{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "To MBB fish, how do you like the people you work with? There’s a stereotype that the MBB culture is cut-throat and people can be unnecessarily aggressive. No offense but most of those I met in social settings gave me a generally arrogant vibe too. I’m looking to apply to MBB from Tech consulting, but wonder if I’d fit in their cultures. McKinsey & Company Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group", "post_id": "609358e812c80d002485fdfc", "reply_count": 67, "vote_count": 7, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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It’s a mixed bag. A lot of people across all of them are the insufferable young achiever types who can’t let go of “oh you went to school X”, some of that is youth some of that is personality. Similarly there are some amazingly talented people who just happen to work in consulting professionally.

At some point it comes down to your close network than the larger broader company, and I think most firms have enough of any “type” to create a close network of people you gravitate towards. I’ll also add, I mean network here not your hierarchy or line management, a lot of good people work with or put up with annoying ones, they just live with it.

likehelpful

The average person is normal, not aggressive. It’s a group of very ambitious people for sure so maybe that comes across as aggressive or arrogant. However, many introverted, thoughtful and quiet ones also exist, and are able to find their space. Don’t be intimidated by the group you’ve met OP. The actual arrogant ones are generally who have played the job up in their heads so much they generally overestimate what they do. If you do join the firm, you work with so many people that you are bound to find many nice ones, and that makes personal experience generally okay.

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I find people take themselves too seriously and project a facade of “everything is ok” — they’re not stressed out, this place isn’t political, your managers care about you, etc. If you don’t snap to reality quickly, you’ll get slaughtered.

If you find the right group of people, it can be a blast. I’m in aerospace and defense with a bunch of irreverent jokers for teammates and ex-military case leadership with actual life perspective. We get our work done, play the game, and have a good time.

likehelpful

Not been my experience. Vast majority of people pretty friendly, helpful, and on the whole mostly humble. Sometimes can be a little elitist talking about hotels, flights, etc. but not tons.

likehelpful

my god I miss being elitist and talking about points and hotels and flights

likefunnysmart

Maybe I’m delusional. But coming from a life science PhD background, I think my past life was far more “cut-throat” than this. You just find your people and your good... 2 cents

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The less there is to win, the more people fight to win it

Overall, it’s not as bad or common as people think.

Now, I worked at McK and BCG, and can 100% say that McK in average has more aggressive/typeA/arrogant personalities. But it’s still not very dramatic, or like what I heard IB is

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BCG is more “suburban” but I doubt it’s any less cutthroat that Mck. It’s just much more covert and masked by frequent smiles

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My friend, MBB is an ocean, and there are many kinds of fish. You will find your group

likeupliftingsmart

Plenty of fish in the bowl

likefunny

There are great and not-so-great people everywhere. What I have really enjoyed at BCG, esp at the A/C level is that almost everyone genuinely want you to succeed, and will try their best to support you. We are promoted when we are ready (or counselled out if not after 2ish years), hence success isn’t really a zero-sum game for us

likehelpful

Sounds like you are already not cut out for the environment.

likefunnyhelpful

It’s a joke relax......obviously there will always be stereotypes about the type of people working in certain industry or company.

Currently work at BCG, started out of undergrad. I recruited for investment banking, consulting and Tech. Of them all, there were companies that were more arrogant in their field than the others: Goldman Sachs was the most antagonistic of the banks, McKinsey was most aggressive of the consulting firms and I found Google to be the most arrogant and A-holy of all the companies I recruited for (by far). I don’t remember exactly what this recruiter said to me but I was ready to “take this offline”.

BCGers I find to be passively elitist, as we all have massive privilege, but culturally it’s a big no no to be arrogant, even if you’re good. I actually think BCG could use more confidence and aggression sometimes.

In summary, once your company has thousands of employees (like these all do) your experience becomes more personal to you than generalizable across everyone.

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A lot of this resonates with me. All of these firms are huge and diverse, with pockets of mean, nice, arrogant, unassuming, etc. You can always find your tribe. They all do have broad cultures, though, and it’s really personal preference and what resonates with you.

I like the combo of direct, out there confidence and genuine behind the scenes caring about our clients’ personal journeys of McKinsey. My best friend operates better in under the “we’re nerdy!” veneer BCG slaps on top of their smartest-guys-in-the-room thing and the amount of engagement they get to have as partners with one client. There should be zero judgment here.

Except about Google. Everyone I have met there who isn’t a hands on keyboard engineer has been an arrogant jerk.

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All the people I liked left. Handful of good ones left. Work closely with someone I find insufferably arrogant now.

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Recently left McKinsey but think the people were actually my favorite part of the job. Coming from academia, I had similar concerns as you. I was pleasantly surprised by the reality - really kind, smart, ambitious and fun coworkers.

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I've found Bain to be quite collaborative... more than I expected, and maybe more than is good for me, as I'm someone for whom a healthy dose of competition drives performance

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I don’t know man I work with really great people like all the time. I haven’t experienced any of that arrogance stuff.

likefunny

At BCG there is no reason to ever be “cut-throat” about anything or directly competitive with anyone. There is no part of the evaluation or promotion process that pits you head to head with anybody. Case evaluations do not rank the team members (nor is there often many people at one level to have a ranking). Promotion decisions are more or less “does this person meet the requirements” not “who’s #5 and who’s #6”.

There may be personality clashes but isn’t that a risk everywhere?

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Everyone has bad experiences. That of course happens.

As a Principal I can tell you I’ve had teams of all stars who all got high marks and all mediocre folks who all got middling marks. There is zero requirement for me to have top / middle / bottom reflected in the scores.

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The reality is that it's a really competitive environment with a limited number of spots at each level so you can expect a bit of nasty behavior from some no matter where you go

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The vibe I get at BCG at least at the post MBA level is that they WANT everyone to make it to the next level because we’re growing so quickly and retention is an issue. There’s no head to head competition until maybe principal/partner to have a commercial platform, but before then it’s just about showing your performance meets/exceeds the standards.

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It's no less competitive when you leave for industry. Quick guess how many ceo jobs each company has. Now think about how many people are in the successor list. So on and so on...

It's always competitive as return on time increases. It's not because of the money. It's survival bias - everyone who can get it, still want it, and survived by being competitive.

The money is a lot because for each of those roles, there are very few qualified to even interview

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At the risk of sounding too naive, is the whole thing about nice people and a colaborative environment at MBB firms a big lie?

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Not at all. My general experience has been as you described. Outliers do exist.

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Frankly, if this is the kind of thing you’re wondering, it’s not for you. It’s largely type-a, insecure overachievers. If you don’t want to work with people like that, stay where you are.

likesmart

These firms have literally thousands of ppl — you can seek out the personality types you work well with after the first year or so

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