BCG has now surpassed McKinsey in revenue

Boston Consulting Group MBB McKinsey & Company
New answer on Mar 01, 2023
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 09, 2022

BCG is now bigger than McKinsey - quite impressive - their revenue over FTE is better than McKinsey's. Seems that McKinsey's prestige is fading away with all the issues the firm is facing.

Just wanted to share this fact.

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Ashwin
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replied on Aug 09, 2022
Ex Consulting Director | Bain and company , Deloitte| INSEAD

Hey there ,

Thanks for sharing :) not sure about the source since both are private companies and not many reliable disclosures are available. 
 

Also revenue per FTE would be an accurate comparison measure only if both Mckinsey and BCG had identical consulting based services. 

However, Mckinsey has expanded (more than BCG) into solution based and implementation services (for example Mckinsey implements a analytics tool for a client and the clients pays a annual license fee to use the tool) that are not as high margin as traditional strategy consulting services but nevertheless it increases their overall revenue and profits . 

 

Thanks 

Ashwin 

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Anonymous updated the answer on Aug 10, 2022

I will not comment on issues of prestige or agree/disagree with the numbers presented, but my perspective is that it hardly surprises me (if it were true) that BCG has a larger revenue/FTE than McKinsey.

When I was at McKinsey, one of the things that blew me away was the availability of full-time support staff on tap to facilitate our professional excellence and our personal comfort.
While this certainly made our lives privileged and optimised, the size of that overhead cannot be ignored. 
Remember, client fees across MBB do not vary much (neither does compensation at the lower hierarchies), so if you're adding more personnel into the mix (whether directly via large Visual Design teams, dedicated Big Data professionals; or indirectly via the extended concierge services McKinsey has to support the non-client-related aspects of Consultants' lives), then that will diminish your revenue/FTE.
I do know from speaking to colleagues at BCG that we at McKinsey were quite pampered when it came to the availability of perks.

Further, McKinsey continues to outpace BCG into building out the firm beyond a strategy warehouse. There are now so many additional businesses at McKinsey (some of which are not popular among the legacy Consultants as they believe it dilutes the McKinsey brand and places expansion ahead of prestige) and these tend not to be as top-dollar earning as the usual project approach of EM + 3 /4/5 and the Partner. 

I think only an apples-to-apples comparison will serve, but, at any rate, who cares? Prestige will always be a valid factor for those considering (and currently pursuing) careers in MBB, but revenue/FTE will never approximate prestige…nor should it.

(edited)

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Anonymous B on Aug 11, 2022

Revenue/FTE might be more relevant for internal management at MBB firms.

Ian
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replied on Aug 10, 2022
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I'm not sure I agree here. The numbers I'm familiar with still put McKinsey in the lead. I would also still say McKinsey is still the clear cut #1.

This is a pretty nuanced/complex discussion that would require more than a Q&A debate! (In terms of where each will be in 5-10 years)

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Stanislav
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updated an answer on Aug 09, 2022
Ex-McKinsey AP | Interviewed 50+ candidates, gave 10+ offers | Own MBB-inspired cases | Oxford and Cambridge graduate

Hello there

Thanks for sharing this observation. Could you please share the source? If you are referring to the Wikipedia article, I'd be skeptical about comparing numbers taking from different sources, which is what they are doing. If you use the Forbes database that is the source for the McKinsey number in that Wikipedia article, you will see that in BCG's profile in the same database the number quoted is $8.6bn for 2021 revenues while in McKinsey's, $10.6bn. So you might be drawing on the discrepancy in the methodology between two sources to make an erroneous statement.

All of that by the way is relevant to data interpretation that you will get to do as a consultant. Keeping track and being critical of your sources is important to get your facts straight! 

Hope this perspective helps! 

