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What is the difference between McK, BCG and Bain – so called “MBB” firms?

Bain Bain & Company BCG company culture corporate culture MBB Mck McKinsey office culture RolandBerger working culture
Neue Antwort am 16. Mai 2024
32 Antworten
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Anonym A fragte am 24. Mai 2016

Hello guys, I just started my preparation for my McKinsey and Bain interviews and was curious to know what are the main points of difference between these firms. From different online sources, I am getting different ideas. In short, I understand that there’s no one “Best” firm, but that it depends on which office you’re in and what your personal preferences are.

Do you agree with this assessment? Can anyone help pinpoint the exact differences between the firms? How do I decide which one is the best fit for me? I would love it if the experts who have worked at the MBB firms could share their experiences.

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Anonym antwortete am 24. Mai 2016

For perspective, I worked 5.5 years at BCG in Germany and Japan, and did projects all over the globe. I have multiple friends at both McK and Bain. The following are my personal views, and your statement "from different online sources, I am getting different ideas" also holds in "real life" :)


(1) The differences between all three firms (and even other top managment consultancies) are negligible compared to non-consulting firms/jobs.

(2) All three firms have grown so much, they compete on all levels and no longer specialize in certain topics or industries. Basically, if one of the firms pitch for a certain project, the others could do it equally well.

On to the differences:

- In Europe, there is still a difference between McK/BCG and Bain, which is a bit smaller. So, while any competitive pitch where McK is invited also has BCG pitching (and vice versa), Bain is not always present.

- McK tends to have a more top-down, slightly harsher approach (maybe rooted from operations/cost cutting experience). BCG has a bit more cooperative approach, building support bottom-up together with the client's organization/middle management. Bain is somewhere in the middle.

- I found the smartest/most intelligent people to be at McK, intellectually a tiny notch above the other firms. BCG I found to be a bit more creative/out of the box.

Again, all of this is highly subjective. If you receive an offer from any of the firms, congratulations, that's amazing! :) If you end up getting more than one offer, I would choose the one which feels the best to you personally. I loved BCG, but one of my friends did not like the atmosphere and they somehow didn't connect -- he is now super successful and happy at Bain. During the interview process, you get to know 5-10 consultants over 2 rounds in a professional context. And keep in mind -- they don't just interview, but also try to make a good impression on you! The interview process is actually quite revealing about how working there would be, so going with your gut feel is probably the best way to go.

Good luck and all the best!

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Anonym J am 4. Feb. 2021

Thanks for your comment :) Did you need to speak Japanese to work in Japan? How did you manage to get there?


Anonym E antwortete am 25. Mai 2016

I prepared for consulting interviews and had offers from all 3 in the India office. After a lot of research and brainstorming, I chose to join Bain. The following are the main conclusions of my research:

1. In terms of type of work, type of people, exit opportunities, working hours, pay, etc. – most important parameters, i.e., they are the same or largely similar.

2. The only important thing that the firms use as a differentiating feature is culture – and while the culture at all consulting firms is largely similar when compared to another industry (say, FMCG or tech), there are some subtle differences between the firms:

  • McKinsey has a clear “I’m-the-best” air about themselves. Most hires have great grades and extra-curricular achievements. I got the impression that McKinsey considers itself obviously the best among consulting firms. The people I was in touch with at McKinsey were really surprised when I chose Bain over McK, while my BCG and Bain contacts were much more respectful of the other firms.
  • BCG is growing really fast in India but I heard from many (including those at BCG) that they have a much higher attrition rate than the other two firms. I really liked the people at BCG but the general perception of BCG consultants being highly overworked (even by consulting standards) caused them to lose some points.
  • My interaction with Bain was super positive and they refrained from talking negatively about other firms. I liked the people, and in addition heard a lot of good things about Bain culture from my friends - that everyone felt like they worked with friends, and it was supportive and “up-or-out” was very muted, almost non-existent at Bain (unlike other firms).

Reiterating, the differences between firms are marginal and each has something going for it – McK has arguably the most recognizable brand globally, BCG is growing fast and has great people, and Bain has a supportive and collaborative culture. These things of course vary from office to office – this is just my perception (after weeks of research) of the India offices of these firms. In summary, you should treat the firms as more or less equal and choose the one whose people you like the best. This would depend on the office and (if applicable) team you would be working for.

All the best in making the choice!

