Why BCG? Ideal interview answers for candidates

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Edited on Sep 05, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 24, 2018

Hi there,

I have a very typical question that might have been answered already many times. However, I am thinking of an ideal answer for my case. I have an interview at BCG coming up. I hold a PhD in Chemistry and have no industry experience. Not too familiar with the different work areas and the different philosophies of the different companies, I am interested in some ideas. For instance, it is already hard for me to see the differences of the different offices of BCG within Germany. Are there any?

So far, I am thinking of mentioning these three points: 1) All chemists I know that went to consulting, went to BCG. I know one of them better, he likes his company a lot. I like him as a person (good to hang out with). Therefore, I am convinced that BCG is the right company for me. 2) Having a strong focus on chemistry, also means that I do not have profound experience in other areas. As generalist, I can develop myself the best. 3) BCG highly encourages people with a life science background to apply. Therefore, I feel adressed.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Jul 25, 2018

Do not overthink this. It is important to have a solid answer, but your interviewer won't be looking to call you out - as long as you are sincere, you will be fine.

From every interviewer I have ever spoken to (including in my capacity as a junior interviewer at Bain), everyone agrees that the people element is generally the most powerful. Therefore, your example of friends that work at BCG and enjoy it is perfect. If possible, I would add some slightly more concrete examples of why he/she enjoys it, and why that resonates with you.

If you have had the chance to meet BCG people at recruiting events at your University, I would also mention this, and the impact it had on your perception of the firm.

Finally, if there's a particular sector you are interested in that you know the BCG office you are applying to is particularly strong in, this is something worth mentioning.

What I wouldn't mention or place particular emphasis on is the generalist model, or that you don't have expertise in other areas. Most global consulting firms use a generalist model, so this doesn't convince me as to "why BCG". Further, the way you frame it makes it seem like a weakness that you do not have expertise in other areas, which is generally not desirable.

Honestly, do not over worry about this. The "why office/company" question is critical only when you are applying to an office where you do not have a clear link to (e.g. an American applying to Dubai office), or if you are making a major career switch and need to justify why (e.g. switching between consulting firms).

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Diana replied on Jul 24, 2018

Hy Anonymous

I am in a similar situation here in France and I think that one big asset of BCG is the fact that they communicate towards scientists, and particularly towards PhDs. Thus:

1) we can see that the firm values the skills that we developed during our scientific projects. As they are already used to recruitig scientists we can hope that once inside:

1.1 - our skills will fit to the firm's needs

1.2 - the firm will provide training in the areas that we lack knowledge

2) there is a big proportion of PhDs working at BCG, thus once we are recruited we know that we will easily integrate the team, and we will have many people to talk to if we need to seek advice, and thus we will work more efficiently

This is my point of view but maybe someone who works / has worked for them will argue differently

Good luck with your interview!

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 24, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I would structure it a bit differently:

  1. BCG is strong in your industry (research some examples) but also provide the opportunities for you to diversify
  2. BCG opened for PHDs and you know may examples
  3. You have friends working at BCG (chemical industry is not important here) - all the great people and you are more than happy to join them

Here are some other ideas that you can use to structure your thoughts:

  • You can start with general facts about the local office. Something like “Sidney office is the fastest growing McKinsey office worldwide.”
  • If you have an interest in a particular industry or client this may also be a great reason. For example, BCG can be the only consulting firm working with airlines in your region.
  • You may address the different Global opportunities and office initiatives. E.g. international staffing can be a good opportunity to learn about business in a particular country
  • Try to combine professional and Non-business rational. If you have friends working in that company, don’t forget to mention them and what you’ve learned from their experience.
  • You may use your other personal experiences like working with this BCG, it's deliverables or as it's client
  • You can provide your personal experience of working with McKinsey Alums
  • McKinsey women / LGBT / etc. initiatives

Good luck!

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Apr 30, 2020

Dear A,

“Why consulting?”, “Why McKinsey” or “Why BCG” questions are used to assess your motivation to be a consultant in general and to work in that particular firm. They will check how you have done your homework and what you’ve learned about them. They also want to make sure that you have a clear intention to work in consulting.

The answers to these questions are supposed to be short and take no more than 30 seconds each.
For each question, you should provide three bullets points with different reasons.
Make sure that you guide the interviewer through your reasoning. Words like “The first reason”, “Moreover”, “Finally” will help you.


Also, I would recommend you to fit your answer in this common framework:

1. Situation

2. Problem

3. Solving

4 Result

5. Your learnings.


Good luck!

Best,
André

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Marco-Alexander
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Sep 05, 2021
Former BCG | Case author for efellows book | Experience in 6 consultancies (Stern Stewart, Capgemini, KPMG, VW Con., Hor

(edited)

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