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How to negotiate with BCG to join as Project Leader?

BCG projectleader
New answer on Feb 28, 2024
7 Answers
239 Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 24, 2024

I come from Mechanical engineering background. I have 10 years of Project Management experience in a top-tier Automotive OEM, 5 years co-founding experience in Robotics startup. I recently graduated from a top-tier MBA program and just applied BCG. However, with 15 years industry experiences and also combination of big corporate and enterpreneurship experience. I don't want to just join in as a consultant who typically have much less industry experience than me. 

Based on my call with the HR, I have a feeling that they are quite interested in me and the HR will help me talk to MDP to see if it's possible to bring me in as a PL. 

Can you give me some suggestions how can I negotiate to ask for a more senior role than regular MBA hires to commensurate with my experience? Thank you!! 

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Benjamin
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replied on Feb 24, 2024
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Interesting question and very relevant for many experienced hires with significant industry experience.

If I can give some advice based on having gone through the ranks at BCG and also seen my fair share of lateral / experienced hires succeed or crash and burn:

  • I would suggest that you negotiate to join as a C2 (consultant year 2), and not directly as a PL
  • The reality is that the PL role is really the most difficult / challenging role in consulting, and it is a very steep learning curve even for homegrown consultants, much less lateral hires or experienced hires without previous consulting experience
  • Joining as a C2 (if not C1) will at least let you learn abit of the ropes of doing the consultants job before you try and manage a team in consulting 
    • Arguably, even a year is not that long to learn the core skills that are needed to make a good consultant
  • You may feel that your project management experience gives you an edge over your peers, and this will be true to a certain extent, but based on my experience, there is often a delta in expectations and intensity of what you may have been used to versus what is expected in MBB

I have personally known people with 8-12 years of work experience in industry and have joined BCG as C2s or even C1s. I am not saying that you will never succeed if you manage to even get a PL role, but based on my observations I have seen more lateral hires suffer than actually excel if they do not have prior consulting experience.

Hope this helps - happy to have a more detailed chat, just dm me.

 

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 25, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offer! In terms of your question:

Q: Can you give me some suggestions how can I negotiate to ask for a more senior role than regular MBA hires to commensurate with my experience? 

It is quite difficult to join directly as a Project Leader without previous consulting experience, however you might be able to negotiate a fast-track promotion, meaning that if you perform well, you could move from Consultant to PL after a few months. This will also decrease the pressure to perform well as PL from the start, as mentioned by Benjamin.

The best way to have leverage in a negotiation is to have an “opportunity cost”, meaning another offer for a position similar to the one you would like.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Anonymous A on Feb 25, 2024

Thanks Francesco, may I know how long typically is the fast track?

Francesco on Feb 26, 2024

Hi there, it depends on several elements, the shortest I heard was 6 months. Good luck!

Cristian
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replied on Feb 26, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

I typically tell people not to negotiate for more senior roles if they're planning on being mid to long-term in consulting. I already wrote about this here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/seniority-negotiation-20046?location=home

So, instead of writing the same thing, let me tell you about an example from when I was in consulting. 

McK recruited the CTO of a large european software - I was serving this client at that time. They started him off as Senior Associate (yes, you read that right). He made Partner in 4 years, quickly cycling through EM and AP. 

Starting him off as Senior Associate was very smart because, realistically, the guy was amazing but had no experience on how to be part of a McK team or lead one. This way, he had one year to adjust and then got promoted to EM. 

Typically, all the people that I saw coming in at a more senior level (and who had pushed for this more senior level), were rather tragic characters, constantly burned out and overwhelmed. 

In short, you might get the EM role directly, but it might not be the best thing for you. 

Best,
Cristian

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Ian
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replied on Feb 26, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

3 things:

  1. Get a coach (to help you with wording, etc.)
  2. Ace the case interview
  3. Ace the behavioral 

Seriously. You have to crush the interview and SHOW THEM that you are Project lead level. The better you do, the more likely you can land that.

The more seriously you take the prep (long timeline, professional coaching, etc.), the better your odds.

The Most Common Pitfalls in Case Interview Preparation
 

Dos and Don'ts in a Case Interview
 

How to Shift Your Mindset to Ace the Case
 

Candidate-Led Cases: What to Expect With Example Cases

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Nikita
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replied on Feb 28, 2024
MBB & Tier2 preparation | 85+ offers | 7 years coaching | 2000+ sessions | PDF reviews attached

Hey,

Usually, the position you are offered is defined by your interview performance, including the seniority level that you demonstrate. If they decide you should join as a PL, they'll extend you the according offer.

However, I'd agree with the other coaches here that it's a safer route for you to join as a Consultant, get a consulting toolkit and then get promoted to a PL.

Good luck!
Nick

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Pedro
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replied on Feb 27, 2024
30% off in April 2024 | Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

The real issue is that being a Project Leader without consulting experience (or project leadership on “consulting style” projects) is very difficult, and for good reasons. It is a very demanding job, you'll be asked to structure the approach, to coach people, basically to completely master the day-to-day of a consulting project.

So if you never did it before… consulting firms ask you to join at a lower level, so you can get some of that experience, before promoting you to a project management role.

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Florian
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replied on Feb 26, 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

Agree with Benjamin here!

I have seen a few direct-to-EM hires crash and burn…

I'd start as proposed but negotiate for a fast-track promotion window. Check out my book Consulting Career Secrets on how to get there! :-)

All the best,

Florian

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Benjamin gave the best answer

Benjamin

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