your own firm, venture capital, PE/HF, CEO, whatever else you might think of)

That would approximately be my answer.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

    • 1
Jun 18, 2011

Thanks folks! All the comments were very helpful indeed.

ps: Sorry about the typo in numbering my list. :P

Jun 20, 2011

to stress something implicit in argonaut's post,
you should use this question to market yourself.
they know damn well what is good about working for them.
they want to see that:
A) you know what they're about and feel you're a good fit
B) you are a good fit because you have the qualities they are looking for

the interview is not about them getting a pat on the back and hearing how great their firm is, it's to see that they want to hire you.
always ask yourself "how is this making me more attractive?"
relevant for anything really...

"... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

Jun 20, 2011

Obviously it is still important to be able to give a genuine answer to this question, but I was not asked this question once in my interviews at one of MBB for a summer internship (made it to final round, no offer). Just something people might be curious to know....

Jun 20, 2011

I've only heard of Bain giving this question.

Jun 21, 2011
petergibbons:

I've only heard of Bain giving this question.

Actually, I thought only McKinsey asked the "Why BCG?" question.

    • 1
Jun 21, 2011
Comment

More is good, all is better

Jun 23, 2011