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BCG Associate without prior consulting experience

BCG BCG middle east MiddleEast staffing
New answer on Sep 13, 2020
9 Answers
1.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 08, 2020

I apologise for this technical issue. I had written my question yesterday, but apparently there was an issue with the connection or something.

I am starting as an associate with BCG middle east in January, I have a master's degree in economics and one year academic research experience in public policy.

I am afraid my previous experience will affect my staffing (that's what I've been told by previous consultants). So any tips on:

1- how to get staffed fast?

2- Get the chance to be on a case that interests me, even if unrelated to my background.

thank you!

(edited)

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Mehdi
Expert
replied on Sep 08, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi there,

What is the question here? Can you please specify it? What do you want to know about the BCG Associate position?

Happy to help!

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Anonymous A on Sep 09, 2020

Hi Mehdi, thanks a lot! I just fixed it, I had a technical issue. If you can please take a look at it now. Much appreciated

Mehdi on Sep 10, 2020

Hi there, the BCG Associate position is a generalist one, and thus you are not likely to be assigned an expertise or preferred industry at the beginning. When you join, you can have a meeting with the staffing coordinator and explain to him/her what are your preferences. I believe that with your seniority, you should choose who to work with rather than the industry. Some Project Leaders/Principals are more known for onboarding young talents and coaching them on the job, while others are more hands-off and prefer to work with senior people who know how to drive a module independently. So my advice to you is do not worry about the practice/industry at the beginning, worry more about the team leader and the type of project (you might want to avoid doing Due Diligence at the beginning as they are super intense and you do not really have the opportunity to learn on the job). As for now (since you are not yet at BCG), work on reinforcing your Excel/PPT skills, read business magazines & newspapers and most importantly have fun and rest well before you start your job :-)

Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 08, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I believe we are missing the question here ;)

In McK, associates are post-MBA candidates, hence they have some working experience. However, not always in consulting.

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on Sep 09, 2020

Hi Clara! Apologies and thanks for pointing out the issue. I had posted the question yesterday but for some technical reason it didn’t show! If you can please take a look at it now.

Vlad
Expert
replied on Sep 08, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

One of the most important consulting skills is to asl questions in the right way. Just saying.

Overall 80-90% of incoming associates don't have prior consulting experience

Best

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Anonymous A on Sep 09, 2020

Hi Vlad! This is true, but for some technical reason my question didn’t post yesterday. If you can take a look at it now. Thank you!

Sidi
Expert
replied on Sep 09, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

On your questions:

1. In BCG (contrary to McKinsey for example), staffing is quite centralized. So there is nothing you need to do to get staffed fast. It is not in your responsibility (and mostly not even in your domain of influence for the first project at BCG!)

2. Yes, after your first project. But then you will have to build a relationship with the corresponding project leader / partner for this project. And, as indicated, at BCG the staffing coordinators are very powerful - so you also should build a very good relation to them, because they decide at the end of the day (as indicated - this is different compared to McKinsey).

Cheers, Sidi

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

#1 tip on controlling your staffing fate? Networking!

What? I thought I was done networking?!? Unfortunately, networking continues in the professional world long after you've recruited :)

So, when you join, make sure to put yourself out there and just...meet people! When making a coffee in the common room, strike up a conversation with the person there. Go to the Friday evening drinks (every Friday). Reach out to people in practice areas in which you're interested. Ask them to catch-up and have a chat about the practice / affinity group. Over time, you'll get a pulse for what projects are good/interesting, what people you like working with (and ask them if they have roles open on their projects), etc. etc.

Best person to network with? The staffing manager! They control your fate!

*Disclaimer: Obviously some of these are harder in a Covid world, but you get the gist.

*Disclaimer 2: Don't be annoying/needy! Especially with the staffing manager! If they think you're trying to play them, get on their good side, etc., they won't appreciate it. They're a perosn. Treat them like one, make a genuine connection, and then just form a strong working relationship (networking is relationships, not using people!)

#2 tip: Set expectations

Unfortunately, you ultimately don't have a ton of control on your staffing, especially in your early years, and even more especially for your first case. So, set expectations. You might get picked randomly. Or, someone will see your background and grab you for a related project. Over time, and through better connections, you can control your fate a bit better. However, recognize that - no matter what these companies say - you are their employee and they will staff you where makes sense for their model at that time.

I was rolling off a 5-week project and had networking heavily with the GAMMA guys at BCG. One of the Partners had me lined up for a super cool project that I was very excited for. Timing was perfect as their project was starting on week #6. Everything was lined up. Then....my 5 week project got extended by one week. The ship sailed, and I got assigned to another project after the 6 weeks was up. That's life!

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi, most of the associates do not have consulting experience. I recommend building some good connections in the office (project leader seniority at least) to be updated on new projects and be considered for staffing. Another good idea can be being continuously updated through the internal application/news from other associates about new projects and proactively text to project leaders/principals to show your enthusiasm about it

Best
Antonello

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello,

Do not worry so much about that, I started as BCG Associate with a degree in Mechanical engineering without prior consulting experience. ANswering your points:

  1. HR will take care of that, most of the new hires are staffed within the first week
  2. Not really, especially at the beginning you wil be staffed in a project where a new hire is needed. With e time you will build your network inside the company and you can push on the industries that you like most.

Best,
Luca

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Anonymous replied on Sep 13, 2020

Hey, which office are you starting at Doha or Dubai?

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Anonymous replied on Sep 09, 2020

On your two points:

  1. You shouldn't worry about getting staffed fast. The system will find you and get you on your first case straight away.
  2. Communicate your interests to staffing upfront and regularly when you check in with the staffing managers to make sure to be on their screen when a case that is interesting for you comes along. Especially on the more junior ranks (everything below Project Leader), there will hardly be any pre-determination to certain topics, even if you come from a specific industry.
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