expert
Expert with best answer

Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

2,306 Meetings

2,492 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

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

Anonymous A asked on Oct 15, 2018

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!

2 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Francesco replied on Oct 17, 2018
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (2.300+) | 1.000+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 6 Years Coaching Experience
Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

2,306 Meetings

2,492 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

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

Guennael
Expert
replied on Oct 16, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
Book a coaching with Guennael

99% Recommendation Rate

246 Meetings

1,229 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

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).

Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Case Studies

The case study is the most important element of the case interview, which you'll have to nail in order to get into strategic consulting. Here you can learn the specific skills and concepts necessary to solve them.

Related case(s)

Bain case: Asian lubricants producer

Solved 91.8k times
4.7 5 27033
| Rating: (4.7 / 5.0)

LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). ... Open whole case

Bain Case: Old Winery

Solved 30.9k times
4.4 5 846
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0)

You have inherited the “Old Winery” from your grandfather, a winery which has been family owned for five generations and can be dated back to the 16th century. Half of the eleven hectares are used to grow white grapes, the other half to grow red grapes. They are grown in the conventional way, i.e. ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 20.8k times
4.5 5 177
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where y ... Open whole case

Bain Questions

Solved 20.5k times
4.6 5 249
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills. Open whole case