Therefore, read on till the end.
All about selection criteria in McKinsey BCG and Bain
While the selection criteria between the three firms typically share some key point of objective comparison, there are also equally clear differences between them when it comes to the fundamental principles of applicant selection.
In addition, the typical range of the key criteria is significantly influenced by a complex number of essential elements which can typically vary at the time of the specific application. These influences can typically range from being specific to the firm in terms of personal fit and culture to the position being applied for. It is equally essential to remember that even when objective criteria seem similar at a glance, there are likely a number of intricate details that would clearly define the one from the other.
It is also essential to remember that there are not only differences between these three management consulting firms but there are in addition, a few differences in the process and selection criteria from office to office within the same firm. The selection criteria could be significantly influenced by country and office at which the applicant is applying, as well as the position being applied for.
Common application process of McKinsey, BCG and Bain
The overall application process and can generally be summarized under the following three key categories for all three firms:
- Screening and problem-solving test
- First round interview
- Second round interview
Differences In Selection Criteria Within The Same Firm
As mentioned, there can also be key differences in criteria between offices within the same firm. For example, certain Bain offices in Europe typically prefer experienced hires rather than graduates.
As mentioned, there can also be key differences in criteria between offices within the same firm. For example, certain Bain & Company offices in Europe typically prefer experienced hires rather than graduates.
The fundamental differences in skills and achievements between the three firms, can be organized collectively under three logical categories. These are:
- Academic achievements
- Essential skills (leadership, analytic and problem-solving skills)
- Personal fit
Differences In The Application Selection Criteria
1. Resume Screening
All three firms have particular specifications when it comes to recruiting cycles. The application process starts by submitting your resume for what is often referred to as “screening”. During this process, applications are shortlisted for the first round of interviews. The end selection criterion will likely screen out most applicants as the bar is set comparatively high due to the limited number of positions to fill.
Please refer to: New Trends In Resume Writing
While all three firms call for an application, in addition to the standard resume, there are a few key differences in the selection criteria, which can include:
- Bain & Company wants a Statement of Purpose which will explain the candidates reasoning for applying to Bain.
- The McKinsey screening operation includes the problem-solving test (PST). This test is a multiple choice test with 26 questions that will test the applicant’s mental math, logical thinking, and data analysis skills.
- Of the three management consulting companies, Bain & Company is the least likely to appoint an applicant that is not enrolled in one of the of MBA programs.
- McKinsey & Company and BCG (Boston Consulting Group) will consider applicants with other degrees like a law or medical degree.
2. Case Interview Design Criteria
- The Bain test is designed to test your confidence in your results while under pressure.
- The McKinsey pressure tests aim to objectively measure the prospective applicant’s cognitive performance under pressure.
- Boston Consulting Group wants to assess your business perception and the cognitive ability to not only just come up with innovative solutions but also explain how you achieved them. The test is also aimed at assessing your fit for the firm.
Recommended for you: Ultimate Tips to Crack Interview
3. Personal Experience Interview (PEI)
The general layout of application and resume process is often remarkably similar across all three firms, the Personal Experience Interview (PEI) and Case Interview have clear differences in terms of how the tests are executed and the weight they contribute to the general assessment and will vary across the three firms. While the test content, method, and progression are similar, there are a few notable differences between the three firms. These include:
- The McKinsey interview method is more measured with pre-determined questions to a number of trivial cases.
- Bain & Company and BCG ask for structured answers to a singular case. The test will pose a question and will be expected to come up with an appropriate answer.
- McKinsey & Company interviewers lean towards typically leading and controlling the pace of the interview while BCG and Bain are more inclined to willingly cede the control of the interview pace up to the applicant.
While the necessary skills assessed are similar between the three firms, there are equally distinct differences in terms of how the test and process are applied. For example:
- At McKinsey & Company, it is extremely likely the interviewer will challenge the logic of your answers to the Case Interview questions.
- Both McKinsey’s approach and PEI questions are more structured in comparison to the other two firms.