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bearbeitete eine Antwort am 17. Juli 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


I started my consulting career at BCG in Germany, got promoted to Senior Consultant, and later switched to McKinsey to do work and lead consulting teams in several emerging markets. I have a combined 7.5 years experience in both firms and hence can give a good comparison from the inside:

1. Reputation & (perceived) Thought-Leadership

McKinsey is still the gold standard in terms of recognition across all industries, from tech to large established corporates. Whilst on some specific areas other firms might have developed a stronger expertise (e.g. Parthenon is the leading firm for education), everybody recognizes that hiring McKinsey is the safest bet to ensure consistent, high quality work. The level of knowledge created by McKinsey grants it top pages in leading newspapers, a coverage that is still not matched by BCG or Bain. BCG has been trying quite successfully to go in the same direction, establishing reputation as a knowledge-based company, but is not yet there. Bain, on the other hand, has been focusing less on knowledge leadership and instead cultivating a reputation focused on its capability of making things happen by adopting a cooperative approach.

2. Alumni network

Consulting is usually regarded as a springboard to a brilliant career. This is why the alumni network that you'll find when leaving should be considered among the key decision criteria. McKinsey has the largest workforce (8k consultants vs 4.5 BCG and 3k Bain), hence the largest alumni network. Moreover there is a strong cohesion and sense of belonging fostered whilst working at McKinsey that usually remains after leaving. You'll be surprised at how many people who were "counselled to leave" by McKinsey (basically advised to find another job elsewhere) turned themselves into key McKinsey clients after leaving. Alumni networks are weaker in BCG and Bain due to the lack of critical mass and a weaker sense of belonging. However, BCG has become increasingly active in engaging its alumni network, and my subjective impression (as an alum of both McK and BCG) is that they have managed closed some part of the gap to McKinsey.

3. People

All MBB firms are obsessed about hiring the best and the brightest. The smartness of colleagues in all three MBB firms is absolutely amazing. Here I'd say that the main difference in the hiring criteria between McKinsey and BCG is in consistency and ease of being "shaped" according to the standards. While BCG is mostly focused on hiring bright people, McKinsey values a lot the alignment in terms of mindset and the ease of "formatting" the candidate according to the McKinsey standard. This includes speaking using a top down approach, keeping a friendly but assertive approach, and most of all being open to feedback. McKinsey puts a lot of emphasis on the three above characteristics and regards them as a key decision factor in the selection process.

4. Client mix

This varies to a large extent by office and by country; as a general trend, Bain has higher mix of PE clients (Bain Capital, although now separated from Bain, was co-founded by several Bain partners), McKinsey is the leading consultancy for healthcare and governments, especially in developing countries.

5. Projects

It has often been said that BCG focuses more on pure strategic projects, McKinsey on organizational projects. This is no longer the case. All three MBB firms have been trying to move downstream in order to provide end-to-end solutions to their clients going from devising strategies to testing and implementing them. Moreover, they are all massively investing to ride the massive wave of digitalization that is still building up.

6. a) Approach to clients

McKinsey tends to have a more top-down approach and usually takes pride in challenging and often contradicting clients. They do cooperate with clients but tend to be quite assertive in pushing forward their solution. BCG is slightly more “cooperative”, putting a special emphasis on “delighting” clients. BCG consultants often spend a bit more time in order to build consensus in the organization by engaging the middle management, instead of obsessing over analysis (McKinsey way).

6. b) Approach to problems

All MBB firms leverage a lot past work to provide answers including tested, off-the-shelf elements. However, BCG has cultivated a reputation for being looking at each problem with a fresh perspective and building innovative solutions. It is also something that consultants like to hear when interviewing candidates and asking them "Why BCG?"

7. Way of working/resources

A point that is often neglected in answers to this kind of question is understanding how everyday work will change across firms. Whilst there are many similarities (4 days a week on client site, teamwork, challenging lifestyle), there are also two key differences:

  • Staffing: McKinsey is more global in terms of staffing, meaning that you are more likely to end up staffed on the other side of the country but also that you'll have more chances to e.g. do a project in a developing country if you are interested in development or government work. Also, the project teams at McKinsey are mor internationally mixed – hence you might find team members from completely different parts of the world staffed on a project in South Africa for example. At BCG, it would be more homogeneous, e.g., the partner who covers the client will staff most of his team from either his home office or the client’s geography.
  • Support resources: McKinsey wants its consultants, including Business Analysts, to focus solely on value-added activities. To ensure this, it developed large organizations aimed at supporting consultants, such as:
    • Visual graphic centers to ensure consultants can save time by sketching powerpoint slides and have the quickly produced by visual graphic teams
    • Research centers for performing desktop research for consultants
    • Survey desks in India and Costa Rica to set up web-based surveys for clients
    • Analytics centers to help consultants in complex xls macros etc.

