Quoting my answer to a similar question on this forum: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-is-bain-different-from-mckinsey-or-bcg-3033
At a “firm” level, McKinsey, BCG and Bain (MBB) have a lot in common and differences are negligible. In my experience (shared with many colleagues) top consulting firms actually have a lot more in common (roles and career paths, organisation and project work, salaries,...) than they have differences.
Differences start to show at an office level, depending on geographic location (these are mainly reflected on projects, industries, and people). Could you mention your target country? I am sure people will be able to share interesting insights on that specific office...
From a firm/global standpoint, a few differences come to my mind:
- Kind of engagements / assignments / clients: all 3 firms have grown so much that they compete on all levels and no longer specialize in certain practices (again expertise varies significantly depending on geographic location)
- Approach/Culture: McK has a more top-down approach, and not very collegial culture. The organization itself is structured and formal, and everything from attitude and attire at McKinsey reflects that. BCG puts a strong focus on innovation, teamwork and individual contributions. Because they build support bottom-up with the client they sell against McKinsey more often than Bain. Bain is somewhere in between McK top-down approach and BCG collaborative approach. The culture at Bain, where the local office culture is strong, focuses on teamwork. In terms of recruiting, Bain often beats BCG thanks to its culture but loses to McK because of prestige
- Size/Scope: McKinsey is the largest firm with ~9k consultants, followed by BCG with ~6k and Bain with ~3k They have comparable portfolios in terms of industries served but McKinsey’s technology practice is an important differentiator as neither Bain nor BCG offers anything like it. Bain is the leader in Private Equity
- Alumni: McK has the most prestige, the biggest and the most active alumni network. BCG is doing a great job with their alumni network. Bain has some areas of improvements when it comes to organizing its network but when it comes to alumni they are the most available (because their culture is so strong)
- Selection process: all 3 MBB target and attract similar profiles. Recruiting processes might be slightly different depending on firm and location (e.g. written presentation at some Bain locations; interviewer-led case at Bain and BCG vs. candidate-led case interview at McK) but they aim at testing the same skills (do a quick research on this forum if you want to know more)
I hope this helps,