- BCG and Bain are both less structured, but Bain specific PEI question guidelines.
Recommended reading: Job Interview Questions and Answers for Accounting and Finance Careers
- The interview time also differs, typically ranging from 30 minutes for McKinsey to 20 minutes for BCG and less than 20 minutes for Bain & Company.
- McKinsey questions are designed to adequately measure your essential competencies in terms of your leadership skills, your achievements personal impact.
- The Boston Consulting Group interview measures your competencies like leadership, teamwork and personal impact.
Making The Fit
Company fit and culture is where you will typically observe the most substantial differences in selection criteria between the three firms. Selecting the most suitable candidate will ultimately come down to the applicant’s personality and background.
Based on information collected from a number of resources, the following lists of statements and words best describe the culture and personality differences between the firms and will provide you with a more defined indication of these key differences in company fit and culture, these include:
McKinsey & Company
- Exceptional relationship qualities
- Work with fierce passion and achieve contentment, easily described with term ‘work hard, play hard.’
- Structured and formal, always the “McKinsey Way”
Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
- Gifted individuals with significant academic achievements and generally more book smart.
- Proper balance is necessary, and what you put in is what you get out.
- Aim high and think big.
- Think outside the box.
- Customized innovation.
Bain & Company
- Balance is necessary but always keeps an eye on the prize.
- Work hard but do it with passion.
- Visual & critical thinking.
- Analytical balances.
11 Tips To Help You Ace The Screening Process With The best Resume
Your initial step in the selection process is presenting the best resume. This key step will rely on you providing the best resume and is, furthermore, one of the most difficult. Not only are you competing with thousands of other applicants but have one or two pages to formulate an impression. As the selection criteria for each of the three firms will be different, so start by learning all you can about the firm, their vision, values, and culture. Take the time to comprehend the specifications of the position and keep your resume short but detailed. Read: Top Tips for Writing Perfect Resume
Tip # 2
Only include information relevant to the position you are applying to.
Know precisely what the selection criteria are for the position you are applying for. Remember these firms are not only screening your specific application so make sure you perfect your chances of properly cementing a position in the upcoming round of interviews.
Very important to remember is that your resume will represent your specific skills and intellectual abilities. Naturally, make it count but always remember to follow instructions and utilize the opportunity to showcase your skills and achievements that match the selection criteria.
Do not eliminate valuable space with unnecessary information.
Focus the specific content of your resume around showcasing the necessary skills the firm is looking for. For example:
- Outstanding leadership skills
- Fierce passion and the drive to succeed
- Problem-solving skills
- Quantitative skills
Showcase your cognitive skills and intellectual ability with regards to solving complex business issues.
Your resume must ultimately show you work hard and have always made the effort, starting by making good academic grades. Ensure to highlight achievements through outcomes. No need to explain in detail how you achieved it but make that one sentence count. For example: “Increased sales by 35% by developing a social media lead generation program”
Participate in activities that will not only enhance but also showcase your leadership skills. This is a great way to showcase certain skills in your resume. For instance, playing softball can also indicate your ability and skills for teamwork.
Remember to keep activities recent. The selection panel will most definitely not want to know you were classroom monitor three weeks in a row in grade school.
Work hard at constantly developing your skills. Highlight any internships, summer programs or jobs that show your passion for success.
Just A Reminder:
Meeting the selection criteria and making it through the screening process is only the first step but it ultimately the most important and will form the foundation of your consulting career. Start your journey with a plan. Identifying the key selection criteria is the first step. Remember to:
- Take time to practice and prepare.
- Enhance not only your math and analytical skills but focus on developing your effective presentation and key communication skills.
- Do not wait to start preparing, once you have submitted a resume, start your preparation as soon as possible. Preparation is the key to confidence.
Article contributed by: Bridgette Christophers
Other Career related articles recommended for you:
- Undergraduate Courses That Can Lead To High Paying Careers
- High Growth Careers in Accounting
- 10 Online Degrees with Good Career Opportunities
- Highest Paying Jobs after Graduation