Whilst Bain and BCG have both developed similar support resources, they still do not have the scale of McKinsey.

Cheers, Sidi


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Anonym F bearbeitete die Antwort am 31. Mai 2017

I've summered at one and joined another of the MBB, had final rounds with the last one. From my experience, there are actually a few differences between the firms.

The firms all work on top priority issues for great clients, but I think the types of cases they tackle is different. McKinsey works for many of the F500. Huge conglomerates where organizational reform is often important, this is one of their strongholds. BCG tends to do loads of work on Post Merger Integration (PMI), Project Management Office (PMO) and Transformations. This is usually about designing ways business units within a company should look like and after that tracking if the changes are actually commited to. Bain has many of the world's leading private equity firms as clients rather than the large, slower industrial enterprises. Those seem to be more dynamic and fast-paced as they're more nimble. Also, people in private equity, are all extremely bright and results oriented. This makes for perhaps a steeper learning curve than normally, but also for a greater learning potential it seems.

In terms of exits, a large proportion of McKinsey and BCG consultants opt for Head of Strategy roles, whereas the Bain consultants seem disproportionately to go for entrepreneurship or private equity. All open the doors to every role though, so this might be more in the nature of the people working at the respective companies than a result of exit opportunities.

In terms of culture, McKinsey is the most buttoned-up and formal, but also has as great trait that you have an Obligation to Dissent. This basically means you need to speak your mind if you don't agree with others. BCG consultants seem to have the least influence on their lifestyle and working hours. They're all very nice and humble people though, but not the centre of a party usually. Bain seems to control the work-life balance of their employees generally well, but their private equity practice works without a doubt the most hours of any consulting group. They are usually characterized as the most social of the three.

In terms of how their business is doing, there isn't much difference and this will largely be location dependent. McKinsey seems to have an overall strong presence, with an extra strong presence in Germany, China and India. BCG is strong in Germany but struggles in Asia, and their US business has slowed at the moment. Bain is strong in the UK, France the US and Asia, but is behind in the Middle East and behind but catching up in size in Germany and Switzerland.


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Content Creator
antwortete am 16. Mai 2024
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360° coach(Ex-McKinsey+Certified Coach+Active recruiter)

Your assessment is correct—there is no universally "best" firm among McKinsey, BCG, and Bain (MBB). Each firm has its unique culture, strengths, and areas of focus, making them better suited to different individuals depending on personal preferences and career goals. Here are some key differences and considerations to help you decide which firm might be the best fit for you:

McKinsey & Company (McK)


(i) Global Reach and Brand: McKinsey is often considered the most prestigious of the three, with a strong global presence and a wide range of industries and functions.
Structured Career Development: Known for its rigorous training programs and structured career paths, McKinsey invests heavily in professional development.
(ii) Problem-Solving Approach: McKinsey uses a highly structured and data-driven approach to problem-solving, often employing frameworks and methodologies developed in-house.


(i) Professional and Formal: McKinsey has a more formal culture compared to BCG and Bain, with a strong emphasis on professionalism and high standards.
(ii) Team Orientation: Teams are highly collaborative, and there's a strong emphasis on mentorship and support.

3. Considerations:

(i) Network and Prestige: If you value a strong brand name and extensive global network, McKinsey may be a good fit.
Structured Environment: If you thrive in structured environments with clear career progression, McKinsey's approach may suit you well.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG)


(i) Innovative Thinking: BCG is known for its focus on creativity and innovation, often tackling complex and ambiguous problems.
(ii) Thought Leadership: The firm invests in thought leadership, producing influential reports and research.
(iii) Diverse Practices: BCG has strong practices in digital transformation, corporate development, and more.

2. Culture:

(i) Intellectual Curiosity: BCG fosters a culture of intellectual curiosity and encourages consultants to explore new ideas and solutions.
(ii) Collaborative and Supportive: The culture is collaborative, with a strong focus on teamwork and personal growth.


