MBB support functions

Bain & Company BCG Kearney MBB McKinsey Oliver Wyman Roland Berger strategy& Support
New answer on Jun 09, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 08, 2021

At times, it is mentioned that MBB has the advantage of support functions to help the consultants with things like ppt creation, design, some research and also data analysis (perhaps some other 'functions' as well?). I am wondering 3 things:

1. Are these only specific to MBB (or maybe even only M and one of the Bs?) and is it like globally or office-specific? How about firms like OW, RB, ATK, etc.?

2. What are they doing/providing exactly? Does it mean that the consultants are not building slides, but mostly populate the contents (and of course think and decide what to put/show) and arranging the pages in the offices who provide these supports?

3. To what extent entry-level consultants can leverage those supports?

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Gabriele
Expert
updated an answer on Jun 08, 2021
MBA @ Columbia | VC Investor, Bain & Company, BCG | MSc @ MIT, BSc @ Bocconi

Hi there,

From personal experience in MBB, I can try to answer your questions in order here below:

  1. These are globally available to all MBB firms, albeit real usage varies across offices, and can be divided into three subgroups:

    • Graphics Support - Typically in Bain and BCG you would use less support on the graphics side vs McK, and this seems true across the offices I know of. Other industry-focused competitors also make use of it (e.g. Analysis Mason, OW, etc.), but I wouldn’t be able to give you a detailed assessment of tier 2 companies. These are typically colleagues from low-wage countries.

    • Research Support - The usage of research support is widespread and common in all offices. This usually entails requesting financial data, reports, and other data only accessible to the centralized research department (e.g. financial statements). Also present in other smaller companies, this is often done by personnel in your home office/country.

    • Data Analytics Teams / Digital Support - This is a bit more tricky and more recent. All MBB have some form of Data Analytics support, as well as dedicated teams to implement custom-made digital solutions. The actual usage varies across offices and industries, with US offices being ahead of the adoption curve and usually there are dedicated teams working side by side with consultants. These are based in centralized locations in each macro-region (e.g. 2-3 places in Europe). I personally have worked with them only once, it also greatly depends on the project requirements (e.g. little use in Due Diligence, useful in resource optimization projects).

  2. I assume this question relates to the graphics department. If this is the case, this varies from firm to firm. In McK the consulting team often designs the content (e.g. on paper) and dictates the slide format, and the graphics actually creates it. In BCG and Bain usually, it is used more as a reformatting/polishing service once the content is already in PPT. Remember there is some turnaround time, so this service is used in limited cases, i.e. for fancy slides in steering committees rather than day-to-day updates.

  3. This varies between the function. As an entry-level consultant (i.e. Analyst / Associate), you will often be the one dealing with research and, together with a more experienced junior, the graphics. This will be usually prompted by your manager, so no-to-little personal initiative in using them. On the data analytics side, this is usually a decision taken at a more senior level (you need a considerable dedicated budget) and the interface is usually at Consultant / Manager level.

Happy to answer any more questions you might have!

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Ian
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replied on Jun 08, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Great questions!

First, let me just clarify that, like anywhere, the "we have it all" statements should always be taken with a grain of salt. Remember, as a consultant at MBB you are doing a lot of work. Noone is there to hold your hand in slide creation, analysis, etc. 

1. These are not only specific to MBB. MBB tends to spend more money and have more availability of these services, but the others do have support functions (to varying degrees)

2. Cosultants 100% have to build the slides. Don't forget, this is 90% of your job! However, there are a few services that you can leverage to 1) Perform rote tasks on a deck (i.e. align everything, change x across the deck, etc) 2) Beautify a slide/deck (requires approval and takes planning/time) and 3) Create slides from your drawings (used for select slides only).

At the end of the day, you build 90% of the deck yourself. You have to know how to powerpoint...

3) They can technically leverage the support like all other resources. However, in a sense, they are the support! Entry-level consultants are expected to do a lot of that slide creation grunt work. The better you are at it, the easier your life is!

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Florian
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updated an answer on Jun 09, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | Imbellus Expert

Hey there,

1. There is quite a bit of difference in the level and depth of support functions. McKinsey is known to have invested the most into everything that makes the daily life of a consultant a bit easier. For instance, they have a global helpdesk (GHD) and the unofficial rule is that you should call them whenever you struggle more than 5 minutes with an approach to something (tech problem, Excel analysis, etc.). This expands to other fields as well (e.g., turnaround time for a new laptop in less than a day if something breaks to a random client location, new phone sent across the globe because mine was stolen on the street while being on vacation, etc.).

2. Everything from slide creation (based on your draft), slide beautification, simple analysis to more complex statistical and analytical models, industry research, etc.

3. Fully and it is highly encouraged to use them right from the start since it will make your life significantly easier.

Cheers,

Florian

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Adi
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replied on Jun 08, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Mosy big Consulting companies have invested and setup a support function to assist with research, creating slides, glossy papers etc. Effectiveness of this support varies widely really and in my personl experience I was underwhelmed. As Consultants you must lead on creating your deliverables (ppt, excel or whatever else) and ensure quality. To effectively use the support teams you must brief them really well and provide them investment cover to charge their time. So, using them is a quetion of the task at hand, priority and other factors as you can imagine. It can be done but varies from project to project. Junior consultants certainly will have limited access to them.

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Henning
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replied on Jun 09, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

All firms have support to some extend. The difference are the services offered. MBB have the highest revenue per consultant/year, so they can afford to have more extensive teams than other firms. Support copvers everything from research, slide work, graphics design, analytics, workshop development, survey design, etc. and yes, also junior team members have access. Though you might test with your superiors as these services generate costs that have to be charged to a cost center.

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Gabriele gave the best answer

Gabriele

MBA @ Columbia | VC Investor, Bain & Company, BCG | MSc @ MIT, BSc @ Bocconi
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