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Consulting roles at MBB?

Anonymous A

Hi all,

I am a bit confused on the different types of roles you can find inside MBB companies. For example, an Associate at BCG is something different from an Associate at McKinsey. Seemingly the same is true for Principlas. So how do the roles differ in the different MBB companies? Thank you!

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Sidi replied on 05/07/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 50+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

you are right - there are certain roles which have the same name but differ slightly. However, the general career progression on the "classical" consulting track is almost identical across the three MBB firms. Here is a structured description of the levels:

Level I

McKinseyBusiness Analyst (BA)

BCG“Associate”

Bain“Associate Consultant” (AC)

Description: First two years out of undergraduate degree.

Level II

McKinsey – “Associate” (ASC)

BCG“Consultant”

Bain“Consultant”

Description: first post graduate school role (but with roughly 10–30% as direct promotes from Level I across firms).

Level II b

McKinsey – “Junior Engagement Manager” (JEM)

BCG“Senior Consultant” / ”Acting PL”

Bain“Case Team Leader” (CTL)

Description: third year after grad school and bridge to Project Manager role. Not a “formal” promotion at the firms, but definitely a precursor for promotion/designation.

Level III

McKinsey – “Engagement Manager” (EM)

BCG“Project Leader” (PL)

Bain“Manager”

Description: 3–7 years after grad school and responsible for day-to-day oversight of teams and main contact for client project leader. This is a formal promotion and a significant career turning point at either firm. Reaching Level III sort of proves full mastery of the general consulting toolkit in MBB quality, including team management and operational client management.

Level IV

McKinsey – “Associate Partner” (EM)

BCG“Principal” (PL)

Bain“Principal/Senior Manager”

Description: after 2–4 years as a Project Manager (Level III), signals greater focus on relationship management and commercial skills. Time is split across several teams to give content and context guidance. Partner case is built.

Level V

McKinsey – “Partner”

BCG“Partner”

Bain“Partner”

Description: on average 6–8 years after grad school. Highly engineered, formal promotion process involving a committee decision with broad spectrum of Partners from multiple global offices with stringent interviews and performance documentation process.

Level VI

McKinsey – “Senior Partner/Director”

BCG“Senior Partner”

Bain“Senior Partner”

Description: effectively, Partners with tenure. Exact mechanics are a little vague, but generally Partners with 4+ years experience in the role with a consistent track record of client impact, commercial success, and meaningful IP development.

(edited)

Vlad replied on 05/07/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Agree with all of the above. You can just map the similar roles by comparing the websites.

The full career ladder at McKinsey is the following:

Hi,

Actually, it's a bit different at McKinsey:

1) Intern - Internship for students after which you are supposed to get a full-time offer

2) Business Analyst (BA) - an entry role, well-defined, with a strict time frame of 2 years

3) Senior Business Analyst (SBA) - Usually lasts 1-1.5 years. You can get this position on the job offer if you have 1.5-2.5 years of experience prior to consulting

4) Fellow Associate - The short role that some of the candidates may get. There are two possible scenarios:

  • After the interview, if you don't have enough relevant experience for an associate role / performed not perfectly in the interview. If you have never worked in consulting this is a good starting point since you can get more experience before starting to manage projects and have more time to improve if you fail at something
  • As a promotion from SBA position if you are not getting MBA and your performance is not good enough to get a DTA (Direct to Associate promotion)

5) Associate. An associate is a very short-term role - 1-2 years

6) Junior Engagement Manager (JEM) - In a year you'll start leading a project as an Associate and after the first successful project, you'll become a JEM - junior Engagement Manager. After leading several successful projects as a JEM you'll get promoted to an Engagement Manager.

7) Engagement Manager (EM) - basically leading the projects for 2-3 years

8) Associate principal - Leading multiple projects, guiding EMs. 2-3 years

9) Partner

10) Director

Best

Andrea
Expert
replied on 05/07/2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years

Agreed with other answer. Couple of clarifications:

-These are career paths for generalist track, expert track can differ at level 4/5 (in BCG associate director and director)

-The promotion from Partner to Senior Partner, at least in BCG, is a quite significant hurdle

-Level 2b in BCG doesn't formally exist in most countries - meaning that there is no formal change in title or compensation (besides usual annual increase)

-In BCG instead there is a level 1a "Senior Associate" that comes with a formal change in title and compensation

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