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Sidi

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6

Moving from BCG to McKinsey

Hi all

I joined BCG in a developing market ~15 months ago and I am not having a great time. I have been performing fine on the job, but I am not impressed with:

  • Content on cases
  • Variety of cases on offer
  • Sophistication of clients
  • The lack of quality leaders
  • Tackling of COVID scenario (leadership has openly admitted that in order to maintain their pyramid structure, they will be enforcing "stricter performance management" i.e., firing people without good cause, but, making it appear as if though dismissals are performance-related (A close friend was recently fired for completely garbage reasons)

I wanted to know:

  • How common transfers are from one MBB firm to another (even across geographies)?
  • How to create a story to explain the motivations for this move?
  • What is the likelihood of this happening right now? (I am looking to transfer home to London)

Thanks all

Hi all

I joined BCG in a developing market ~15 months ago and I am not having a great time. I have been performing fine on the job, but I am not impressed with:

  • Content on cases
  • Variety of cases on offer
  • Sophistication of clients
  • The lack of quality leaders
  • Tackling of COVID scenario (leadership has openly admitted that in order to maintain their pyramid structure, they will be enforcing "stricter performance management" i.e., firing people without good cause, but, making it appear as if though dismissals are performance-related (A close friend was recently fired for completely garbage reasons)

I wanted to know:

  • How common transfers are from one MBB firm to another (even across geographies)?
  • How to create a story to explain the motivations for this move?
  • What is the likelihood of this happening right now? (I am looking to transfer home to London)

Thanks all

6 answers

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Sidi

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Hi!

I did exactly the move that you describe, so I can relate very well. I joined BCG and then switched to McKinsey after 24 months.

1) They are not very common at junior levels, but it happens. What you need is a clear story though, and you should not have been rejected by McKinsey within the last two years. Switching across Geographies is a bit easier story-wise, especially if McKinsey is stronger in your target geography!

2) This is highly individual. For me, the motivation came from my desire to work in emerging markets (I had joined BCG in Germany, but wanted to work in sub-saharan Africa, where BCG was very weak at that time (while McKinsey already had offices in Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Ethiopia). So it was a very clear story, and even the BCG partners acknowledged that after I handed in my dismissal.

3) It is a very difficult point in time right now. I would use the coming months to establish connections to senior people at McKinsey, understand how you could fit in, and then plan potential interviews about 6 months from now (this would also ensure that you get about 2 years of BCG experience before lateraling over - which definitely looks better. Also, if you could manage to get a promotion before applying to McKinsey would definitely be helpful to signal that you are not having performance issues!

Cheers, Sidi

Hi!

I did exactly the move that you describe, so I can relate very well. I joined BCG and then switched to McKinsey after 24 months.

1) They are not very common at junior levels, but it happens. What you need is a clear story though, and you should not have been rejected by McKinsey within the last two years. Switching across Geographies is a bit easier story-wise, especially if McKinsey is stronger in your target geography!

2) This is highly individual. For me, the motivation came from my desire to work in emerging markets (I had joined BCG in Germany, but wanted to work in sub-saharan Africa, where BCG was very weak at that time (while McKinsey already had offices in Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Ethiopia). So it was a very clear story, and even the BCG partners acknowledged that after I handed in my dismissal.

3) It is a very difficult point in time right now. I would use the coming months to establish connections to senior people at McKinsey, understand how you could fit in, and then plan potential interviews about 6 months from now (this would also ensure that you get about 2 years of BCG experience before lateraling over - which definitely looks better. Also, if you could manage to get a promotion before applying to McKinsey would definitely be helpful to signal that you are not having performance issues!

Cheers, Sidi

SIdi, was there a change in culture between BCG and McK? And since you have worked in both firms, which firm's culture were you able to relate to more and why? — Anonymous B on Jul 27, 2020

Feel free to reach out if you want to elaborate on this. This is far too much for a Q&A comment I'm afraid. — Sidi on Jul 27, 2020

Book a coaching with Francesco

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Hi there,

Sorry to hear you are not finding a great fit.

QUESTION 1

Lack of fit with a consulting company is not unusual. I know a few people that moved from one to another and did pretty well.

One guy I know did the opposite you are planning (from McKinsey EM to BCG PL) and is now a Partner at BCG. Thus the move is definitely possible and you can be very successful afterward.

QUESTION 2

The storyline is a bit tricky. My suggestions are:

  • Avoid any criticism of any kind on company/people
  • Target a few real neutral topics (eg variety of cases)
  • Show you have done due diligence on your target company and know people there had different experiences

QUESTION 3

Well, (almost) everything is possible, but now things are a bit messy in the UK for the COVID and Brexit.