(i) Innovation and Creativity: If you are drawn to innovative problem-solving and thought leadership, BCG's environment may be appealing.
(ii) Flexible Career Path: BCG offers a bit more flexibility in career paths and encourages consultants to explore different areas of interest.

Bain & Company

1. Strengths:

(i) Results-Driven: Bain is known for its focus on delivering measurable results and driving change within client organizations.
(ii) Private Equity and M&A: Bain has a strong reputation in private equity and mergers & acquisitions, often working closely with investment firms.
(iii) Strong Client Relationships: Bain emphasizes building deep and long-lasting relationships with clients.

2. Culture:

(i) Informal and Close-Knit: Bain has a more informal and friendly culture, often described as a "family-like" atmosphere.
(ii) Entrepreneurial Spirit: The firm encourages an entrepreneurial mindset, allowing consultants to take ownership of their work and innovate.

3. Considerations:

(i) Client Impact: If you are motivated by seeing tangible results and building strong client relationships, Bain's approach may be a good fit.
(ii) Culture Fit: If you prefer a more informal, close-knit, and supportive work environment, Bain's culture might suit you best.

How to Decide Which Firm is the Best Fit for You

(i)Research and Networking:

Talk to current and former employees of each firm to get a sense of their experiences and the firm culture.
Attend firm-sponsored events and webinars to learn more about each firm's values and work.

(ii) Personal Preferences and Career Goals:

Reflect on what matters most to you in a workplace. Is it the prestige, the culture, the type of work, or the career development opportunities?
Consider your long-term career goals and which firm aligns best with those aspirations.

(iii) Office Differences:

Understand that office culture can vary even within the same firm. Try to learn about the specific offices you are interested in, as the experience can differ.

(iv) Fit with Firm Values:

Assess how well your personal values align with each firm's stated values and mission. This alignment can significantly impact your job satisfaction.

Final Thoughts
Each of the MBB firms offers a unique set of opportunities and experiences. By understanding the differences and reflecting on your own preferences and career goals, you can make a more informed decision about which firm might be the best fit for you. Good luck with your preparation and interviews!

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Anonym antwortete am 4. Aug. 2020

Hi, firstly good luck on your journey to consulting. I wish you the best.

Regarding offices:

Yes, there is a difference in the location of the office when it comes to how companies compare, but even when it comes to how companies fare compared to the same company elsewhere. What I could share is my experience in the UAE. Feel free to DM me for more information, but generally speaking, the UAE clients is mainly public sector driven (ministries, government entities, leadership offices). BCG has a great relationship with the KSA leadership and therefore supports many of their projects (such as building the new city NEOM). Bain focus more on private sector clients. McKinsey is a balance between the two. Bain has a relatively smaller office. BCG and Mckinsey are larger in size.

Regardig your personal fit:

The only way to determine this as an outsider is to network with as many people as possible. And I highly suggest visiting friends that work at these firms and hang out with them after hours. Perhaps take a tour of the office and meet people there.

Regarding pinpointing the exact differences:

I prefer to leave this answer to MBB alumnus and current employees. I have not worked in any of these firms. I currently work for Kearney.

Hope this helps!


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bearbeitete eine Antwort am 20. Jan. 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

All 3 firms are equally incredible place to work and would provide invaluable experiences to their consulants, boosting their future career prospects.

What would be crucial is to understand the different industrial and functional focus on different regions / offices and sees which one would fit you the most based on where you would like to be based on.

All these firms also expand rapidly, acquiring new business lines. Hence, looking at these territories are also advisable should it be of your interest.

In terms of knolwedge development, particularly for internal repository, McKinsey is leading on these (which I personally found very helpful), but the 2 firms are making an effort to address this area.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,


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Content Creator
bearbeitete eine Antwort am 17. Jan. 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

I have been working in the BCG office and I did the interviews also for Bain and Mckinsey, where I have many friends. It's really hard to summary the differences between these 3 offices but I will tray to address your points (focusing on Italian market):

  • Culture: The working culture is really similar in each office, the customer comes first, no matter what. Mckinsey is maybe still the office where you feel "more exclusive" but probably also the more though for work. Bain and BCG have developed a little "start up" attitude with some small initiatives that make your life better.
  • Growing: BCG has been impressively growing in the past years (double digit per year), while McKinsey has slowed down a bit in Italy . Bain has just joined the international network and is in the middle as growth.
  • Type of projects: I would say no difference between McK and BCG (there are often teams of both companies for the same client). Bain is doing these kind of projects but also differentiating a bit focusing on small projects (that's why you could experience double staffing even as new hire)

All of them are excellent offices and place to work, but you should try to understand which office is closer to your personality, also looking around and knowing people working there during the interviews. One aspect that you should consider is also the MBA policies, that are quite different between them.



