Does anyone have any experience working at Boston Consulting Group or Oliver Wyman in Riyadh? Considering opportunities there and wanted to learn more about work culture, openness to female colleagues and work hours.

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Female that previously worked at BCG. Work was intense because Saudi Arabian clients are demanding + scope of projects is big + projects are understaffed. However, you get significant support to use resources (research and production) at BCG and McKinsey more than other firms. I found it pleasant to delegate the non-value adding parts of my tasks so I could focus on what’s important and deal with ad-hoc requests, which took up a lot of our time. The workload and lack of work-life balance was one thing, but what was more upsetting is that I got so much disrespect and bias from male consultants (Europeans, South East Asians, Lebanese, etc.) than any of the annoying/derogatory stuff you hear comes from clients, who were ok for the most part with having you as part of the team. Some went out of their way to make us feel welcome. I think a lot of people who move to this region think they can get away with things far easier than they would in their own countries. You see true misogyny unleashing; it’s scary. I unfortunately did not have the support to work harassment-free, so I left. My female friends at other firms, including OW, had very similar experiences to mine.

helpfullike

(If it helps for context, MDP ME here)

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^^this

Also worthwhile to note that these places have their fair share of senior individuals with a ‘mercenary’ attitude. Add in the large number of laterals who come with chips on their shoulders and you have a messy situation that isn’t for everyone

Good luck

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I have worked in several projects in Riyadh as a cross-office staff (male, so I can’t say much about the female perspective, but customers are usually respectful towards women, however they tend to listen more to men)
Pros:
-you’ll be better paid (compared to price levels) than literally anywhere else in the world as a consultant, including places like Dubai or the US
-there is very little up-or-out, if you can put up with all the shit that comes your way, and you are not a literal idiot, you will be promoted
Cons:
-you’ll be working exclusively in public sector, and you’ll need to put up with clients who are extremely demanding, very hectic, and dumb at the same time, because of nepotism
-most local (e.g. Saudi born and raised) junior staff is not the most clever or capable, but they need to be hired because of Saudi policy - this also means you’ll be carrying most of the project on your shoulder
-because of the little up-or out, you’ll be working with a lot of incapable PLs and MDPs
-you will be working in a desert in a country that disregards most human rights. The whole place has an oppresive/depresive vibe; I could not wait to get out of there for good after 6 months on projects!

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Dumb MDPs aren’t Riyadh specific but Middle East wide. Full of those who either couldn’t make it back home or those without better options from the region.

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