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McKinsey and Bain 🐠, do you feel like your firm values you? I really like consulting, but I’m considering a switch since BCG’s culture is somewhat toxic.

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OP, just out of curiosity, what is your role/tenure? I think you’ll find that a lot of people in a lot of companies are struggling right now. I’m struggling to balance the stress of this pandemic, finding time outside of work to support my immediate family, and financially supporting other family members who have been affected way more than me during all of this. Yes, this job is hard. But not for a moment have I not felt supported by case team leadership to do what I need to do or by BCG at large to take space where I need it.

If you haven’t been around a while, the struggles you are experiencing may have to do with how hard this job is to do remote, especially early in your career. If you’re more tenured, the stark contrast between pre-COVID and now is tough to deal with (at least I know it is for me). There are plenty of folks in leadership here who take care of their people, and I hope you find them.

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Ex-Bainee here - I feel better at BCG than I did at Bain overall (different geographies though)

What I like about BCG: MUCH better WLB (most important to me), smarter people overall, lesser grunt work (i.e. easier to outsource grunt work), lesser forced fun and way less groupthink (I think in the name of culture Bain has a tendency to force everyone into the same mold), more directness (e.g. marginally higher transparency on staffing)

What I miss about Bain: I made real friends at the office, some of whom I'm still very close to... didn't have the same experience at BCG (it feels a bit more impersonal and professional) but that obv can be due to a host of other reasons, also the language at Bain (CYA, CLM, Answer First, NUTSAC) was very powerful and everyone spoke it

Overall Bain has a more homogenous cultural identity and that comes with its pros and cons

likesmart

Which office are you at now - I know hours vary a lot by location with places like NL being the best and EMs being the worst

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No corporate company values you. Just another employee number

likesmarthelpful

Consulting jobs “pay ok”? 🤔

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“Top Tier” employers (MBB, IB, FAANG, Big Law, etc.) target insecure overachievers almost exclusively and then employ up or out cultures to keep them from ever feeling secure. This generally results in high productivity, but high burn-out rates.

likesmarthelpful

And also terrible success rates with marriages & families 🤣

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Can’t speak for every office or every team (I’m in NYC) but yes, I genuinely feel our culture is built around a good-faith effort to make our lives happy and successful. I am not saying the success rate is 100% but there is a genuine effort there.

likesmartfunny

Even if “the company” only cares about culture to increase ROI, that doesn’t mean it’s the incentive for those you work with. Also, I would argue most good decisions in business lead to increased ROI in some way.. a top performer staying because they enjoy working at a firm = increased ROI but there is nothing wrong with that. If a decision is made that increases ROI and benefits employees, that’s a win win. Nothing wrong with that. You get your benefit, they get $. This is a good transaction.

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I spent six years at BCG, got promoted twice and yet never felt valued at the firm. I never even felt like I ever had a great mentor. BCG over values on “horsepower” and it heavily under-indexes on personal relationships. I’m only one data point but that’s my perspective.

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My last comment on this topic is that 20% revenue CAGR has real costs to culture even with the best of intentions. There is reason no other large or mid sized firm tries to consistently grow at those levels.

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I feel infinitely less valued at BCG, than I did when I worked at Bain. In fact, I am having mental breakdown at BCG, and often go and cry and open up to my Bain mentors, who have also now left sadly.

If there is a Bain soul, that would be willing to talk to a former Bainie, I’d love to! I would love to come back home.

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@bcg7 dm me if you want to talk

I would say you’re going to struggle to find any really company or Firm that truly values you as a person. They might value your skills, your potential, and/or your ability to contribute, but not you as a person / personality.

I’ve found great people that I feel value me within the Firm, but the Firm itself probably doesn’t really care if I stay or go.

I think that holds true for many larger organizations. I hope you find people whom you like and who like you, wherever you end up going. Good luck.

likesmarthelpful

Maybe that culture (capitalizing) is why people don’t come first

Bain is tough, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve felt supported every step of the way.