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Content Creator
antwortete am 28. Mai 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


To add on top what´s been said, very little changes in terms of how to prep to interview. Ready for one, ready for all.



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bearbeitete eine Antwort am 19. Juli 2017
Prepping for case interviews

If you are talking about MBB I would always go for better cultural fit. I think there is very little difference between top consulting firms elsewhere. My impression is that the culture will depend also in the office to which you are applying.

To be honest I think very few people will have to make that choice given how low offer rates are at these firms. If you have the priviledge of getting offers from more than one MBB then I would suggest talking directly to people at these firms to get some insider tips.

In terms of reputation I don't see that much difference amongst MBB.


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Anonym bearbeitete die Antwort am 30. Apr. 2020

Hey A,

great question first of all;)

When I was in your shoes (I've got 2 offers from MBB, Oliver Wymann and Roland Berger) I decided to go for the later. Therefore, my view is highly subjective and describes rather my personal experience.

First of all, I would say you are absolutely wright with the assessment that there are not so many significant between the MBB / tier-1 (RB, OV, ATK, etc.) firms. Their corporate culture, working hours, type of tasks (projects & acquisitions) are very similar to each other. Small differences between the companies have already been pointed out, so there is no need to repeat them ;) The key difference in the culture comes out when you compare consulting with any other industry!

The decision to go for the offer from RB was driven by my gut feeling. And now after leaving consulting I would say it was absolutely right one. During the interviews with my future employer I felt I have already been linked somehow to these people and the partner. I wished they would become my future colleagues. After half a year it became true. The company provided me everything I was striving for: steep learning curve, vibrant working environment with some most brilliant minds, international exposure (in fact, I have only spend 3 months in Germany within the last 3 years between assignments in France, Benelux, Poland, Russia, South Korea, ... Afterwards being transfered to Dubai office) and of course great renumeration package. On the other hand, it also challenged me a lot in terms of personal commitment (overnights and work over the weekend), excessive travelling (around Europe and Asia) and pushed me to develop my leadership skills and exploit my full potential. My exit option was also great, therefore, I became a thankful and loyal alumni of RB.

It does not significantly matter which company you will choose. You will have your consulting ups and downs with any of them! The culture may vary a lot even within the one company, i.e. by geography, functional or industrial practice. For example, within RB I did a transition from the CC (Competence Center) Financial Services to Automotive in Germany. We have absolutely different mindset in these two CCs. While FS colleagues are more of "number freaks" (that's of cource meant ironically), Automotive folks are very attached to the product (car) and are trully international and open minded. Couple of years later I did a transfer from our Munich to Dubai office. It was like changing an employer, because the regional cultural difference could not have been bigger ;))))

What I only want to say is - listen to your gut feeling during and after the interview. Your first impression is always the right one! Every major consulting company is a very good choice to start your career after colleague. In fact, you will belong to the top 10% best paid colleague grads in your country with great career options afterwards.

Bear in mind, the I as your interviewer during the interview also want to make a good impression on you and want you to succeed and join our team;)

So good luck during the interview!


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Originally answered question:

What sets apart BCG from McKinsey and Bain?

antwortete am 25. Feb. 2018
Former BCG interviewer

That's the one question not to ask and that no consultant in any of the three consultancies is supposed to answer (at least in NAR).

The reason being that each consultancy belief is that they deliver value in a unique way and therefore there is no need to be drag into a comparison that can turn in a non flattering (for any of the parties involved) very quickly.


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Anonym antwortete am 30. Okt. 2022

This varies a bit by office but these are the main differences:

  • Industry-focus:
    • Bain: Typically very strong in PE, consumer goods
    • McKinsey: Typically very strong in Public Sector
    • BCG: Typically very strong in Financials Services, Energy
  • Staffing model:
    • Bain: Country staffing with international collaboration
    • McKinsey: Fully global staffing model
    • BCG: Region staffing model (e.g., SEA)
  • Culture

Hopefully this helps.


