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BCG, McK or Monitor

 
#1 BCG, McK or Monitor
26/05/2006 15:18

undecided

I have pending offers from ADL, ATK, BAH, BCG, McK and Monitor (all in Europe). I am basically doubting among the latter three of them. Here some thoughts on some of the variables one might take into account when deciding. I would appreciate your complementing input on this:

1) People & Culture: I feel Monitor is, by far, the best fit. I like their ideas about the company culture on paper (flat organization, no up or out, personalized path, etc.) and I like it even more in practice, as the people I’ve met were great. People at McK and BCG were very friendly as well, but I’m concerned about the up or out system employed by these firms and its repercussions on the working environment. In addition, McK is often portrayed as the place for ‘unsocial nerds’, not my opinion based on the contacts so far, but as you know there’s no smoke without fire.

2) Content of work: Monitor most strategy intensive, followed by BCG, while McK does a lot of operations work and has to accept even the less interesting assignments just to keep up with their size.

3) Travel: BCG least travel intensive, while Monitor on the top of the list. I tend to romanticize the travel aspect at the moment and see it as a plus, but this could change when getting to know what the airport-hotel-client life really means.

4) Money: not an issue, they pay pretty much the same. However, I am a bit concerned about how the pay evolves. Anyways, I will definitely not base my choice on money.

5) Hours: not a good insight into this, but I expect they are pretty similar everywhere: long.

6) MBA sponsorship: Not an issue at BCG and McK if one performs well. Not so straightforward at Monitor. I do see the MBA sponsorship as very important.

7) Brand/Exit options: Is McK so much stronger on this aspect than the rest? This is the impression I have so far and I would really want having McK on my CV. Yet, would it be wise to confer such a weight to this single aspect?

These were some of my thoughts. I have to take the decision very soon, so your input (on the dimensions above, but on other issues that I’ve missed, too) is very much appreciated.

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#2 ...The offers are for a Business Analyst position (or equivalent)
26/05/2006 15:21

undecided

eom

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#3 Re: ...The offers are for a Business Analyst position (or equivalent)
27/05/2006 13:57

Jack

Mcky is the best option. Mcky does'nt have the best working culture, however it's reputation is key for future job transitions as well as MBA entry and post-MBA options. Day to Day work the work in all the firms will be the same so don't worry about that - u'll get tired of travel and hours within a year. If u want to move between strat firms later in u're career u can do that with the Mcky name - no probs.

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#4 Re: BCG, McK or Monitor
29/05/2006 15:02

Ed Hunter

There's nothing in your analysis I would disagree with. Some additional thoughts under those headings:

1) I would say this should be the over-riding selling point. You're going to be cooped up with these people a lot, so if one group culture stands out as noticably better, that could be the difference between you enjoying consultancy and you quitting after a few years to write a book writing of the evils of the consultancy industry. On a more serious note, the size of McKinsey means there is more room for variability and siloed teams with their own mini-cultures than you'd find at Monitor for example.

2) Agree. McKinsey get the headlines and stay there by doing everything that comes their way.

3) Agree. McKinsey and BCG have many European offices compared to Monitor, so can deal with more clients on a local basis. Monitor proportionally wins and delivers more work out of London. That can mean you get to work on more international projects full stop, as well as more travel. Consider both aspects separately as to whether you like them. In the balance of local and international work, my opinion is that jumping on a plane to Krakow is no more onerous than a train to Dagenham (probably as quick too!). It comes down more to how the firm treats travel time for purposes of billing as well as culturally.

4) You can swap ships later if the pay differential becomes too obvious or painful.

5) Agree. Again, it depends on how travel time is treated and the facilities/attitude to working on the move.

6) If the MBA sponsorship is key, then I would take this up explicitly with the firm. Bear in mind that an MBA is a couple of years off and the promises they are prepared to make to a fresh Business Analyst may be quite different to those they'll make and follow through on for someone who's proven their worth. When I was at school (albeit Canada rather than UK) I knew three Monitor consultants on the MBA so it's not out of the question.

7) McKinsey has the most memorable brand for the average man or woman on the street, but bearing in mind that the audience for your CV will be more discerning around the consultancy brands both BCG and Monitor could be a real boon. That is to say, when you exit will you be putting your CV in front of Mr Bloggs at the local garage ("McKinsey's the only one I've heard of - it must be good") or Ms Doe at the specialist consultancy headhunters ("McKinsey's well known, but as much for embarassing mistakes as for real achievements - I'd better probe further as to which projects this guy has been on, and what he's actually done - my client is worried about hiring a 'hanger-on' for the sake of the brand on their CV rather than their proven ability"

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#5 Re: BCG, McK or Monitor
26/07/2006 16:07

dream_big_etc

Hi Ed,

That was a very insightful response to "undecided's" post. If you have time, a few follow up questions:

-What about sectors? I've heard that Monitor's sectoral focus may be more narrow/concentrated than that of the other firms "undecided" is/was considering. Namely, I've heard Monitor focuses mostly in telecom, IT, media, and pharmaceuticals, with less work in more "traditional" manufacturing industries and sectors like oil and gas, transportation/logistics, etc. Do you think this is true? I've also heard they do a lot of private equity work and wonder about the chances of focusing in this area with them.

-Your point about brand (point 7) and considering the audience is great. Aside from the other consultancies and consulting recruiters, who you suggest will know Monitor, what about the strategy divisions in industry?

-Last, about your point 1 (the people), did you mean to say that McKinsey offers more options for finding one's niche?

Thanks!

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#6 RE: BCG, McK or Monitor
27/07/2006 10:53

actionable to dream_big_etc (#5)

to dream_big_etc:

a comment on your point #1:

interestingly, yesterday I asked the same question at Monitor Moscow office - and they said exactly the opposite: their focus is on resources and manufacturing.

If you happen to be interested in these sectors, as opposed to the others which are the favourites of mine, - and you happen to have an offer from Monitor in Europe - shall we swap around? ;)))

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