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If you had to choose between Bain and McKinsey offers, at the consultant level, what would you choose?

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Depends on what your trying to solve for. I’ve had exposure to both.

Where McK wins:

1) travelling around to new cities and working in new geographies
2) toolkit development & learning
3) breadth of studies and topics
4) structure
5) prestige / more known
6) breadth of network

Where Bain wins:

1) culture - I love the “a Bainie never lets another Bainie fail” slogan.
2) private equity work
3) quality of relationships / friendships

Where McK loses:

1) cutthroat competitive culture
2) getting lost in translation

Where Bain loses:

1) Strategy work
2) knowledge development work

My $0.02

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McK7 - I’m not really sure how you can judge that. We do a lot of those cases for our clients. You have more clients so will naturally do more of it, but I have seen us have a relatively higher win rate in strategy than in other capabilities

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Chose Bain over McK and would do so in a heartbeat again

Bain is significantly bigger than 5 years (we’ve more than doubled in that time), so all arguments people are making about breadth etc are irrelevant - Bain is plenty big enough to satisfy your wants.

I’m not going to give you a pros/cons list as I think most factors are nuanced and you can interpret them either way. The things I would recommend considering in your decision are:

Progression: McK is typically ~6-7 years to Partner vs. ~7-8 years at Bain. The trade off is definitely a more competitive culture at McK, and they’ve actually relaxed up/out at EM recently so their average will tick up slightly. My view is that the difference is so marginal in the grand scheme of things

Comp: It’s close enough to a wash. Bain’s profit sharing lower down is probably offset by faster progression at McK. Bain Partners make more on average, McK Senior Partners make more. You’ll make plenty at either.

WLB: Most anecdotal and 3rd party data suggests people at Bain work ~5hrs less per week. Mix of less travel and focus on wlb being part of our culture

Growth: Bain is outgrowing McK (which is easier given we are ~50% of their size). This is important when it comes to promotion prospects at senior levels, McK is ridiculously competitive at AP level as there are relatively fewer Partner spots available.

Business Mix: Bain skews more to PE (20-25% of our work), if you really want to avoid it you can, but most people would recommend at least trying out a rotation given it’s an important part of our business and the quality of our product is far superior. If you are desperate for Public Sector work, then pick McK, we rarely go near it. McK is also way bigger in Healthcare and geography wise in parts of Asia and Africa.

Staffing Model: Bain operates a home office staffing model (some offices e.g. Texas operate as a cluster of offices). This means you are always staffed with a team out of your office, typically on work sold or run by a partner from your office. This has development benefits as people from your office are more invested in you (and there are more clearly defined penalties for them if you have a bad experience). This is not to say you won’t travel - if you want the experience of flights and hotels then it exists, but it also makes it easier to avoid this if you don’t want it. McK’s model is way more global. It is still local in practice and most people will work in their region, but there are no barriers to getting staffed on the other side of the world if you push for it and can convince the partners there to staff you.

Learning/Development: Again I think it’s a wash. McK has more internal knowledge due to its size, but Bain invests ridiculous amounts in training and we have global training every year with our cohort (obviously was a bit different last 2 years)

Culture: The one you vibe with the best is the right one for you. I would guess that more people who work at Bain say they love going to work vs. at McK. Our culture and enjoyment of being at Bain is such a big part of who we are as a firm. The whole white frat boy thing is so much less true now, Bain is massively committed to diversify and we publish a report publically with our stats. McK touts it’s diversity, but doesn’t give stats.

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Bain is ranked higher alphabetically

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If you want to be surrounded by straight white men, Bain for sure.

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If we're playing the anecdotal game since mck and bcg don't publish numbers, when I interviewed with mck, all 6 of my interviews across rounds were white men. Of 5 at Bain, 1 was a women and 2 were POC (rest white male). Across 8 jve experienced at BCG, only 1 was a woman and 1 was POC (rest white male).

I'm sure this varies by office as well, especially for Bain.

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McKinsey no bias, unless you want to do PE

likefunny

‘No bias’

likefunny

Bain for structural things in place to allow for better WLB and culture, and strong office community. McK often has no office community

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I'd go with whichever I clicked with better in interviews. These are hard jobs and it sucks a lot less if you really like your coworkers.

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Bain because they don’t travel as much. If you like to travel and stay in nice hotels, etc. Then McK.

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We have more PE work than Bain any given day. Just that percent of PE work at Bain (of the total work they do) might be higher

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Damn McK, making us look bad lmao

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I'd go with Bain personally, at least based on my local office.

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I chose Bain over McK twice and I'd do it again if they were to extend a third offer (though I doubt it - guess I burned some bridges ;)

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Bain if you're a frat bro and / or you like to party

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Plenty of people get work done then just go home. We don’t shackle people to the bar to socialize…

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McK if you want to surround yourself with obnoxious, cocky folks

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I don’t find Bain folks somewhat less arrogant but there are a few. I think this is a lesson for all MBB to dial it down a notch.

Thanks everyone. So a bit more context bc the roles are not for generalist consultant but a bit more specialized:

The roles are for McK Implementation and similar for Bain (they are trying to build their specialist consultant team) so in terms of travel, it will be the same for both. In terms for work, it seems McKinsey implementation (MI) has a bit more established processes and actually the people that I talked to they mentioned that MI is a mini firm within McK. Bain has offered similar thoughts however it is still very nascent so that might not be the case. The benefit to being very nascent is that you can grow faster as you help build that group.

Not really interested in doing PE work later on my career (at least for now) so that is not an area I am trying to solve for.

Does that change any of your opinions? Also I have been told the MI wlb is much better than the generalists track. Anyone from MI here that can tell me about their experience?

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McK if you feel deeply insecure about yourself.

Bain or BCG if you don’t feel deeply insecure about yourself.

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There’s a reason the M comes first in MBB

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"There's a reason the M comes first..."

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McK

Bain

Would anyone be willing to provide a referral for my application to Bain Advantage? Bain & Company

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