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antwortete am 16. Juli 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I have experience in working in both 2nd and 1st tier consultancies. According to my experience:

  1. Quality is much Higher at MBB. To give you a sence, what you are doing as an analyst at big4, at mck will be done by research department or even outsorced students. Though it's worth to say that if your director at big4 will be ex MBB, quality will be much higher
  2. Knowledge base - McK knowledge base is extremely deep and helpfull. You have tons of materials on various topics
  3. Support - at MBB you will have lots of people taking care of extra staff - doing research, visual design of slides, sophisticated models, oursourcing for making surveys in the field. At big4 you'll do that staff yourself
  4. Benefits - you will have better hotels, better dinners, better airline tickets, etc. This is important if you spend 90% of your life out of home
  5. Exposurte to senior management may be higher, though it depends on the country. Since the projects are more expensive at MBB, you may have more senior people involved
  6. Relocation to different countries - options highly depend on the org structure of MBB/Big 4 companiy. I've seen good and bad example in both. But since you have higher salaries and per diem, at MBB you'll definitely have a better lifestyle at MBB if you do relocation


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Anonym antwortete am 24. Dez. 2022

I got a good idea of fit once I interviewed with them and spoke to the consultants on the ground. Their stores, how they act and how they describe their work and training/fun in the office will give you a great sense of this.

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B antwortete am 19. März 2019
McKinsey cases only

What is your final assessment based on the answers you received?

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Originally answered question:

What sets apart BCG from McKinsey and Bain?

antwortete am 25. Feb. 2018

Hey anonymous,

Can you clarify whether you're asking how to approach this question if you get it in an interview or if you're just trying to gather information on differences (e.g., to write a cover letter)?

Because I've never seen the first case at all, if it's the second (and then it would a completely legitimate question) the main differences vs. McKinsey that I know both first hand experience and my BCG colleagues are:

- McKinsey is more international and not so much geography siloed

- BCG is more creative in building project from scratch (McKinsey leverages a lot an extensive pool of internal knowledge and it's more rare to start projects from 0)



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Anonym I antwortete am 19. Juli 2017

I'm not sure what you mean by better culture. For me the personal fit is more important than the name of the company. For me a "better" culture means that the personal fit between you and the company's culture is better. The reason is that better culture usually refers to a culture that seems preferable to you. Generally, I'd go for the company with the better personal fit, because I expect that it is easier to thrive there.

Given that you agree with me that a better culture is directly related to the personal fit, I'd go for the better culture.

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey, BCG or Bain?

Anonym antwortete am 27. Sept. 2016

All MBB have broad practices. Some have a particularly strong reputation.

McKinsey: government, infrastructuree, technology/tech, healthcare, and education sector.

Bain: PE, finance, LBO, media/entertainment

BCG: consumer, financial services, government

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey, BCG or Bain?

Anonym antwortete am 20. Sept. 2016

Hey Anonymous B,

a certain element of this is luck, of course.

But networking and recruiting events really help. Also during the recruiting day, there is a reason why you meet a bunch of different interviewers - this is also for you to get a feel for the company.

At my old firm there were always a couple of juniors that joined the lunch break to mingle and ease the tension for the interviewees. They were not part of the "official" recruiting team, so the conversations with them were a bit more "off the record".

Also, most consulting firms offer recruiting events that go on for two or three days to even a week. During those you can definitely get a good feel for the company.

And last, but not least, there's a good old thing called the internet. There's so many forums and places like prep lounge etc.. After a bit of time you see some general patterns emerging - Roland Berger being tougher, McKinsey being a bit nerdier etc.. Of course don't take that information as gospel, but it gives some good indications what to check out during an interview.



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Originally answered question:

McKinsey, BCG or Bain?

Anonym G antwortete am 20. Sept. 2016

Try to network with as much companies/consultants as possible via On-/Off-Campus Events, workshops, personal contacts etc.

You´ll fastly recognize that there might be (sometimes small) differences between the companies regarding the people working there and company culture.

However, sometimes the stereotypical consultant varies within one company even from practice group to practice group (e.g. the Restructuring/Corporate Finance competence center of Roland Berger is often said to be different from the others)

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey, BCG or Bain?

