Specializing in an industry as a BA/Associate

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New answer on Dec 28, 2019
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 28, 2019

Can you specialize in an industry as a Business analyst at McKinsey or as an associate at Bain/BCG?

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Clara
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replied on Dec 28, 2019
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I can only talk for McKinsey Europe -that is indeed different than many of other offices-. There are several specialization tracks, called L2 and L3 (e.g. Telco/Retail L2 practice)

BAs can start an specialization track (L2 specialization) at least after 2 years at the Firm, when you have also relevant experience in the field in terms of past engagement. However, as an Associate, you can apply before for L2 -given that you are more tenured and experience, but it also depends precisely on this prior experience before MBA or others-.

The reasons why are mainly (i) having well-rounded profiles who are all-roads and (ii) giving you the chance to try differnt things when you are still starting.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Antonello
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replied on Dec 28, 2019
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
if you enter as generalist consultant no, you cannot specialize in the first 2-3 years. If instead you apply for a practice role (e.g. corporate finance, digital, ...) you are going to spend 70%+ of your projects in that practice.

Best,
Antonello

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Luca
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replied on Dec 28, 2019
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

in BCG you can start specializing starting from the second year. Anyway it really depends on your interests. If you want to work in a practice that is not the most coveted, it could be possible to work in that practice since the beginning.
Generally speaking, in the first years every time that you finish a project you have to be staffed on a new project within a week. You can specify your preferences but they have to consider the availability of the projects too.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Nathaniel
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replied on Dec 28, 2019
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

It depends on your entry position.
In McKinsey, the specialisation track is called L2 and L3, e.g. Oil & Gas L2 practice.

As a Business Analyst, typically you can aply for L2 specialization after 1-2 years at the Firm.
While as an Associate, you have a much shorter period before you can apply for L2, depending on your prior experience before MBA or getting into the Firm, some specialise immediately.

There's specialist or implementation track which enables you to get into specific practice upon entry also.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,
Nathan

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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