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Company Culture: McKinsey, BCG, Bain

Bain BCG company culture McKinsey
New answer on Apr 22, 2024
4 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Apr 20, 2024

Hello community, 

I would like to know more about the company culture of each of these three firms. I always hear people who joined BCG saying “I joined BCG because of the culture” but I also hear people who joined McKinsey saying “I joined McK because of the culture”, and guess what people who join Bain say? Excatly the same :D 

Can you please share 2-3 reasons that really differentiate these three companies in terms of company culture? 



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updated an answer on Apr 22, 2024
Systemiq | Ex-BCG | 10 years experience with 8+ specialising in sustainability | Free Intro | Ex-PrepLounge candidate

I completely agree with Cristian's comment. 

I did an internship at Bain (Singapore office), worked full time at BCG (Malaysia office) for a couple years, and now have been at Systemiq (UK office) for 4 years (Systemiq was set up by ex-McK Partners and consultants so it's not McK but I've worked closely with ex-McK folks). 

Each office has its own vibe and culture. The smaller the office is, the more the culture is driven by the few Partners' personalities and the local culture. 

I suggest you reach out to folks in the offices you're targeting to get a true sense of the vibe. 


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Content Creator
replied on Apr 20, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

I might have an unpopular opinion here, but I can't say that I find a significant difference in the culture.

There are much bigger differences between offices within the same firm (e.g., McKinsey Munich vs. McKinsey Atlanta) than between firms (e.g., McKinsey Munich vs. McKinsey BCG). 

I spent 5y at McK while my wife was in parallel for 5y in BCG. I have friends in all the MBBs in different locations and, in the past few years, have coached multiple candidates to enter MBBs across the world. 

The bottom line is that there is no huge difference. Similar approach. Similar clients. Similar engagements. 

Maybe, if there is one thing that I'd mention is that there are differences in culture triggered by the fact that they have significantly different staffing models

McK - international

BCG - regional

Bain - local

That means that McK is, in that sense, more like the military because everybody gets the same training everywhere, and you're all expected to merge together in a matter of hours even though you're from different corners of the world and you just met. 

whereas Bain tends to staff people from within the same office as a team, which, depending on how you see it, has its own pluses and minuses.


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replied on Apr 22, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

You know what is funny? Is that behind closed doors they are quite candid in admitting that culture is quite similar across firms, and while not necessarily being exactly equal, they're more alike than different, and office culture is much more relevant than company culture.

Having said this, I have worked in four (five) different consulting firms, and found relevant differences, and that some of those differences were deeply rooted in their culture and beliefs. 

For example, regarding MBB, Bain really valued being “True North” and being “Answer First” and their people tended to be more outgoing than average across majority of offices. 

The real issue here is that to understand how a company really lives its values, you need to speak to a consultant that has been there for a while, has thought about it, but has worked for some other firm before. It's only those that are able to understand what is different from each other.

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 22, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Totally aligned with previous responses. 

I suggest you tailor your reasons reviewing the values section within each firm's website. Get the culture elements that resonates with you and use them as your “because of the culture” reasons.



Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Iman gave the best answer


Systemiq | Ex-BCG | 10 years experience with 8+ specialising in sustainability | Free Intro | Ex-PrepLounge candidate
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