First management consulting company in the world

BCG management consulting McKinsey
New answer on Aug 11, 2022
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 10, 2022

Was McKinsey really the first management consulting company? Wasn't it Arthur D Little from which BCG was spun off, as a PoC for management consulting? 
Wasn't at that time (1963) McKinsey still focusing on Accounting Advisory rather than Strategy which happened to come later in the early 70s once they recognized the success of BCG?

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Emily
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replied on Aug 10, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

Good question!

My understanding is that Arthur D. Little is generally seen as the first strategy consulting firm (founded 1886). BCG was founded in 1963 by Bruce Henderson - as a consulting subsidiary as part of the Boston Safe Deposit Company. Henderson was recruited from Arthur D. Little. So in a way BCG was founded on institutional knowledge dating back to 1886.

McKinsey on the other hand was founded in 1926, which is why its seen as the oldest of the MBB firms.

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Florian
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replied on Aug 11, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

McKinsey was not the first, yet the best to market itself and its history. A large part of McKinsey's reputation and heritage actually came with Marvin Bower taking over the firm and transforming it into what it is today.

Cheers,

Florian

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Cristian
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replied on Aug 11, 2022
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Hi there, 

Management consulting itself has changed so much over the past century that it's difficult to tell who ‘actually’ did it first. 

McK is seen as the oldest and largest survivor of the methodology that was applied then, but it's likely there were other, smaller firms around at the time that just aren't here anymore today.

Best,

Cristian

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Ian
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replied on Aug 11, 2022
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Hi there,

That's about right, but it's all about how you define it! Of course, every firm has the incentive to say they were the “first” in something. So one might say the first to do consulting, the other might say the first consulting shop, the other might say strategy as opposed to management consulting, etc. etc. :)

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Emily gave the best answer

Emily

Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad
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