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MBB - differences???

#1 MBB - differences???
04/11/2008 20:17


What would people say the main, actual differences are between Mck, BCG and Bain???

Am having to write application letters and specify why I'd like to each firm, but struggling to genuinely find reasons that are specific to them individually - they're all big, they all have generalist graduate streams, they're all international... it feels a bit like saying what sets Pret a Manger, Cafe Nero and Starbucks apart - but without actually being able to eat in any of them!

I guess what would be really helpful is stuff like the real day-to-day things that you wouldn't neccessarily be able to tell from looking at the websites - like, as a random example, BCG is really quantative, whilst McK is slightly more ideas based. Any ideas/suggestions?

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#2 RE: MBB - differences???
04/11/2008 20:33

Evil Consultant to toms (#1)

The main differences between the three of them relate to the type of people employed and the organisational culture:

- McKers are neurotic and insecure scientists/engineers

- Bainees are mostly arrogant former sporty types who have gone to fat once they've graduated

- BCGers apparently all studied PPE at Oxford or SPS at Cambridge

Hope this helps.


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#3 RE: MBB - differences???
04/11/2008 20:43

toms to Evil Consultant (#2)

Thanks for the info EC, but, whilst I would love to write

"I'm particularly keen to work for Bain because not only am I arrogant AND sporty, but I also intend to get fat - which makes me believe I'll happy fit into the firm's world-renowned culture"

I might need something a *tiny* bit more positive. Anyone have any ideas???

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#4 RE: MBB - differences???
04/11/2008 21:14

Anon to toms (#3)

Tell them you'll go morbidly obese - they'll love the work ethic.

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#5 RE: MBB - differences???
05/11/2008 09:13

spexii to toms (#1)

To break it a bit more gently, what EC and Anon are telling you is that asking that question on this forum is unlikely to be the best way to find the info you're looking for.

See whether your university can hook you up with any contacts, read every bit of promotional and non-promotional information you can find on the companies, etc.

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#6 RE: MBB - differences???
05/11/2008 10:50

Mars A Day to toms (#1)

Toms it gets pretty crowded in that smoky back room at the Dog an Bone when the Partners at MBB all meet up to compare applications, looking to exlude anyone who wants to join McKinsey AND Bain. Horrendous, they will think, this one doesn't understand how clearly differentiated we are, like Night and Later That Night! REJECT!

The stereotypes can be fun, even a little useful, but frankly at this point you will find no meaningful differentiation; if you interview with 2 of them or even 3, you'll naturally find you like the atmosphere, people and culture at one place more than the others, but in the end it may come down to which makes an offer.

You must have reasons to want to join them, and these reasons will be applicable to all of them, so tell them all the same reason assuming it's a good one. Frankly they would be very surprised if someone applied to McKinsey and NOT to BB and vice versa, unless they knew the firm very well.

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#7 RE: MBB - differences???
05/11/2008 19:58

pab to Mars A Day (#6)

As someone said before, you will find the best place for you and they will see on which company you might fit while doing the interviews.

Some possible differences:

McK: bigger, more known brand, more difficult to go up...

Bain: more relaxed atmosphere, more interested on you if you played in the rugby team, smaller company...but quite big too.

BCG: more intellectual

Good luck!

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#8 RE: MBB - differences???
05/11/2008 21:14

toms to pab (#7)

so it's okay to say, 'I wanna work for McKinsey because of its strong reputation and international size'??? To be honest, that is the main reason I want to work for them, rather than, say, 'leadership network' or whatever.

Maybe a better way of saying it is, is it not implicit in making an application to strat consulting that you do want to work in a business field for a large company - the only time i would have thought to mention size of company is if i'd apply to a small company, when i would specifically mark this out as an attraction?

Thanks for the comments, though, very interesting stuff!

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#9 RE: MBB - differences???
06/11/2008 01:03

pabs to toms (#8)

And also choose from the generic list:

meritocracy - fast career opportunities

experience in many industries

international exposure

early responsabilities


"people" (ha!)


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#10 RE: MBB - differences???
06/11/2008 14:57

toms to pabs (#9)

Many thanks pabs!

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#11 RE: MBB - differences???
10/11/2008 16:19

Bainee to toms (#10)

You would be surprised by how few people at Bain played Rugby.

Bain probably takes people that fit more with our ideology than BCG and people that are better-rounded and thus less academic than McKinsey.

Bain also has a more diverse culture than the other 2 big players. That means more LGBTs, more women and more minorities. This helps to further attract even more of these groups because that is part of our culture.

We probably also do more charity work than the other 2 which again attracts a slightly different demographic.

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#12 RE: MBB - differences???
10/11/2008 16:30

Emily Howard to Bainee (#11)

Great to hear that the firm strives to attract as many LGBTs as it can! On the T front, approximately what percentages of its staff would you say are:

a) post-op

b) pre-op

In particular, I was wondering what initiatives the firm gets involved with in order to encourage and assist with the recruitment of cross-dressers?

Many thanks!

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#13 RE: MBB - differences???
10/11/2008 20:19

toms to Emily Howard (#12)

Emily - a great example of a stupid response to a very decent post. Thanks nevertheless Bainee...

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#14 RE: MBB - differences???
25/11/2008 14:12

A.P. to toms (#13)

Very useful thread! Thank you everyone for the info, should be quite helpful to me as I am a grad student also planing to apply for these companies. Good luck toms, hope you get the one you want!

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