What is the typical process in an engagement?

engagement process
New answer on Jan 23, 2022
6 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Jan 04, 2022

I am thinking that the typical process is:

1. Structure the problem 

2. Divide the work streams among the consultants

3. Each consultant seeks out relevant data (via interviews with the client or other research)

4. Consultants crunch numbers and present internally.

5. Project leader pieces all info together and present to partners.

6. Repeat #4 to #5 where necessary.

7. Present to client.


Appreciate your insights!

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Anonymous replied on Jan 04, 2022

Hello! When we think about a traditional consulting approach for a project, from my experience on MBB, that is about it. 

Normally, before the engagement starts, during the proposal phase the leadership get a understanding of the problem that needs solving and the challenges that the client is facing, so when the engagement begins the team follow the steps you mention. 

1. Structure and problem solve around the problem, to break down into workstreams
2. Divide the workstreams considering the number of consultants available on the ground
3. Each workstream owners conduct interviews, data analysis, search for resources within the firm to bring insights about the problem and possible solutions
4. The findings are presented internally to the engagement leadership
5. Once findings and actions are validated they are presented to client
6. Addional work is done on each workstream based on client feedback
7. By engagement conclusion the team puts together a full document or presentation with all the findings and next steps

However, is important to highlight that more and more the MBBs are working with different approaches in the engagements to solve new problems, for example in Advanced Analytics engagements where you have the data scientists, data engineers and translators. In this case, McKinsey Quantum Black for example developed a specific framework called 5i, so the engagement is based on:

- ideation
- intelligence
- inception
- intervention
- independence

Hope this was useful!

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 04, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

You might get that impression from the way cases work but the real world is a lot more complex

Not sure what you actual question is but this can´t be summarized in bullets because, of course, it depends.

It mostly depends on the kind of engagement, which can be very diverse. Below some examples of my work:

  • Devise and implement maintenance strategy for mining processing plant 
  • Set up and run Innovation Garage for O&G incumbent to grow startups in conjunction with venture capital unit
  • Develop decarbonization strategy and pathway to net-zero for an entire country i.e. public sector engagement for government

Just imagine how different these projects and project dynamics are! And I haven´t even mentioned anything about Due Diligence, M&A, Transformation, etc.

Consulting is a lot more than it seems, which makes it so exciting :)

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replied on Jan 05, 2022
Current Bain & Company Project Leader and interviewer | 250+ interviews conducted | 6+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • Generally speaking, projects highly differ with regards to their approach based on the industry, the type of project, the urgency and many more factors.
  • Still, I agree with you that for similar types of project, the overall approach might be similar as well. For instance, DDs normally work very much the same way since the output is a lot more standardized as with other types of projects.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to best approach different types of real-life projects, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,


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Content Creator
replied on Jan 04, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Unfortunately the process if far more complex! This one is linear, while consulting is highly highly highly iterative (and it drives people crazy tbh)

Furthermore, it changes very much from engagement to engaement, I don´t think there is value in finding one unique approach, it would be full of exceptions! One thing that I can tell you for sure is that steps 1-3 in your process are not done during the project, but before

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Jan 05, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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replied on Jan 23, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

It's difficult to say exactly what the process is, but should be something around the following:

1. You don't “structure” the problem. You develop an initial hypothesis (partner-manager discussion) and structure a ghost deck around this (this is performed by the manager). 

2. Manager assigns workstreams ans specific slides to consultants

3. Consultants do the necessary research, interviews, analysis and editing on each slide. 

4. Manager reviews slides as they are done, checks for quality, discusses in team meetings and updates hypothesis and ghost deck. Slides are “sent back” to consultants so they can review and improve analysis - rinse and repeat as necessary until the right quality level is found.

5. Preliminary conclusions and deck are discussed with Partner, who provides input. Document is reviewed, and analysis added.

6. Manager / Partner meets key people at the client to start getting buy in for the recommendations.

7. Regular steering meetings with client, so they can adjust the project direction and make sure it is meeting their needs.

8. Update ghostdeck, assign analysis to consultants, …

Rinse and repeat as necessary.

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