I received offers from all MBB, but I really don't know which one to choose.

Bain Job offer McKinsey office culture working culture
New answer on Dec 31, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 22, 2020

I received offers from all MBB for undergraduate level, but at this moment I am between Bain and Mckinsey.

Both are very good companies, very similar in some aspects and different in cultural aspects.

The biggest problem here is that the people from each company only told me the good side from each company, and I feel like I don't really know the bad side to work in each company.

I would like to share the information that I already know about the companies, so you can clarify to me if these things are real, and if I am missing some important point for the choice.

For Mckinsey I really like the fact that they really care about diversity. Another relevant point is that Mckinsey was my biggest dream since I decided to make a career as a consultant.

But for the other side I read on Mckinsey's glassdoor (for my office) that Mckinsey is hierarchical, and people sometimes think that they are the center of everything. (Is it true? Is there someone that can answer that?).

Another point is that Mckinsey's consultants tried to convince me to choose Mckinsey "selling" the status of working for the biggest consulting company , and how this prestige makes people respect you. I confess that at the moment that he said it to me, I felt like: "wow it would be amazing, people will admire me", but thinking rationally, I don't know if it is really right to choose some company based on status. (Is it really relevant? Is there something that I am missing?).

Mckinsey's consultants told me that at Mckinsey you don't have to prepare PowerPoint presentations, is it relevant for the day to day?

For Bain, I had the opportunity to see how collaborative they are. A lot of consultants (that I didn't know) offered me to train cases on their weekend (for free). It happened before the first round, so they didn't even know if I was a potential candidate or not, so I found it very genuine. More than that, Bain is one of the Best Place to Work according to Glassdoor. At Bain, they have a lot of parties and global events that really sound fun. And the people at Bain are more "cool" and say jokes all the time.

But, for the other side, I feel that Bain does not have many investments and initiatives for diversity, and they don't promote it as much as Mckinsey. Honestly I don't think that they promote it in the way that I expect. (Is that a fact, or only my perception?). If I work for Bain, would I have space to promote some initiatives that can change it? How are they opened for that? More than that, I feel that Bain invests less on Digital (less than Mckinsey), and I feel like: "Is it right? The digital capability will move the world in the next future, so what if Bain stops growing? Will I lose my job?" (P.S: I am not an expert, but these are the things that are in my head). So is it something that I would worry about?

Another thing is that I feel like Bain is not going economically well during the coronavirus crisis, of course it is not an official information, is only my perception. On the other hand my perception is that Mckinsey went good during the coronavirus crisis, so it makes me feel like Mckinsey is a "safer" choice.

So, should I care about losing my job at Bain (or Mckinsey) in a crisis, or they only fire based on performance?

For the end of this big text (sorry for that), I think that one information that I am missing for my decision is how people treat each other at the stress moment. I would prefer to work in a place where people treat each other well, care about their feelings before saying something, and don't blame others when something goes wrong.

Is there someone that works/worked from Mckinsey or from Bain to share how was the experience (please include the bad side, if possible). It would be great to have the experience from someone who works/worked for both companies.

I know that some of you will say: "It depends on you office", but I really want to have an global perspective, because they (consulting) always say that they try to make their culture as a global culture, and I really don't have anyone to help me from the offices that I received the offers, so I think that it is better to have an global perspective than do not have any.

Thank you if you read this big text!

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Ken
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updated an answer on Feb 02, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

If you want to sign up for a more set path and experience then go for Bain ("A Bainie never lets a another Bainie fail"). If you want to navigate and create your own path and experience then go for McKinsey ("Make your own McKinsey"). That is the advice I have consistently given to more than a dozen people who have been in your shoes.

Based purely on the fact that one firm is significantly larger than the other gives you that flexiblity as well as variability, both positive and negative, where you need to decide which options is more suited for you. If you want to maintain a global perspective than McKinsey definitely will have the edge with the scale and having one global P&L unlike the other MBBs. Your observations on economic sustainability is linked to McKinsey's global P&L as well as size and diversification of offerings. These are facts that I would not ignore as many of the other things are based on individual experiences, perception and/or reputation.

I'm surprised with your observation that everyone at McKinsey has only told you the positives. I know Bain have a very consistent recruiting message across individuals but McKinsey actually encourages the opposite where consultants are encouraged to share a balanced view including the things they don't like.

Despite being ex-McKinsey myself, my overarching suggestion would be to choose based on what you value most which is a decision only you can make. Here are my two cents on some of the themes you have raised:

+ Arrogance: this is commonly mentioned for McKinsey both in terms of the approach of consulting (i.e., maintaing an independent perspective - telling the client what McKinsey believes is that right answer vs. collabration) as well as (self-) perception of prestige

+ Hierarchy: I have actually heard the opposite, at least in London, where junior Bain consultants don't get much direct access to partners (one of my Bainie friends used to boast how he was working directly with a partner which is unheard of) whereas McKinsey it is rarely the case. I know of an ex Bain partner at McKinsey who has maintained the hierarchical appraoch and will rarely discuss the project below manager level

+ Prestige: generally I have found that people consider MBBs as one bucket of similar calibre but you will occassionally find executives and headhunters who will clearly differentiate McKinsey over others, similar to Goldman Sachs for investment banking, etc.

