McKinsey, BCG, and Bain, collectively referred to as MBBs, are widely recognized as the top management consulting firms globally. Each has well-established operations in Australia.
In this article, we answer top-of-mind questions for potential candidates. Questions like:
- What kind of candidates are recruited by McKinsey, BCG, or Bain in Australia?
- Which undergraduate universities give you the highest chances of getting into McKinsey, BCG, or Bain in Australia?
- Is an MBA a good route to management consulting in Australia?
- Is there an entry path to McKinsey, BCG, or Bain in Australia from other industries?
The insights in this article are based on a detailed analysis of about 300 individuals hired by McKinsey, BCG, and Bain for their client-facing consulting roles in Australia from 2020 to mid-2022.
- McKinsey, BCG, and Bain in Australia mostly hire experienced candidates (45% of hires) and pre-experience students (44%). MBAs (9%) and advanced degrees (2%) are not meaningful routes into MBBs in Australia.
- Australia is the only major consulting market we’ve considered where MBBs hired more experienced professionals than pre-experience students.
- 59% of MBB hires were males.
- 70% of pre-experience student hires come from five universities: The University of Sydney (20%), the University of Melbourne (19%), UNSW (17%), the University of Queensland (9%), and the University of Western Australia (8%).
The main sources of candidates for top consulting firms in Australia
MBB in Australia hire more experienced professionals as a proportion of total hires than other geographies.
McKinsey, BCG, and Bain in Australia hire candidates from all channels. Australia, however, is the only major consulting market we’ve considered where MBBs hired more experienced professionals (45% of the total) than pre-experience students of hires (44%).
Unlike in the US, MBAs (9%) and advanced degree candidates (2%) are not typical hiring pools for MBBs in Australia.
To better understand these categories, here are quick definitions:
- Pre-experience students (bachelor’s degree or a non-MBA master’s degree) are hired out of university or shortly after. They typically have no more than two years of experience and are hired into entry-level roles, i.e., Business Analysts at McKinsey, Associates at BCG, and Associate Consultants at Bain.
- MBA hires are graduates of a one- or two-year MBA program, usually at a European or US business school. They typically have work experience before their MBAs and are hired into post-MBA roles, i.e., Associates at McKinsey or Consultants at BCG and Bain.
- Experienced hires are from other employers and typically have two to eight years of experience. Those with less are hired at pre-MBA roles, i.e., Junior Associates at McKinsey, 2nd year Associate Consultants at Bain, and Senior Associates at BCG. Those with significant experience are hired into post-MBA roles, i.e., Associates at McKinsey or Consultants at BCG and Bain.
- Advanced degree hires are hired during or soon (not more than two years) after their Ph.D. or medical school programs. In Australia, they’re typically hired into post-MBA roles, i.e., Associates at McKinsey or Consultants at BCG and Bain.
Bain has a different hiring mix from McKinsey and BCG.
Bain lagged both McKinsey and BCG’s hiring volumes between Q1 2020 and Q2 2022 by about 20%.
Bain also hires even more experienced professionals than the Australian average (53%). BCG (39%) and McKinsey (43%) hire many experienced professionals but not as many as pre-experience students, who make up 47-48% of hires for both firms.
There is a gender disparity in hiring
Overall, 59% of hires were males, signaling a gender disparity in hiring. Of the major consulting markets we considered, only France and the Middle East had worse gender parity imbalance.
These stats held true across all three firms and for experienced professionals (60% male hires), MBAs (81% male hires), and advanced degree candidates (71% male hires). There, however, seems to be close to gender parity in pre-experience student hiring (53% male hires).
McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s pre-experience student hiring in Australia
Over 70% of MBB’s pre-experience student hires come from only 5 universities. They are:
- The University of Sydney (20%)
- The University of Melbourne (19%)
- UNSW (17%)
- The University of Queensland (9%)
- The University of Western Australia (8%)
Eight other domestic universities are represented, contributing 16% of all experienced hires. Six international universities are represented, the largest being the University of Auckland (8% of the total). Of the remaining five, four are from the US, and one is from the UK. Together, they contribute 4% of experienced hires.