Anonym H antwortete am 19. Sept. 2016

I networked with a lot of the MBB's and they ultimately said the same thing about why they choose their respective firms - the people. At the end of the day, the MBB does the same thing, they consult. I would say the MBB all consult in similar functions and they aren't better than the other in the industries.

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Content Creator
antwortete am 30. Sept. 2023
ex Jr. Partner McKinsey |Senior Interviewer| Real Feedback & Free Homework between sessions|Harvard Coach|10+ Experience


Your assessment is correct – there's no universally "best" firm among McKinsey, Bain, and BCG. Instead, the best fit depends on your personal preferences, career goals, and the specific office or practice you're interested in. Here are some key points to consider when distinguishing between McKinsey and Bain:

1. Size and Global Presence: McKinsey is often seen as the largest and most globally expansive of the three, with a presence in numerous countries and industries. Bain, while also global, might be somewhat smaller in certain regions or practices.

2. Culture and Work Environment: Culture varies between firms and offices. McKinsey is known for its structured, data-driven approach, while Bain is often praised for its supportive and team-oriented culture. Researching specific office cultures can be valuable.

3. Client Focus: McKinsey often works with large multinational corporations, governments, and non-profits. Bain is also involved with major corporations but might place a slightly stronger emphasis on private equity consulting.

4. Projects and Specializations: Each firm may have strengths in specific areas. McKinsey is known for its strategy consulting, while Bain might be recognized for its results-oriented approach. Researching the practice areas can help you align your interests.

5. Career Development: All three firms offer robust training and development programs. However, the pace of promotion and opportunities for advancement can vary. Consider your career trajectory and which firm aligns better with your goals.

**6. Personal Fit:** Ultimately, your decision should be influenced by your personal fit with the firm's culture, values, and people. It's often beneficial to speak with current or former employees to get firsthand insights.

Choosing between McKinsey and Bain, or any consulting firm, is a significant decision. I recommend networking with current or former employees of both firms, attending information sessions, and researching specific office locations to get a feel for where you might thrive. Each office and practice can have its unique characteristics, so take the time to explore and evaluate which aligns best with your aspirations.

Warm regards,

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Content Creator
antwortete am 21. Sept. 2023
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

As has been indicated in other answers, all three firms play across similar types of projects and industries albeit in their own ways. There still are a few differences you are likely to find.

Industry focus

BCG is known for its strength in corporate development, innovation, and business growth. Bain is known for its expertise in working with private equity funds and other principal investors. McKinsey has a strong reputation across all industries. To be honest this is not very pronounced anymore but is more the general perception

Staffing model

BCG has a regional staffing model, which means that consultants are typically assigned to projects within their region. Bain has a country staffing model, with consultants assigned to projects within their country. McKinsey has a fully global staffing model, with consultants assigned to projects all over the world. Again, getting staffed in a project in Japan while working in the US at McKinsey is easier said than done and requires a lot of work on your end to make it happen but it can happen.


BCG is known for its collaborative and supportive culture. Bain is known for its "one firm, one team" culture, which emphasizes teamwork and collaboration. McKinsey is known for its competitive and results-oriented culture. Every person's experience of this will differ depending on the teams and projects they are staffed on.

Having worked at McKinsey and worked with people from BCG and Bain I can say that typically people from Bain are less aggressive and tend to be nicer but everyone is smart, driven and highly motivated.

Work-life balance

All firms are known to have terrible work life balance. Bain generally has a better reputation for work-life balance because they tend to work in their own offices vs traveling frequently to the client site.

Ultimately, the best way to decide which firm is right for you is to talk to people who currently work at or have worked at McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. Get their insights on the culture, the work, and the overall experience as all of this is highly variable and depends on which office/region you are applying to.

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Content Creator
antwortete am 19. Aug. 2022
50+ successful coachings / Ex-Mckinsey JEM & Interviewer / Industry + Engineering background

Hey anonymous,

Let me just add to this conversation that in some markets there are also inhouse consultancies, that can be mapped to the Tier 1 / 2 / 3 logic, e.g. in Germany / US / China often Siemens Management Consulting (now Strategy unit of Siemens Advanta Consulting) is seen similar to a Tier 1 (MBB) consultancy with competitive salaries until the EM level.



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Originally answered question:

McKinsey, BCG or Bain?

Anonym B antwortete am 21. Sept. 2016

Thank you very much guys! Great how you share your knowledge with us!

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