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david vs. goliath ?

#1 david vs. goliath ?
19/02/2008 10:33


hello folks!

this is not really a question, more a call for some input and food for thought ...

i am in the fortunate position to be offered a consultants position from both bain and bcg in germany. assume that compensation, personal fit and exit options are comparable. now:

1) bcg has a huge german presence, with a reputation possibly even surpassing mck among german business leaders. they have lots of offices and their administrative area spreads into the new growth areas in eastern europe and the middle east.

2) bain on the other hand are late-comers to the game in germany. they have only three offices and lag behind berger, atk, oliver wyman and bah in terms of name recognition. they are, however, investing and growing heavily at 20%+ revenue growth in the last year.

so the different outlooks are either joining an established company with somewhat solidified corporate structure (for better or worse), or to enter in a situation of exceptional growth and aggressive expansion. can you guys think of issues i should cosnider in making that decision (i.e. climbing the promotional ladder, job security etc.)?

comments are appreciated,



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#2 RE: david vs. goliath ?
19/02/2008 10:40

Casio to matthias (#1)

I have to say Bain. As a fellow new starter in the industry I find the idea of a fast moving dynamic company far more attractive. My reasoning is much the same as yours, greater opportunities for internal promotions as the aggressive growth continues.

I take your point about BCG's German presence but realistically either brand will be great on the CV.

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#3 RE: david vs. goliath ?
19/02/2008 12:07

Personal opinion to Casio (#2)

If what you say about BCG is true and it is stronger in Germany, go there. You are very unlikely to be there after 2 years and very unlikely beyond one promotion anyway. Opportunities for promotion in a growing company are overated particularly for entry and lower levels. Get the best experience with people you feel you enjoy working with that will give you the best exit options in 2-3 years

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#4 RE: david vs. goliath ?
19/02/2008 15:41

Mars A Day to matthias (#1)


Given that the Germany office is new for Bain - and the relative hit MBB will still take if recession bites in the European economy, I would suggest you are safer at BCG both because the practice has the critical mass locally, and because BCG has alway looked to run lean in the good times to ensure they dont need to run high levels of attrition in the bad.

You also have to consider exit options; if you would be looking for an international move then either would be great launch points, so my points above stand. But if you are moving from consulting to industry, the local reputation of BCG will make this easier (and open up more opportunities to move client side for obvious reasons).

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#5 much appreciated.
19/02/2008 15:49

matthias to matthias (#1)

thanks so much, good points everyone.

keep 'em coming!

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#6 RE: much appreciated.
19/02/2008 17:07

Tony Restell ( to matthias (#5)

Matthias - I faced a similar predicament in the UK market back in 1995/6. Should I join Roland Berger - who in the German market were neck and neck with McKinsey as the leading strategy consultancy; but in the UK were only just starting out. Or should I join one of the more established strategy firms in London.

I personally decided to join Roland Berger as I like an entrepreneurial environment and liked the idea of being able to climb the promotion ladder faster if I made myself a core part of the success of the new office. The reality was it wasn't that great a risk - having RB on my CV made me pretty employable with other strategy firms (and client organisations), so had the office been closed down I would have been in a pretty good situation. The same would be true with you and Bain. Having Bain on your CV you are never going to struggle to find good new career options you could pursue.

So in my view this is mainly a question of where do you feel comfortable. Would you like to have a "gentle" introduction to consulting where you gradually learn the ropes and progress up the career ladder in a structured fashion - or would you like to be thrown in the deep end and be expected to take on the responsibilities of someone that's been in the industry longer than you at an earlier age.

Good luck with your choice.

Tony Restell

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