Have a look at the below short explanation of every generic role in MBB firms, including BCG Project Leader.
McKinsey – Business Analyst (BA)
BCG – “Associate”
Bain – “Associate Consultant” (AC)
Description: First two years out of undergraduate degree.
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.
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 day-in-day-out team management and operational client management.
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.
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.
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.