BCG career track

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New answer on May 19, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 21, 2019

Hi all

I have about 5 years of industry experience in 2 industries. When I apply to BCG, what options do I have?

I know they have Expert and General track. Would I be eligible to both?

If so, what are the pros and cons of each?

thank you.

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Anonymous B replied on Jun 21, 2019


from a recent recruitment event, I understood the following:

  • new hires (after completing a masters degree for example) are usually a generalist for a few years, but you are really responsible for the types of projects you want to do
  • you are obligated to pick one of their practices or industries at the very last once you are promoted to project leader (along their matrix)

Matrix Setup (how the company is organized, which practices exist):

  • generally, they are organized in industries (e.g. pharma/healthcare, industrial goods) and practice fields (e.g. strategy, operations, etc.)
  • Project are usually at one if not more of the intersections of these practices

What are your options if you are unsure about which practice or industry you want to go into or are a mature hire?

  • Once you enter, they presented three paths you can take (for your first year, I believe as part of being a generalist):
    • Diversity: If you want to experience multiple projects in different industries and practices this is the one
    • Expert: if you are set on an industry or practice and want to gain as much experience as possible in this field, choose this one
    • International: If you want to be staffed on projects in different countries, regardless of which type (usually a diverse mix, too), then this option is for you

During and after, you will be responsible for your own staffing (i.e. reaching out to project leaders/partners who have sold a certain project), so are pretty much in charge of which type of projects you are doing regardless of whether or not you are able to do the three tracks that I layed out.

Again, this is just what I remember them telling us, so don't quote me on it, but it should give you a first idea. Signing up for 'Backstage' events near you is a good way to learn about these things, though!

All the best :)

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Samuel replied on May 19, 2020

At the time of this writing and to the best of my knowledge, you have the following options to select from:

  1. Generalist (Mckinsey and BCG)
  2. Specialist (Mckinsey and BCG)
  3. BTO (IT Strategy and Digital in BCG)
  4. Implementation (Mckinsey and BCG)

Generalist Path:

  • Power bases of the firm, traditional track for running the firm
  • You can’t specialise here at the early stages. In fact, you don’t wasn't to specialise here until you have gotten to the EM level.
  • Relatively hard to get into as most people apply to this path
  • You will spend a significant amount of time here breaking down problems, collecting data to conduct analysis, interacting with client’s representatives or the client themselves(depending on your level) and also putting the problem back together to make a recommendation(mostly at the senior level).

Specialist Path:

  • As the name implies, you are specialist—hired to do one thing that you have been historically known to do well.
  • It is not one role but a catchphrase for many roles the firm has where specialization is required.
  • It is not a track to partnership - you cannot be an equity partner (at least in Mckinsey and BCG)
  • You are not stuck on one engagement at a time. An engagement runs into some issues or they need your expertise, you get called in to help them identify the issue. And once you are done, you get kicked out in a nice way. Back to whatever it is you were doing before.
  • You don’t maintain or manage the client relationship. You are behind the scene. And like Micheal Boricki would say “You are that cousin no one wants at the party.”
  • And ohhh, you are most likely stuck in this track for life. Switching is nearly impossible at the time of this writing and to the best of my knowledge.

BTO (IT Strategy and Digital in BCG) Path:

  • A close cousin of the generalist track. You learned everything the generalist learn and more.
  • IT is the future of the world and you will be focused on solving problems of that nature.
  • Understanding data and technology is important for this role.

Implementation Path:

  • Founded in Australia
  • Newest of all tracks/paths so many stuff are relatively experimental
  • A lot of its capability sits in Australia, you may want to go to Australia
  • The skillset required for this path is radically different from the rest of the track. You are not going to learn the problem-solving skillset of a generalist
  • Your focus is on executing recommendations made by the generalist or other consulting firms
  • You have nothing to do with operations. Operations consultants are a highly trained specialist at Mckinsey. Don’t mix up the two
  • Lowest salary across board/region
  • It is about building trust and getting people to understand what is to be done.
  • You don’t set the pace, the employees of your client generally do.
  • Experience is key here. You must have a track record of implementing/executing plans.

I hope these provide you with the clarity you need.

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replied on Jun 21, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It depends on how many years you have in a particular industry. I would say that if you have less than 3.5 years in an industry / function - apply as a generalist

Generalist track in most of the cases will have faster growth and more options and opportunities. The only exception is any Digital track - these topics are booming now


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