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Differences between the roles in McKinsey and Bain

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New answer on Apr 22, 2024
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 21, 2024

Hi all, I would like to ask a question in regards to the differences between the titles of the roles in McKinsey and Bain - and their responsibilities and degree of ownership.

A bit of background on myself, I am turning 29 this year and I have more than 2+ years of working experience within the startup space and manufacturing, and in addition, I have a Master's in Management degree. I am considering transitioning into management consulting by the end of this year, and I have been preparing and honing my case-cracking skills since June of last year, and would like to apply this year for the end of 2024 start or early 2025 start.

I have looked into the Bain and McKinsey websites, and I understand that both firms have different hiring structures, and different types of titles on the roles within their respective firm. I am planning to apply to the Associate Consultant role at Bain and Business Analyst role at McKinsey. But considering that I am 28 years old, and is no longer considered a “fresh graduate” and have some solid professional experience, would it still be realistic to apply for these entry-level roles? At the same time, I am also looking at the Junior Associate role at McKinsey and the Consultant role at Bain to see whether giving a shot for either of these roles is realistic, as well. I am still undecided on which side to progress on. Therefore, if any of you here have some valuable information that you can share on the roles themselves, expectations, and degree of responsibility and ownership, I would be very happy to listen and compare notes. I understand that every applicant's career progress and journey will be different in every firm, but, I just need some insights for benchmarking, before taking the next steps, to make sure I didn't make a mistake and can prepare accordingly, based on the roles' expectations. As for myself, I do not mind applying to any of these roles, as long as it is a realistic approach, and as I also have a passion for the consulting discipline. 

Any of your advice is highly appreciated.

Thank you in advance. 

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Best answer
Cristian
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 21, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

I fully understand the concern.

Honestly, the best way to address it is to speak directly with the recruiter. 

That's because there are also differences between role ‘hierarchies’ between regions. For instance, some regions don't only have BA and then straight to Associate in McKinsey, but Junior BA, BA, Senior BA, Junior Associate, Associate, Senior Associate, etc. 

For BA, indeed, you don't need to have had previous full time work experience. For Associate, however, they typically want around 5y of relevant work experience. If you are somewhere in between, then some of the ‘intermediary’ roles from above might suit you better if they happen to offer them in your geography. 

This sends us back to what I was saying in the beginning - speak with the recruiter.

Since you're applying for jobs at the moment, you might also find this guide useful:

Best,
Cristian

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 22, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: I have more than 2+ years of working experience. Considering that I am 28 years old, would it still be realistic to apply for these entry-level roles?  

With 2 years of experience, you should still match the entry-level role (Business Analyst at McKinsey, Associate Consultant at Bain). To move up to the next level (Associate at McKinsey, Consultant at Bain), typically you would need either (i) an MBA or (ii) 4/5+ years of experience, so, from what you shared, it doesn't seem to fit your experience.

In some regions, they might also offer an intermediary role (eg at McKinsey, Senior Business Analyst or Junior Associate) to bridge the gap between these two positions. If you find these intermediate positions on their website (their presence varies by region), they usually specify the required years of experience.

If you apply for the entry-level role (Business Analyst/Associate Consultant) and receive an offer, given your work experience, they might acknowledge your seniority and allow you to join with 6 months to 1 year of experience.

Good luck!

Francesco

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

Hi there,

No matter to which role you apply, recruiters will align your profile to the appropiate role based on your experience.

Being said that, these are the main responsibilities of each role:

  • Business Analyst: run analysis, craft pages and lead small parts of a workstream
  • Junior Associate: same as BA but having more ownership over a workstream and working with less supervision (more independent)
  • Associate: own a full workstream, running analysis, crafting pages, leading client meetings / client relationship within the workstream and, sometimes, managing 1-2 team members

In parallel, you can check how the recruiting process works from an internal MBB perspective here:

MBB Hiring Hacks - Behind the Curtain Secrets

Best,

Alberto

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

Best,

 

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Agrim
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 22, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

Roles are specific to the firms, and now also specific to the regions. Do not try to compare them - it is worse than trying to understand time-travel. Instead, focus on pitching your profile well, and getting an assessment from the recruiter or your referee on what is the best entry point specific to you.

While the 2+ years of experience is a bit light, the MiM is tilting the scales to the other side. But we need more info about you to give a better answer.

And like I already said - the recruiter and referees are best positioned to take a call.

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

1. If you apply to a level that is too low, they will move you up to the higher role

2. With 2-3 years experience, it's the analyst/associate role (although most likely an “experienced” role within this rank). With 5+ years experience, it's a post-MBA role (associate / consultant)

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Cristian gave the best answer

Cristian

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