Boston Consulting Group or BCG is defines itself around its reputation for innovation. BCG has the optimal resources for providing on-the-job training at different technical levels. It equips employees with the skill-set to solve problems in new, ingenious ways, specifically tailored to the client. This is the thinking behind BCG’s off-shoots that deal with specific problems relating to data, digital, venture capital etc. These are called Platinion, Omnia and Gamma. A typical project team might well include BCG employees from each of these branches.
This is in contrast to McKinsey’s very rigid format for approaching problems aka “The McKinsey Way”. At BCG, teams think outside the box a little more on projects involving strategy. This leads to more subculture diversity at the office level. It also adds to operational diversity in how each office has its own reporting practices and financial statements.
This is essentially why BCG has developed a reputation for eccentricity. It attracts a slightly more “intellectual” and perhaps less “practical” type of consultant. The typical BCG consultant is effective at working in their in their own innovative way, but may be less flexible.
BCG has over 14,000 employees in 90 offices in over 50 countries.
BCG provides excellent training and specialization for its employees early in their careers. This means that if you wanted to go into industry it might take less time at BCG than it would at Bain. There’s less opportunity to enter private equity at BCG, due to the firm’s slightly different focus, for example. Nonetheless, the firm has a deep range of clients in many industries who actively recruit alumni in corporate strategy roles. BCG leavers are well known for heading in the direction of tech.
In general, experience working at BCG can equip you with the skills to go into an extremely wide range of jobs. BCG structures it’s position with clients as a partnership, as opposed to how McKinsey structures its position around impacting the top people at top companies. This means that as an employee you will be able to get a stronger sense of what it feels like to work at different companies. This makes it easier to transition later on in your career.
Salaries for the main three firms tend to be fairly level, with McKinsey edging ahead slightly. McKinsey offers around $90k/yr for undergraduates and $160k/yr for MBA graduates. BCG tends to be fractionally behind, but offers a very attractive salary. This is closer to $80/yr for undegraduates.
A consultant at BCG is free to choose from all sorts of projects when they’re working at the firm, all of which have some relationship to one another. At other firms you may be tied down to what project types a sponsor is working on so you can continue to advance on your career path. BCG’s unique structure allows you to think and work outside the box, and have more of an individualized sense than at a firm like McKinsey.
This article was written by Juan Salazar, Princeton Undergraduate, aspiring management consultant and Intern with The Cambridge Consultant.