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What are the key differences between BCG and Bain, particularly the London office?

I'm an experienced hire with first round interviews at both firms next week and would like to answer clearly why I want to work at each of them. I've found their online presence to be very similar.

Are they different (particularly in London) along any of the following lines? Industry alignment, capabilities, project team structure, firm culture, investment in their people (training etc.), international opportunities, MBA opportunities or anything else?

Many thanks if you are able to help!

I'm an experienced hire with first round interviews at both firms next week and would like to answer clearly why I want to work at each of them. I've found their online presence to be very similar.

Are they different (particularly in London) along any of the following lines? Industry alignment, capabilities, project team structure, firm culture, investment in their people (training etc.), international opportunities, MBA opportunities or anything else?

Many thanks if you are able to help!

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Hi Anonymous,

to properly prepare a "Why Bain/BCG" question, it is crucial to understand why companies ask it.

Of course, every consulting company knows that 90% of the interviewees are doing multiple application in consulting, and also that you may prefer another MBB company. Thus why such question?

The key reason is that they want to see if you are able to do due diligence in advance on your target/prospect. If you are going to an interview and have not studied the company you are going to interview with, chances are you are going to do the exact same thing with the client. And a consulting company definitely doesn’t want this to happen.

Thus the question translates in how you can show you have done due diligence on the company. I cannot help you for the London office specifically, as I have not worked there, but a general structure to identify elements that distinguish a company is the following:

  • Company potential: how much the company grew in the last year, which is a good guarantee for your future career as well
  • Sectors of interest: specific focus of the company in areas interesting for you
  • People you met and culture: specific people of the company you discussed with, and the things they shared on the company
  • Your growth opportunities: specific programs of the company you heard about to enhance your growth
  • Size/reputation of the firm: smaller companies usually offer a more entrepreneurial culture, with higher growth potential internally. Bigger companies have more resources and support staff, and more prestige in terms of exit.

Whatever topic you choose, you can apply a simple rule of thumb: if you can substitute the name BCG/Bain with another one, and have the answer still making sense, it means your answer is not specific enough. To be specific, you should talk about growth rates/specific people you talked to/specific research paper you read on the company.

This means you will have to spend some time preparing this question. But it also means you will have higher chances to stand out - very few candidates invest time in such due diligence.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

to properly prepare a "Why Bain/BCG" question, it is crucial to understand why companies ask it.

Of course, every consulting company knows that 90% of the interviewees are doing multiple application in consulting, and also that you may prefer another MBB company. Thus why such question?

The key reason is that they want to see if you are able to do due diligence in advance on your target/prospect. If you are going to an interview and have not studied the company you are going to interview with, chances are you are going to do the exact same thing with the client. And a consulting company definitely doesn’t want this to happen.

Thus the question translates in how you can show you have done due diligence on the company. I cannot help you for the London office specifically, as I have not worked there, but a general structure to identify elements that distinguish a company is the following:

  • Company potential: how much the company grew in the last year, which is a good guarantee for your future career as well
  • Sectors of interest: specific focus of the company in areas interesting for you
  • People you met and culture: specific people of the company you discussed with, and the things they shared on the company
  • Your growth opportunities: specific programs of the company you heard about to enhance your growth
  • Size/reputation of the firm: smaller companies usually offer a more entrepreneurial culture, with higher growth potential internally. Bigger companies have more resources and support staff, and more prestige in terms of exit.

Whatever topic you choose, you can apply a simple rule of thumb: if you can substitute the name BCG/Bain with another one, and have the answer still making sense, it means your answer is not specific enough. To be specific, you should talk about growth rates/specific people you talked to/specific research paper you read on the company.

This means you will have to spend some time preparing this question. But it also means you will have higher chances to stand out - very few candidates invest time in such due diligence.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Not familiar with London specifics, and only worked at BCG, but fwiw... I always view these two companies as extremely similar from a culture perspective.

You DO NOT have to compare. Just focus on what you like with the company you are interviewing currently - even if you say essentially the same thing in both interviews

PS: Bain probably does more PE work; BCG has apparently been growing much faster for the last little while (and is bigger).

Not familiar with London specifics, and only worked at BCG, but fwiw... I always view these two companies as extremely similar from a culture perspective.

You DO NOT have to compare. Just focus on what you like with the company you are interviewing currently - even if you say essentially the same thing in both interviews

PS: Bain probably does more PE work; BCG has apparently been growing much faster for the last little while (and is bigger).

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