In super dark moments, I’ve legit cried to my mentors and advisors (support structure outside of my actual case team) and have been met with zero judgement and tons of empathy for my personal/professional needs. Not saying that’s standard or recommended though lol.

Would echo that you need to be your own advocate, but I have always felt that Bain has been responsive in staffing, giving time off, early nights, wellness resources, etc. They also invest heavily in fun, team bonding, food, and other perks.

People are generally extroverted and choose Bain (often over McK/BCG) because they care most about relationships.

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You realize we are all the same company with different names right?

likefunnysmart

My sister worked at BCG for a year and I have been at bain for 5. I think we hire very similar people and do roughly similar work, but the culture is truly different. If you don’t believe culture matters then your statement is 💯 right

likesmart

Lol no

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Good to know. At least BCG is the same as their peers.

I guess I’ll jump to industry instead.

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I feel completely valued and supported at Bain.

Work is surely demanding, but everytime I needed something, I could count on senior leadership, HR, and mentors to get it.

South American office btw.

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Echoing what every other Bainee has said on this chain - I feel really supported and safe at Bain. I can say how I feel and be received fairly and kindly, I don’t feel at risk of being judged. Don’t get me wrong, I also work really hard and the job can be super tough/demanding, but at the end of the day someone has my back and I get to go in to work everyday and hang out with my friends

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I was based out of APAC when at Bain.

I really do feel valued. Here in Texas, Bain engaged an emergency response firm at its own cost to get food, water, and heat to stranded bainies. They didn’t need to do this, it wasn’t for their bottom line. It was because the firm genuinely cares about its people (and knows that it’s the people that make the firm and generate revenue and they will be more profitable with higher retention). So by having a strong caring and supportive culture we can have budget retention and be a stronger company. The disaster response firm is just one of dozens of examples of the company going the extra mile to show it cares for its people.

I also feel like I have numerous advocates at senior levels in my office.

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And sent a nationwide message with an update and to ask out of regions bainies to support local TX relief organizations.

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Fwiw I think Bain has an average tenure of ~50 months. I’m not sure about other firms but I’ve heard the average is somewhere closer to ~20 months. This is likely a function of size as well as culture, but it does speak to people feeling valued by the firm.

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^ without knowing any detailed data re: the above, I’ve also heard that 40% of Bain LT in North America started off as ACs. Take that as you will.

Without trying to gut check any data, Bain gives you pretty generous b-school sponsorship, stipends, etc., apparently more so than McK/BCG’s already generous sponsorship packages, according to some anecdotes from friends. Externship is more common here and can be subsidized by Bain too depending on the opportunity (which I believe isn’t the case always at BCG/McK)...so that serves as a retention driver.

So maybe the AC to SAC and SAC to M retentions alone are each a notch higher than peers’ (even if not wildly different), and these little differences here and there add up?

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I have had a terrific experience over a decade at McK.

But remember, of course we value you, we pay you a salary to show you just how we value you. Keep your skills relevant so you can keep contributing, and we will keep valuing you.

likesmart

Lol I’ve considered moving over to BCG for this reason

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I’m wondering if it is unique to BCG or if all up or out firms have a negative internal culture.

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Exactly. Feature, not bug.

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I feel much more valued at BCG than I did when I worked at Bain

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Culture matters, and differs slightly between firms — operative word is SLIGHTLY. The people that work at these 3 firms all graduate from the same schools with the same degree, go through the same recruiting process testing for the same skills, and are doing essentially the same job. Culture likely varies just as much within a given firm (between offices, practices, teams) as between firms. There ARE amazing, nice, genuine people in every firm who will value you but you might just need to seek them out.

That being said, I do perceive Bain’s brand and culture as being more “fun” though which on balance probably attracts people who don’t take themselves quite as seriously as McK / BCG...

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Very well said

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