What did they study?
Of the pre-experience students hired into McKinsey, BCG, and Bain in Australia, 50% studied commerce, business administration, economics, or finance; 24% studied engineering, and the 26% remaining studied a variety of disciplines
Unlike in European offices, e.g., France and Germany, a master’s degree doesn’t seem to give a distinct edge. Pre-experience students with a master’s degree made up only 16% of hires, compared with 84% without. This is similar to what we see in MBBs in Canada and the US.
McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s Experienced Professionals Hiring in Australia
Experienced hires, those who typically have two to eight years of professional experience, were the largest recruitment channel for McKinsey, and Bain in Australia (second largest for BCG) from Q1 2020 to Q2 2022, making up 45% of all hires by these three firms. Experienced hires joined top firms at different levels:
- 40% of experienced hires were recruited into pre-MBA roles, i.e., Business Analysts and Senior Business Analysts at McKinsey, Associate and Senior Associate Consultants at Bain, and Senior Associates at BCG.
- 60% of experienced hires were recruited into post-MBA roles. These are primarily Associates at McKinsey and Consultants at BCG and Bain. Candidates with team leadership experience at other consulting firms sometimes join at a more senior level, but will typically experience a small step back compared to their seniority at their initial firm.
Which companies did Australian MBB’s experienced hires come from?
Other consulting companies were the main feeders into MBBs in Australia, making up 42% of experienced hiring. The leading talent providers included other strategy consulting firms (Kearney, Oliver Wyman, Nous Group), and Big-4’s strategy teams (e.g., Strategy&, Monitor Delloite, and EY-Parthenon).
The remaining experienced hires came from various industries, including finance (5% of experienced hires) and tech (5%). This implies that a candidate’s industry is not a limiting factor for recruitment to the MBBs as experienced hires.
Where did MBBs experienced hires in Australia go to university?
Compared with pre-experience student hires, MBBs in Australia are much more open to a wide range of universities for experienced professional hires. Whereas pre-experience students came from only 19 universities (13 local, 6 international), experienced professionals were hired from 41 universities, most of which are international (19 local, 22 international).
That said, the nominal majority of experienced professional hires came from local universities (83% of the total). Of these, the top four universities contributed over 15 hires each and made up 58% of the total. They are:
- The University of Melbourne (16%)
- Monash University (15%)
- The University of Sydney (13%)
- UNSW (13%)
Sixteen other local universities are represented, contributing 25% of all experienced hires. The 22 International universities are spread across various geographies, including New Zealand, England, India, etc. Together, they contribute ~17% of experienced hires.
McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s MBA hiring in Australia
MBBs in Australia are not big on MBAs. They make up only 9% of hires between Q1 2020 and Q2 2022. This is similar to European MBB offices and unlike some other geographies like the US, where MBA hires makeup 35% of the total.
As a reminder, MBA hires are graduates of a one- or two-year MBA program, usually at a European or US business school. They typically have had some work experience before their MBAs and are hired into post-MBA roles, i.e., Associates at McKinsey or Consultants at BCG and Bain.
Over half of MBA hires come from either the London Business School (23%), the University of Melbourne (19%), or INSEAD (12%).
Four other Australian schools contribute 19% of MBAs—the University of Western Australia, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Queensland, and UNSW. Finally, six schools from the US, UK, and Spain contribute the remaining 27% of MBA hires.
Advanced Degree hiring in Australia
Advanced degrees were the smallest proportion of hires for McKinsey, BCG, and Bain in Australia, making up only 2% of total hiring.
Altogether, seven universities are represented, each contributing a single consultant. Five of them are Australian: the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, UNSW, and the University of Western Australia. The remaining two are ETH Zurich and Technische Universität Berlin.
What’s next if you’d like to get into McKinsey, BCG, and Bain in Australia
Looking to join McKinsey, BCG, or Bain in Australia? CaseCoach has resources to guide you all the way from your resume crafting stage to your final interviews.
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