Staffing & Project Locations (Germany)

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Recent activity on Dec 11, 2018
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 10, 2018

I am wondering, and I've asked my contacts and no one really had an answer: in Germany, does your home office location impact where you will be staffed/the kinds of projects? For example, would a consultant in Berlin get staffed on more international projects vs. someone with a home office in Cologne? Or on certain kinds of projects? Or is it all pretty equal?

For MBBs/Roland Berger and tier 2 firms/in-house consultancies in Germany, which firms tend to have more projects outside vs. inside of Germany? Obviously this varies but curious of any insight. For example, I have been told McKinsey often staffs internationally (worldwide), while BCG Germany staffs more within Europe and Bain within local offices. Is that actually the case? What about 2nd tier firms (OW, ATK, Capgemini, ACN, etc.)?

I am networking to try and find more information but wanted to ask here too.

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replied on Dec 10, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

I can give you a clear answer for MBB firms. The location of your office has ZERO impact on your staffing! The entire German system is treated as ONE office (with multiple locations, but only one stafing pool). Hence, it is completely irrelevant whether you are located in Berlin, Düsseldorf or Munich.

Regarding international staffing, McKinsey has a more global structure compared to BCG and Bain. In McKinsey, it is much more common to see completely mixed teams with, say, the leading Partner from Oslo, Engagement Manager from Frankfurt, one Associate from PAris and another Associate from Dubai serving a client in Saudi Arabia. In BCG, staffing for international projects would be more likely driven by the lead Partner's home office (independent of where the client is located). Of course these are just indicative descriptions and there might be many exceptions!

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous updated the answer on Dec 11, 2018

Agree with the others.

Staffing is usually very Germany centric (see reasoning below), but within Germany, everything can happen. As the German economy is very spread out across various economic centers (Munich, Hamburg, Cologne-Düsseldorf, Ruhrgebiet, Rhein-Main) there's actually a fair chance of having quite a few projects where you can sleep in your own bed (especially if you are Munich-based).

Regarding international staffing: The internal rates at which German consultants are charged to other country's offices on international projects tend to be quite high. So often times you may be prohibitively expensive to be staffed on a project run by an office in a different country. Much less the case for McK, but in general it is more likely that you have an international colleague on a German project than vice versa.

One more thing:

Think about your office choice wisely. Every office will have their own culture. (WARNING: Stereotypes ahead!)

  • Berlin - lots of hipster beards
  • Munich - posh, skiing and Oktoberfest are the two most important seasons of the year
  • Hamburg - posh, but less in your face about it than Munich.
  • Köln - probably the mellowest, go crazy around Carnival. People are quite open and approachable. A lot easier to make friends there if you're new in town than in Hamburg or Munich.
  • Düsseldorf - quite similar to Köln, just a bit posher. Carnival is true there as well
  • Frankfurt: Why would you go to Frankfurt? ;-)

As you will have guessed by now, there are pointed over-generalizations. However, each office does have their own flavor, which comes from the city it is based in (and obviously the people self-selecting to that office/city). Every office is proud of its city and probably considers it the best / coolest / nicest city in Germany. But it's usually just friendly banter. Except for Cologne and Düsseldorf, they're mortal enemies ;-)

Hope this helps,



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replied on Dec 10, 2018
Ex-McKinsey Engagement Manager / Ex-Diplomat - Perfect choice for non-traditional candidates. Let's get you an offer!

Sidi is absolutely right that your office location does not matter for staffing in Germany. Nevertheless, I would think strategically about picking an office - in which practice area do you see yourself in a couple of years? Where do you have contacts to partners or APs? Is an expert in your area of expertise working in your office?

Staffing at MBB (and particularly at McKinsey) often revolves around internal networking, so pick the office accordingly.

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Sidi gave the best answer


McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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