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Travelling options and information

Anonymous A

Hi guys!

This website has helped me a lot, there are plenty of useful information here, thank you very much for your contributions!

Since most of the questions are obviously related to the selection process and interviews, I think I am well-informed in those topics.

Therefore, I am inquiring about the travelling, since this the most important factor for me, when I am pondering about why I would like to join to McKinsey or BCG (unfortunately Bain is not present in my country).

1) Based on your experiences how much can a consultant travel, if this is very important for him? I know that this depends from a lot of things (base office, available projects, number of foreign clients, etc.), but there must be a trend.

2) Anyway, sorry for the stupid question, how does the selection of employees for a project look? What are the criteria? How much influence does the given consultant have (e.g. John Smith adores South America, but hates – let’s say – France)?

3) Is it possible to stay abroad at weekends in the hotel? Or you have to go back to your base office on every Thursdays / Fridays?

4) What do you receive during your abroad “secondments”, taking into consideration that the cost of living differs from country to country? Do the firms cover at least partly your daily expenses in a foreign city (above the air ticket, of course)?

Thank you in advance for your answers.

Best regards

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Sidi replied on 05/18/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 50+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

from the way you frame your question, I get the feeling that you do not want to limit the amount of travel, but rather maximize it. Is this correct? There are a couple of points to consider:

  • Market: If you are looking at highly decentralised economies (like Germany for example; same goes for the US), travel is more likely. In more centralised settings (like France, UK), most of the client HQs are concentrated in the capital city - so most likely within commuting distance from the consulting office
  • Sector: Some industries are intrinsically more local and others more international. Banking/Pharma/Telco tends to be quite local in most markets, whereas extracting industries (Mining, O&G,...) are extremely global and spread out across continents
  • Consulting firm setup: Some firms (and practices/Service lines within firms) manage staffing on a more local basis, with regional/global overlays. Others explicitly staff regionally or globally from a common pool. Clearly the latter leads to more travel on average. Given my personal experience at the two leading firms, BCG has more of a regional hub model when it comes to staffing, while McKinsey operates more as "one firm". Thereby, international projects are (ceteris paribus) more likely at McKinsey
  • Network & Seniority: As you become more senior, you get some increase in influence over staffing in general (if partners love working with you, you have options to choose from), and also specifically (becomes relevant once you manage projects and decide who needs to be where for a particular meeting or piece of work)

My personal experience over the last 7 years at McKinsey and BCG was quite travel-heavy, and that was largely driven by my desire to work in different emerging markets, which spread across different continents. If your client is located >3 flight hours away from your home, it is usually no problem to stay at the hotel over the weekend if you wish (but this is also subject to local tax regulations ("benefit in kind"). Same for allowances: you either get standardized allowances while being abroad (according legislation, like e.g. in Germany), or you just expense what you consume (within reasonable boundaries of course, but consulting firms take good care o their employees ;)).

Hope this helps!

Cheers, Sidi

Vlad replied on 05/17/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

1) In general, you have to travel. It varies by office and industry, but to be conservative, I would not expect it to be lower than 20-30% of your time

Unfortunately, it is very hard to limit the amount of travel, but you can try. There are multiple ways to influence that:

  1. Select the clients within your city.
  2. Try to stay with one client as long as possible, doing multiple projects
  3. Develop relationships with particular partners in the industries that are located locally
  4. Have good relationships with the staffing coordinators and tell them openly that you want to stay in a particular area
  5. Work with one of the practices (e.g. Digital) having a separate staffing
  6. Relocate to the office with limited travel

2) You are staffed if the partners want you on the project. Thus if you are a top performer, everyone wants you, and if not - it's pretty hard to get the "Fancy" projects. If you are a weak performer, you can also expect more travelling to the locations that are far from the resorts (e.g. mines). So being a top performer gives you some flexibility. With time you'll get a set of partners with whom you are comfortable to work with and they will provide you with most of the projects.

You can also get staffed if you have a specific skills / functional / industry experience (consulting or pre-consulting)

If you are a part of some Practice - you have a bit more control of your staffing. E.g. as a part of digital practice you can have both Digital and Generalist projects, and they cannot assign you to generalist project without the permission of the Digital staffing team.

3) Yes, you either go back home or stay. There are some limitations to travelling back home in case the countries are far from each other

4) Yes, you get the extra compensation that is pretty good

Best

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