Hi everyone! I am new to both the community and the consulting world. My background is in bio-pharmaceuticals. After two prolonged periods of doing intesive lab research I am looking into consultancy. I was wondering about two things:

1. Which firms are considered top tier when it comes to life sciences/pharmaceutical industry?

2. What are the options for someone with my background in the consulting industry?

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Anonymous replied on Nov 06, 2018

I agree with both Guennael and Udayan. All of the MBB firms are strong across the board. And, like Udayan, I'm biased given my experience as a Partner at McKinsey. Having said that, McKinsey often lost out to BCG in the life science / Biotech / Pharma arena. BCG has a strong focus on the industry. If I were to rank them, it would be 1) BCG, 2) McK, 3) Bain (with a lot of distance between #2 and #3).

It is important as an experienced hire to apply to right office, which means Boston (Biotech) and New Jersey (Pharma) for BCG and New Jersey (and possibly New York) for McK.

Guennael replied on Nov 06, 2018
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MBB is top-tier in anything it does, just because it is MBB: expertise & business volume will change over time, but the brand name will not. If you have any MBB offer and a competing one from a Lifescience specialist, I'd suggest you go to MBB every time.

As for your options... it will partly depend on your education level, but you should absolutely feel encouraged to apply. Being an experienced hire means you can't rely on a school's support, but it is possible (I was one myself). Go out and try to meet people, start your case interview prep, and apply to companies. Consultancies should have a fairly strong appetite for people with your background assuming the school, grades, career trajectory... check as well.

Good luck!

replied on Nov 06, 2018
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I worked extensively in life sciences at McKinsey and my (somewhat biased) opinion is that it is by far the biggest presence overall in life sciences especially in the areas of strategy and operations.

The exception to this rule are firms that specialize in specific aspects of life sciences. E.g., consultants focusing on R&D ops or sales force optimization (i.e. Dividing sales regions).

Specifically with regards to your background. I think you'd be a great fit at any firm from a skills perspective. A lot of clients I worked with respected people who had real lab experience and who understand the scientific challenges involved in bringing a drug to the market. The bigger question for you is culture - where do you fit in best and what type of work culture are you most suited to.

Hope that helps,


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