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The Group vs The Firm

Anonymous A asked on Oct 20, 2019 - 3 answers

Hi everyone,

I have a bit of a luxury problem: I hold offers from several consultancies, but I'm deciding between the group vs. the firm / BCG vs McKinsey. (Note: Both are for Master's entry in the German generalist track)

These are the current arguments that I have:


- Better prestige

- I know more people on my level around the world

- International Staffing (quite important to me)

- Much better conditions for educational leave (at least the case in Germany)

- McKinsey Digital is stronger than BCG Digital (quite interested in this)


- More social culture from my impression - I heard McK can have a cut-throat culture?

- I know a senior partner in Germany, who has been mentoring me for a long time, so I would feel quite bad for taking McKinsey

- Better work-life balance (from what I've heard)

- Option to work with BCG Gamma or even to transfer to them - I heard the McK equivalent 'Advanced Analytics' is more separate from the generalists? (This is also quite important to me since I really enjoy programming and working in data science. I also come from an Engineering background.)

Does anyone have tips for me how to decide? Have you heard of similar things as listed above, or have you heard of any other differences? Also, does anyone know how easy it is to transfer to non-German offices at these two firms? I might have to do that at some point...

Thanks everyone!


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replied on Oct 21, 2019
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First of all, congratulations!

I think your summary is good. The only point is about data science practice: I would say that both BCG gamma and McK advanced analytics are well separated from the generalist path, you cannot go back and forth whenever you want, but pass from generalist to there will be easier if you have the right background, since they are growing a lot and are less selective.

In any case - whatever you choose - you will go great!



replied on Oct 20, 2019
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You perfectly provided the arguments. I don't think anyone else can help you here. It's up to you to decide.


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replied on Oct 26, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

congratulations on your offers! I would consider also the following elements:

  1. Where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Based on that, look for how many alumni are more present in that field. It is not relevant that McKinsey has more Alumni, if they are not related to what you really want to do in your life. If you are keen to digital or you still don't know, everything equal the McKinsey brand is stronger.
  2. If you consider the average consultant/partner you talked to in each company, which one would you rather be? Quoting Jim Rohn, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you will spend a lot of time with your colleagues in the next years. Be sure you chose a company where people are close to the person you want to become. You should be able to chat with some additional people if you are not sure, companies are usually happy to put in touch with consultants to help with a decision.
  3. What is your gut feeling telling you? Our gut feeling is able to catch elements we cannot rationalize, most of the time aligned with what we really want. After evaluating all the elements, if you still cannot decide I would recommend taking that into consideration as well for your final decision.



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