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BCG specific: can someone explain the difference between an associate and consultant please?

associate BCG consultant
New answer on Oct 12, 2023
5 Answers
21.7 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 01, 2019

I mainly would like to know from a BCG-only hiring perpective. What are the experiences, academic levels expected for associates and consultants at BCG. Also, there are numerous other titles that confuse me over and above these 2 like associate consultants, senior associates, junior consultants etc. It will be very helpful to know the distinction between these since even the BCG website doesn't elaborate on this - I came across it on Glassdoor.

Are the graduates from MBA/ non-MBA masters courses without experience hired as consultants or associates?

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 12, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer


Sharing a comprehensive perspective on BCG positions and titles. The normal progression looks like this:

Associate (2 yrs) → Senior Associate (1 yr) → Consultant (2 yrs) → Project Leader

  • Associate is the role you join right out of undergraduate
  • Consultant is the role you join right after MBA
  • Not all markets have Senior Associate
  • If you are a non-MBA experienced hire with existing working experience, typically <5 years you will join as a Senior Associate


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Anonymous replied on Dec 22, 2022

MBAs and those with significant work experience (normally 4+ years) are hired as consultants.

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Content Creator
replied on Jul 02, 2019
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Associate = Associate Consulant = Lowest level (think Analyst). Few years of experience

Junior Consultant = Senior Associate = An "in between" of Associate and Consultant that is pretty rare and for special situations

Consultant = 4+ years experience and generally an MBA or equivalent

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Content Creator
replied on Jul 01, 2019
5+ Years at BCG & Kearney Dubai & Istanbul | 400+ Trainees | Free 15-min Consultation Call


Associate is the entry level position, which does not require an MBA degree. Most associates have either graduate or post graduate degree. In some offices, there is a distinction between junior associate (or simply associate) and senior associate. One reaches senior associate position after 2-3 years of junior associate (or simply associate) role. Consultant position is post MBA position.

To recap, graduates from MBA are typically hired as consultants, and graduates from non-MBA masters without experience are hired as associates.



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Anonymous A on Jul 01, 2019

Thanks a lot for the clarification! Would the graduates from non-MBA masters be hired as associates even when they have work experience (non-consulting) of say 3-4 years in finance/ social sector research?

Deniz on Jul 01, 2019

I guess this would depend on the office. I sometimes saw people with 3 4 years non consulting background hired as associates, but they were given 1 or 2 years of tenure.

Anonymous A on Jul 01, 2019

Understood. Again, thanks a lot!

replied on Jul 02, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It's very easy:

  • Associate - fresh grad with minimum experience (0.5-2 years)
  • Consultant - MBA grad or experienced hire (3-4+ years of experience)

You can either grow to senior associate within the company or you can be hired as SA if you have enough work experience for the role and demonstrated good performance on the case interview.


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Benjamin gave the best answer


Content Creator
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer
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