But if you can find a referral, you can definitely try now. Worst case, you can try again in 12-24 months.

I would not recommend to apply now without referrals. Here you can find some tips:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

If you need help with referrals, please feel free to PM me, I do a special session for them.

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

Sorry to hear you are not finding a great fit.

QUESTION 1

Lack of fit with a consulting company is not unusual. I know a few people that moved from one to another and did pretty well.

One guy I know did the opposite you are planning (from McKinsey EM to BCG PL) and is now a Partner at BCG. Thus the move is definitely possible and you can be very successful afterward.

QUESTION 2

The storyline is a bit tricky. My suggestions are:

  • Avoid any criticism of any kind on company/people
  • Target a few real neutral topics (eg variety of cases)
  • Show you have done due diligence on your target company and know people there had different experiences

QUESTION 3

Well, (almost) everything is possible, but now things are a bit messy in the UK for the COVID and Brexit.

But if you can find a referral, you can definitely try now. Worst case, you can try again in 12-24 months.

I would not recommend to apply now without referrals. Here you can find some tips:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

If you need help with referrals, please feel free to PM me, I do a special session for them.

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

Book a coaching with Ian

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Hi there,

Sorry to hear you haven't had a good experience.

I do want to flag one thing: If you were leaving for cultural reasons, I'd be all for it. However, leaving for content/variety/client/leadership/performance management reasons isn't really valid. These "issues" exist across all the strategy consultancies, so I'm not convinced moving will give you a different experience.

That being said, to answer your questions:

1)Transfers are not uncommon

2) Keep it positive - you've enjoyed your time at BCG, learned a lot, but are drawn to the McKinsey style of doing things. Have met some McKinseyers and feel like it would be a great fit. Looking for the next chapter and to push yourself even further. Etc.etc.

3) Truly depends. Network aggresively, speak to HR in London, and see what's out there. I think the likelihood to get into any specific company in any specific office in a specific timeframe is always low unfortunately....it's a lot of luck, timing, and the right professional connections.

Hi there,

Sorry to hear you haven't had a good experience.

I do want to flag one thing: If you were leaving for cultural reasons, I'd be all for it. However, leaving for content/variety/client/leadership/performance management reasons isn't really valid. These "issues" exist across all the strategy consultancies, so I'm not convinced moving will give you a different experience.

That being said, to answer your questions:

1)Transfers are not uncommon

2) Keep it positive - you've enjoyed your time at BCG, learned a lot, but are drawn to the McKinsey style of doing things. Have met some McKinseyers and feel like it would be a great fit. Looking for the next chapter and to push yourself even further. Etc.etc.

3) Truly depends. Network aggresively, speak to HR in London, and see what's out there. I think the likelihood to get into any specific company in any specific office in a specific timeframe is always low unfortunately....it's a lot of luck, timing, and the right professional connections.

Dear A,

This is in fact pretty common story that people move from the one firm to the other within their careers and I have plenty of examples of McK's changng to BCG and vice versa. Especially, if it's in different geogrephies. But before doing this I would advice you 2 things:

1. You may try to make a transfer to London office within BCG which would be probably the best version within your current employer.

If that doesn't work, then you could simply

2. Look for job openings with McKinsey and in your story-telling during the interviews just be honest and mention all these thungs and your true motivation. For sure they will understand this move.

I have done several transitions within the firms and between the firms, so I'm happy to share my experience and navigate you betwwen those two firms.

All need to do is that there are some openings at McKinsey London at the moment

Best,

André

Dear A,

This is in fact pretty common story that people move from the one firm to the other within their careers and I have plenty of examples of McK's changng to BCG and vice versa. Especially, if it's in different geogrephies. But before doing this I would advice you 2 things:

1. You may try to make a transfer to London office within BCG which would be probably the best version within your current employer.

If that doesn't work, then you could simply

2. Look for job openings with McKinsey and in your story-telling during the interviews just be honest and mention all these thungs and your true motivation. For sure they will understand this move.

I have done several transitions within the firms and between the firms, so I'm happy to share my experience and navigate you betwwen those two firms.

All need to do is that there are some openings at McKinsey London at the moment

Best,

André

Book a coaching with Antonello

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Hi, it is standard, do not worry about it. London office is competitive but with a referral you can play your cards

Best,
Antonello

Hi, it is standard, do not worry about it. London office is competitive but with a referral you can play your cards

Best,
Antonello

Book a coaching with Clara

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Hello!

I am atm coaching a candidate who wishes to transition from Bain to McK, and is about to do interviews. PM if you want me to connect you guys.

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

I am atm coaching a candidate who wishes to transition from Bain to McK, and is about to do interviews. PM if you want me to connect you guys.

Cheers,

Clara

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