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What is the difference between Partners, Principals, Directors at MBB consulting firms?

director MBB partner principal salary
New answer on Oct 28, 2023
2 Answers
30.9 k Views
Anonymous A asked on May 23, 2017

Concerning position, tasks, perks, salary etc.

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 28, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer


I'll share a POV from a BCG perspective. The position progression is as follows:

Principal/"Partner" → Managing Director & Partner → Managing Director & Senior Partner

The key differences

  1. Tasks
    • Generally, the key difference between Principal and MDP is the KPI
    • MDPs biggest KPI is sales generation / revenue
      • Other KPIs that are different include building up practice area, building up your junior partner network (if you are an MDSP)
    • Principals at BCG are still expected to deliver/execute projects
  2. Salary
    • Salary rises significantly once you become an MDP
  3. Perks
    • At least where I am from, MDPs do get to fly business class, but not for the Principals

Hope this helps to clarify!

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replied on May 23, 2017
Ex-Bain consultant, got offers from McK, BCG, Bain. Now a Product Manager at a startup

Principal - in practice the same as manager, but as this is the gateway position to the partner promotion, they sometimes do partner-level work. They have a stable salary with a variable bonus.
Partner - they sell the cases, typically have several assignments at any given time, and they oversee projects. Their involvement varies - sometimes you would see a partner daily on your project, sometimes you would see them once a month or even less frequently.

Director - a "super partner". They sometimes oversee junior partners, act as ultimate experts and sometimes they manage functional areas of expertise (e.g. Global head of Airlines Practice at Bain would typically be a Director).

Regarding salary, for principals it's a set salary with a bonus, for partners and directors the variable element is much higher. Although it depends on several factors, a partner can expect to make at least upwards of £150K plus bonus. There are rare cases when partners/directors earn about £1M and more. It is mainly driven by how much business they bring in.


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Benjamin gave the best answer


Content Creator
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer
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