(edited)

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Stanislav on Aug 09, 2022

Please note my comment above. You are comparing the revenue numbers from two different sources (BCG press release vs. Forbes database for McKinsey.), which often leads to wrong conclusions. In particular, if you look at the Forbes database only for BCG and McKinsey in 2021 on the very links you have provided, you will see that the BCG number is quoted at ca. 20% less. In such circumstances and with these sources, if this was within a consulting project, I would not accept a consultant's conclusion that "BCG is bigger than McKinsey" and would ask them to fetch comparable data or do projections of what the McKinsey number might look like based on BCG's reported value, knowing that a year ago there was a difference of ca. 20% according to one venerable source (Forbes). How likely do you think that BCG grew by 25% while McKinsey didn't in the same time period? Note also that BCG themselves are not making the claim of having become the largest among the top-3 companies. Hope this helps. Just trying to suggest a more critical way to look at your data sources before making far-reaching conclusions.

Sofia
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replied on Aug 10, 2022
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

Seems like you got a lively discussion going here about the revenue numbers!

Since a lot of people who frequent this forums are looking to get jobs in consulting, I just wanted to add that, regardless of the accuracy of the observation:

1. Revenue does not directly equal prestige! McKinsey and BCG both do a lot of great work with many interesting clients in a variety of markets, so there's no reason to dismiss one firm over the other just based on revenue.

2. Even if it did, there are many factors beyond prestige that you want to be considering when looking for a place of work. What is the office culture like, what clients do they work with, what sorts of responsibilities do you get, etc.

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Anonymous B replied on Aug 09, 2022

It surprises me that revenue per FTE is a meaningful metric for either firms.  I definitely don’t see the correlation with prestige…

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Anonymous D replied on Mar 01, 2023

Just randomly saw this chat and want to add an opinion on that (as Ex-McKinsey EM)…

First of all, please do not compare “prestige” with “profitability” - these times are slowly fading away when you hire a consultant based on the pure reputation. Things like, region, sector, function coverage are by far more relevant when it comes to these descisions. And especially, at times like now, probably fees matter the most (restructuring projects are sold with a heavy discount). Overall, I think the observation that McKinsey is building up more support services and “sub-entities” (Lumics, Orphos, etc.) which charge lower fees but also pay less to the consultants (hence lower Rev/FTE). But this is part of the overall strategy to grow - nowadays the clients can often do their own strategy and need rather a review or Benchmark (oh how I cannot hear this word anymore) - hence you need to create additional value add. McKinsey was always known for sending “young, unexperienced graduates” to clients by saying that they have smart people who will understand the problem fast, even if they have never done a similar project before. This business case worked in the past but gets more and more crushed by ex-consultants being clients now. To fight against it, McKinsey pushed towards implementation. BCG and Bain on the other hand were alsways far more “functional”-focussed firms (esp. Bain with their Commercial DD/PEPI focus), there you train the people to focus on sectors and functions to generate more value-add. As a result they don't need to dilute their revenue as much. Haven't looked at the number, but I would expect that Bain has even the highest margin of all of them. But what matters the most: For anybody up to Associate Partner/Principal these things don't matter much, as pay won't be significant different. The big difference comes for Partners or esp. Senior Partners, who “feel” the different profitability (here I know based on more than a handfull of Senior Partner pay-ranges that Bain Senior Partners earn 1.5-2 times more than a McKinsey ones). But again - likelyhood to stay up until that role and get elected is quite low, hence irrelevant.

On the prestige thing again - McKinsey lost on this point continuously given their strong focus on the public sector and as a result being focus of media. But still, if it comes to career opportunities post-consulting, I would frame it this way:

Go for McK, if you want to go for a typical corporate role afterwards. McK has the best network, which will help you to be directly recognized within every corporate.

Go for BCG, if you are rather a startup/bizdev person, as BCG people tend to focus on building their own business/being a bit more out of the box if it comes towards long-term career goals.

Go for Bain, if you are into Finance or esp. Private Equity Exits. Their platform, toolkit, infrastructure is by far the best and gives you the best training as well as network to make an Exit into this direction.

 

So, lot's of words - but hope this gives you a better view on this topics.

 

Cheers

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Anonymous B replied on Aug 09, 2022

Hi, could you elaborate more on the various issues?

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Anonymous A on Aug 09, 2022

The biggest is the Opioid scandal - and various other issues, e.g., women resigning from the firm on Values Day because of being harassed by leadership

Anonymous C on Aug 09, 2022

Great analysis by BCG… LOL

Ashwin gave the best answer

Ashwin

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Ex Consulting Director | Bain and company , Deloitte| INSEAD
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