Is travel time really working time?

Bain BCG flights MBB McKinsey Travel workload
New answer on Jan 06, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 04, 2020

Hi all! Given the large amount of travel you have to manage at MBB, do consultants really have to work during these times? Like, on planes? I can hardly imagine this being efficient, let alone confidentiality issues. Any insights?

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Jan 04, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi! That's indeed a bit tricky!

The truth is that, formally, McKinsey and BCG strongly discourage (if not prohibit) working on flights, due to confidentiality. But the truth is also that the majority of consultants actually work on flights, just to cope with the workload.

So different aspects need to balanced against each other here. I for example have frequently worked on very sensitive topics (stock market relevant), so I did not work on flights and I also gave directive to my teams on such projects that working on the plane is an absolute no-go. When working on less sensitive stuff, it was more about applying good judgement.

Hope this helps!

Cheers, Sidi

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 06, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Condidentiality is not an issue, since you have screen protectors that do the job -and you will 95% of the time work with your PC-.

Regarding the point of it being a must/not must: none forces you to, but when you have a huge amount of work and limited time to get it done, you are the one who is giong to decide to work while traveling to gain sleep time. This said, for sure it will depend of how "crunched" u are in each engagement.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Luca
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 04, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

The official answer would be "only if it's stricly necessary", but in reality it's quite common that you are asked to work during your travel time.
They will provide you with privacy screens for your phone and laptop, so that you won't have any excuse to miss a deadline ;)

Best,
Luca

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Udayan
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2020
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

There is no 'requirement' to work while travel, but if you don't work when you can it could cost you precious hours in times when you don't want to (e.g., weekends or late nights)

Confidentiality is overcome using a privacy screen and efficiency is definitely an issue but as with everything else, you get better at it over time

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Adam
Expert
replied on Jan 04, 2020
Ex Bain/ A.T. Kearney: Principal with >10 years global consulting and recruiting experience and >150 interviews

At Bain, it was very common for junior consultants to work on planes. This is driven mainy by the fact that they don't want to lose the working time and have a high workload and deadlines. Confidentiality is always a critical concern, so consultants will typically work in airplane mode (which disguises the client or consulting firm's powerpoint templates) or focus more on Excel tasks. All consultants are also issued with privacy filters which stops people either side of you on the aircarft seeing clearly what you are working on.

As a Manager, I would typically not be working on slides on flights but rather take the time to review materials (again in aircraft mode) or catch up on emails. I would use the Privacy filter or use my phone to maintain confidentiality.

The reality of the work is that an hour of productivity lost during the day typically means an hour less sleep!

Hope this helps!

Adam

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 04, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
they will provide you with privacy screens and 100Gb sim plans in order to leave you easily work during your travels and yes, you will need to do it almost everytime :)

Best,
Antonello

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers
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