BCG or Bain

Bain BCG
New answer on Aug 17, 2022
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 16, 2022

I need to decide between BCG and Bain - they seem to me as if they have more in common than both with McKinsey. After speaking with people from both and doing my own research, I still don't know which to pick. Can you help me decide, please?

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Kiran
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Aug 16, 2022
Former McKinsey Consultant (ranked top 3-5%)|McKinsey interview coach, 50+ sessions|30% off first session|Tech Investor

Hi there! First off huge congrats on getting both offers. This is not super common. The below is my two cents (without much bias, I was at McKinsey).

The short the answer is you should go with whichever firm's people you liked/enjoyed meeting the most. As such I would suggest asking to meet as many folks at both places as possible (potentially in practices you're excited about) across different levels. At the end of the day this is a people business and you will be spending most of your time with colleagues in a team room/on the road so it's important you get on with them.

Some key differences to bear in mind (that I have heard anecdotally and having interacted with friends at all levels at all three firms), this will of course differ by office. 

1) Industry expertise: Whilst both consulting firms are generalist full service firms:

  • Typically Bain will win and serve on the highest profile private equity/principal investor projects (even vs McKinsey)
  • Bain typically is not known for public sector work, whereas BCG does typically does a lot
  • BCG (via BCG DV) will do a lot of digital work & digital business building
  • On other kind of projects (e.g., classic private sector strategy pieces/transformations) net net globally, you will get on par exposure between the two firms

2) Exits: Having just been through a buyside exit process, PE/growth funds, typically prefer Bain, given the PE focus; so if you think PE/the buyside might be for you after consulting, this is something to consider (this is not saying you can't do it from BCG, perhaps on the margin easier from Bain). Other exits, I would say are equally accessible from both firms.

3) Staffing: 

  • My understanding, is that Bain staffing model (at least for most juniors) is more ‘command and control’ (at least earlier on) vs. BCG, where you can have slightly more control over the type of projects you do (via networking etc. vs. Bain where you express preferences to your staffer as opposed to actively finding projects). This is therefore personal preference depending on how much you enjoy networking/have strong preferences on what you want to do. 
  • Typically, Bain staffs more locally than BCG, where it's more regional, so you maybe travelling a little more with BCG

 

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Sofia
Expert
replied on Aug 17, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching | DISCOUNTED SESSIONS Sep 2022 | Free 15 min intro call

Hello,

Congratulations on getting both offers, that is very impressive! You really cannot go wrong here, and will have the same caliber of opportunities at either firm. I would think about what you are trying to solve for here (salary, career progression, catering to a certain type of client, etc.), office location, and what you gathered about the work culture after talking to people in both offices. I definitely don't think there's an objective answer here.

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 17, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

First, recognize that you can't go wrong - either pathway is a great one…congrats!

  1. Figure out your core values (culture, money, prestige, career, learning, etc.). Pick 2-3
  2. Figure out how well BCG + Bain match those core values
  3. Network + speak to people if you need
  4. Potentially speak with a career advisor
  5. Go with your gut

Good luck!

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 16, 2022
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Answers here will be more helpful if you articulate what you're trying to optimize for (e.g., exit opportunities or work life balance etc.) and which region you're in. 

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 17, 2022
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, congrats on the multiple offers! Both are great, so you are not going to take the wrong decision. 
Two crucial data to better help you in the choice are the geography and the target industries you are interested in for projects and future opportunities.

Best,
Antonello

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 17, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

What are your goals and preferences? You need to first figure these out, then we can provide targeted and focused input on these metrics. Think about:

  • Values
  • Staffing
  • Lifestyle
  • Type of work
  • Exit plans
  • Personal freedom
  • Educational sponsorship available
  • Leave policies

Cheers,

Florian

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Kiran gave the best answer

Kiran

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Former McKinsey Consultant (ranked top 3-5%)|McKinsey interview coach, 50+ sessions|30% off first session|Tech Investor
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