What do you think about BCG Gamma and data science?

BCG McKinsey
Edited on Sep 05, 2021
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 05, 2018

Hi all,

I would really like to hear your opinion on BCG Gamma and the potential/prestige of going into data science?

BCG Gamma is trying to advertise itself as being "front line data scientists". Being a generalist consultant with a Computer Science background, I find it hard to believe that BCG Gamma consultants will be as front line and as far up in the food-chain as generalist BCG consultants.

Do you have any inside on this?

Thanks.

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Andrea
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replied on Jan 06, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

BCG Gamma is indeed at the front line of data science (in the consulting world). However, as you speculated, they do not have the same client exposure than the generalist team has. The way I saw it working (second handed) is that a traditional BCG team gets augmented with a Gamma team to deliver a specific aspect of a project. In such cases it was clear that the traditional BCG partners where still the ones owning the relationship and the Gamma partners were on site only for specific updates on their modules.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

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Andrea
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replied on Jan 14, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

Apologies for not replying sooner – didn’t get notified of the follow up. I do not think things will change in future and traditional partners will still own the client relationship for the reasons An mentioned. That said, the three options you listed are very different in terms of career path. In my experience, the three options you listed work as follow:

  • The "digital" practices are now structured as divisions of McK/BCG where there is a path to Partnership. They can own the digital component of a client relationship (but not always do, it’s the traditional partner’s decision) and can pitch independently to new clients that the firm hasn't work previously with. Whereas if the firm has already worked with a client that needs digital work they need to go through the traditional partner who owns the relationship
  • TA is an actual practice within traditional BCG. Regular path to partnership, regular rules to pitch projects (Partners can own client relationship, share revenue with other partners when sell to clients that are not theirs). They do technology work for all industries, that sometimes includes digital too
  • Gamma is a division of BCG where there is a path to Directorship (salary + bonus vs. revenue credits). Gamma supports traditional BCG in answering questions the client poses, they do not own the relationship

Based on your desires I think BCG TA is the best fit.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

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An
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updated an answer on Jan 14, 2018
Google Product Manager | Ex- BCG Consultant | References Available

Hi Anon,

Responding to your last comment on whether "generalist partners" will own the client relationships in the future

My view on it is "yes" in medium term, perhaps it will change in the long term (after all, everything is changing!) but I am not sure. Here's why I think that:

1. Clients will still want answers to holistic strategic questions and "generalist"** partners can help coordinate to provide that - and they are highly incentivised to do so! Exceptional data science can enable key insights or parts of the answer, but often the answer could be something very holistic covering strategy, how to operationalize the strategy into a program, and actual implementation help. The partner will want to help the client through every step of this journey and a "generalist" skillset is perhaps better positioned.

**Also wanted to add some perspective on "generalist" partners. I wanted to use your language here in this question but I think partners are not that "generalist". At the partner level, there is industry and functional expertise (at least from a consultant point of view). Hence, whilst a partner may not know as much about detailed data science, they have very good understanding at the business problem level and which capabilities are required to solve those problems.

2. Partnership structure - in many markets, there are specific allocations of client relationships to specific partners. These are obviously taken by business-oriented partners (who can cover the range of support needs for this client or at least get access to the support required), hence any high functionally-oriented "data science" partners will have to find their role in these structures.

(edited)

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Marco-Alexander
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updated an answer on Sep 05, 2021
Former BCG | Case author for efellows book | Experience in 6 consultancies (Stern Stewart, Capgemini, KPMG, VW Con., Hor

(edited)

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Anonymous A replied on Jan 11, 2018

@andrea:

You mention that the generalist partners still "own the projects".
How do you think this will change in the future?

I mean, if you're a computer scientist that wants to be total front-line and one day become a partner within "tech", would you rather go into say McK Digital/BCG TA or BCG Gamma?

I am too a Computer Scientist and I really find this difficult to answer because I am intrigued by data science and its potential for the future, but I also want client interaction and I don't want to "work for" the generalist...

Thanks!

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Andrea on Jan 14, 2018

Apologies for not replying sooner. I do not think things will change in future and traditional partners will still own the client relationship for the reasons An mentioned. That said, the three options you listed are very different in terms of career path:

Andrea gave the best answer

Andrea

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Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer
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