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

Anonymous A asked on Jul 01, 2019 - 3 answers

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?

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Anonymous replied on Jul 02, 2019

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

replied on Jul 01, 2019
BCG | A.T. Kearney | University of Cambridge | 150+ coachees | 5+ years of consulting experience in London, Dubai and Istanbul
Book a coaching with Deniz

100% Recommendation Rate

112 Meetings

485 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching


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.



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? — Anonymous A 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. — Deniz on Jul 01, 2019

Understood. Again, thanks a lot! — Anonymous A on Jul 01, 2019

replied on Jul 02, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

365 Meetings

5,386 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching


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.


Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Related case(s)

BCG Questions

Solved 22.8k times
4.5 5 200
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where y ... Open whole case