+ Powerpoint: you will be making lots and lots of powerpoint slides at any of the firms, unless you focus on implementation or digital consulting. The nuance about McKinsey is that there is a visual graphics team (mainly in India) who will produce (if you send them a sketch) and format slides for you which does save a huge amount of time!

+ Moments of stress: this one would be the same across both firms and would be purely dependent on the people you work. Both firms have upward feedback where there is an incentive for leaders to treat their teams with care and respect. The reality is not always the case but this is something I wouldn't worry at the stage of deciding on which offer to accept - you're not joining a corporate job where you have a fixed boss

+ Fun collabroative culture: at a firm level, Bain definitely seems to have a more consistent culture whereas you will find a Bain like culture within McKinsey as well as many others. Both firms will have the same fun as well as genuinely supportive people, fun parties and global events

(edited)

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Gaurav
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replied on Dec 22, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hello there!

Congratulations on the offer!

Maybe the people who told you about the good sides only didn't have the bad ones? :)
The bad sides typically depend on the person and his character, so some don't consider them mentioning.

  • I suggest you digging deeper into your memories to find out what originally forced you to make McKinsey your biggest dream. Decide if you have the same reasons now.
  • Again, people that think they are the center of everything can be met at any work, if you look at opinions on other companies, so I wouldn't consider it to be an important argument for or against.
  • As for the status, go to the second bullet point to check if that was the reason, but I'd prefer to choose the company based on its performance, and how it appeals to me, whether I want to grow there or not.
  • There is always a risk of losing your job, the way out is just to do your best and you will know when it doesn't work out.
  • You could find current MBB consultants (on LinkedIn, for instance) to get the newest info needed for your office.

To sum up, in both McKinsey and Bain you have equal chances to build a successful career and work in great teams. The choice is still up to you and it's normal to hesitate at this stage. You did a great job and will make the right decision.

Good luck!

Cheers,
GB

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Ian
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replied on Dec 22, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Wow...first, congratulations! Take a moment to reflect and appreciate the fact that you have such a good problem on your hands.

Think about if you got one of these offers...think how happy you would be. Now, embrace that mindset :)

No matter what you choose, you have successed are well on your way to a fantastic career.

You're about to receive a lot of information from other coaches, researching online, etc. I just have a few pieces of advice:

1) a) Figure out what 2 things are MOST important to you. In a vacuum. Write them down. Diversity? Prestige? Money? Advancement opportunities?

1) b) Figure out which company has the things you want and go for that

2) This is a bit cheesy, but, go with your gut/instinct. It's there. You just have to figure out what it's telling you. fundamentally, based on your interactions with Mck/Bain/BCG you already know the people you like more.

2) b) If you're still not sure...get on a call with MBB consultants. Have very frank/open conversations with them. Try to talk to people seperate from the recruiting process that can give you a real honest opinion of what it's like working there.

Good luck!

P.S. You will work super super hard at both and be very stressed. At both you will have immense exit opportunities, pay, and career trajectory. McKinsey is far ahead of Bain in terms of reputation and expected future growth/performance (Bain just isn't investing in the right things), but most people also view Mckinsey's culture to be very rough/abrasive and Bain's to be friendlier This is the most I can say comparing the two without overcomplicating things!

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Clara
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replied on Dec 22, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats!

Each coach is going to tell you again the best of their own company, hence I won´t do the same -tough I agree with the ones that praised McKinsey- ;)

Ask all 3 of them to let you spend a day in the office, have lunch with the consultants, etc. I know people who did it, and it was very very insightful. Most likely, you will feel a much better fit with one, and decision will be clear by EOD.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Adi
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updated an answer on Dec 22, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

A very short answer for you- choose that which is a better fit to your values, career aspirations & risk profile. Choose that which will allow you to do what you really want to do. Rest will follow if you make the right moves.

Also, feel extremely grateful for the position you are in. This is life at its best for you now. Be humble, work hard and inspire others.

Good luck!

(edited)

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Vlad
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replied on Dec 22, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Based on what you are saying BCG will be the golden middle:

  • Culture is better than McK (yes, I worked at McKinsey and I have a lot of friends at BCG, and I believe BCG culture is better)
  • Lots of diversity initiatives
  • Economically better than Bain

Best

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Udayan
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replied on Dec 22, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

McKinsey :)

The largest firm with the most opportunities at the firm and post exit. All firms will have similar negatives at the end of the day. You are at a very envious position right now

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Anonymous replied on Dec 31, 2020

Hi,

I would be curious why you don't consider BCG. I think it is worth to really meet and talk to the people at all level or you can contact alumni of the firm (through LinkedIn and ask their opinion)

I won't comment much about McK as I have limited interaction with the fim beyond recruitment approach and chit chat. But I am married to a Bainies and from what I heard, they have are prety similar in terms of culture with BCG and probably even better.

Best,
Iman

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Ken gave the best answer

Ken

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