Decision between McKinsey and BCG in Germany (Fulltime) after COVID and Opioid Scandal

BCG full-time germany McKinsey & Company offer decision
Neue Antwort am 4. Jun 2021
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Anonym A fragte am 3. Jun 2021

Hey everyone,

I hope you are doing good and perhaps you can support me with your insights.

Disclaimer: Obviously I will not base my final decision on the answers here alone, but I would really value some insights and options to support my decision-making process. I also know that similar questions exist already, however, I couldnt find one that takes into account recent scandals and the current pandemic development.

Short introduction of myself:

I am currently a student in Germany (Engineering) and will finish my master's degree in 2 months. So far I always thought that I will da a phd and later work as a professor because I enjoyed short research and engineering projects at my university. However, while writing my thesis and working at the research chair of my professor for 6 month, I discovered that I only liked those short term projects because it was always something new. A friend of mine recommended doing an internship at a small german consulting firm, which I did and surprisingly I really liked the people and the work, however, due to the small size the international opportunities are really limited. That's why I applied at McKinsey and BCG (both Germany) a few weeks ago, hoping that my engineering internships at BMW and Tesla were enough, and fortunately it was enough and I received offers at both firms.

However, I never really thought about which company I would prefer to work for, mainly because I was not expecting to get an offer at one of the firms.

Because I decided to start in consulting quite late, I never participated in any events of either of the firms to get to know the consultants and due to COVID it is not possible to visit the offices right now to get to know the people, meaning the only contact was with HR and the interviewers, although just virtual. Most of my engineering friends are also not familiar with the firms at all and other friends are only saying that both are great firms and I won't do anything wrong with either of them.

That's why I wanted to ask some questions here, and maybe they are obvious or stupid for people working in this industry, but as someone who is new I would really appreciate some help:

Questions:

1.) Which company managed to get through the COVID pandemic better (e.g., less lost business etc.)? During the interviews I also asked those questions and representatives of both companies said that they managed it really well, however, I assume that is what an interviewer would always say.

2.) Earlier this year I read a lot of articles about the McKinsey opioid scandal. What is the impact of this scandal on the future of the company, on the current business or prestige?

3.) BCG is frequently reporting growth numbers while McKinsey is really intransparent in this area, but I have the feeling that BCG is growing (way) faster right now. Will they soon be the market leader in terms of revenue?

4.) I often read that BCG has a "nerdy" and collaborative culture and McKinsey is more distanced and competitive. Is this (still) true?

5.) During COVID a lot of firms implemented new work-life-balance measures. What are the differences between those two firms right?

Thanks a lot for your support!

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Florian
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antwortete am 4. Jun 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | Imbellus Expert

Hey there,

Very nice position to be in - congrats! :-)

To answer your questions:

1. I don't know about BCG but McKinsey got through the crisis exceptionally well. They will hire more people this year than ever before (official statement of their global recruiting lead), and more specifically for Germany, they are recruiting heavily + former colleagues and friends are all staffed with full utilization rate.

2. From a business perspective I think the impact was mostly affecting the media coverage, not so much the actual daily operations. The firm would not hire as many people this year if there were serious concerns (since they operate very conservatively with staff projections) and clients still flock to hire McK. There are two news outlets (NYT and Manager Magazin), which constantly hit on McKinsey. I explained this in some answer here a couple of months ago. McK operates highly decentralized with several 1000s of projects ongoing at the same time. There will always be bad apples, however, I believe that they are dealing with this phenomenon now + this does not affect 99.999% of the other projects.

3. I have no insights into that

4. I have never had more down-to-earth, warmer, and funnier colleagues. There was never any competitiveness in the team room or elsewhere. That might be relevant if you are talking about going from AP to Partner level to a certain degree because there is a huge bottleneck after 6-8 years in your career because not everyone can become a partner. Everyone can become EM and almost everyone can become AP (if they meet the bar, which depends on collaboration, not competition). In fact, the mindset I learned was rather 'let me help you be successful, so you can help me be successful.

5. Left just before COVID started, so I cannot really tell. I know that everyone is always working on work-life balance in consulting. How effective these measures are I am not sure since at the end of the day client will most likely always be the priority.

Additional point: McKinsey offers a better support system that covers a lot of things outside of your core work (slide generation, help desk that solves every problem for you in Excel, PPT that would take more than 5 minutes to solve for you, etc.). This is a huge lifestyle improver, which I have not heard from in discussions with BCG colleagues. Lastly, McK has a global staffing model, which makes it easier to travel the world while you work.

What helped me decide back then was the interactions I had with everyone during recruiting events, during the interview process, and afterward. I solely based my decision on the feeling and vibe I had with the people of both firms + the global staffing model

All the best with your decision!

Cheers,

Florian

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Ian
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Content Creator
bearbeitete eine Antwort am 4. Jun 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Hope you're doing well as well, though I imagine you are with two fantastic offers - well done and congratulations!

I couldn't agree with Allen. Furthermore I'd take it a step further and suggest you network more extensively to get some answers to these questions. That said, I have some helpful and less than helpful answers to your questions!

1.) I genuinely think they both did. Now, I'm seeing a huge boost in the number of BCG hires right now, and less of a boost in McKinsey hires. That said, being ex-BCG my candidate base is obviously naturally a bit more skewed to BCG

2.) Minimal. They have a scandal every few years. They will get through this perfectly fine. That said, it did hurt their reputation.

3.) See point 1. It's possible but not particularly likely in the short term. BCG is 80% the size of McKinsey, so it has a ways to catchup in a fairly mature space.

4.) This is definitely true. At least from my perspective I can say BCG was like that, and from hearing stories McKinsey is like that as well.

5.) Honestly, playing the work-life game will only get you disappointed...especially in Germany. Both work you extremely extremely hard, and Germany has one of the "worst" reputations in this regard. BCG has implemented PTO around the world. However, the nature of the work invariably means you'll be hard-pressed to have a work-life balance (at least Mon-Thurs)

Best of luck with your decision!

(editiert)

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Anonym B antwortete am 4. Jun 2021

As someone who went through this recently, I agree with the general perception in your statements regarding culture (BCG more friendly and "nerdy"/academic, McK a little less so). This was true across interactions with several people across multiple levels in both companies - doesn't mean McK people were not friendly, but I just connected better with BCGers. That's only one data point, however.

One thing that you may not have considered and that may not matter in Germany is that McK is 100% global staffing and M-Th travel every week (or at least it was until Covid according to a senior Partner). BCG is more of a hybrid model where you can choose local projects or international projects. If you prefer traveling every week, choose McK. If you don't, BCG may be a better option. You won't go wrong with either choice, congratulations!

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Antonello
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 4. Jun 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, congrats on the offers! In addition to the points discussed by the other coaches, I would like to recommend you on the importance of your feeling you have built during the interview process, the previous interactions with consultants and any feedback from your friends inside related to the environment, projects, and people. Whatever you choose it'll be a great start

best,
Antonello

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Allen
Experte
antwortete am 4. Jun 2021
Ex-McK Experienced hire and EM - I specialize in helping experienced hires perform

Great questions. Can I just suggest one thing to you? Ask HR if they can connect you with a few people from your would-be office/practice so that you can get to know them a bit. I'm sure they'd be happy to help out.

Hope this helps,

Allen

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Florian

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