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    What type of candidates make it to McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York Offices?

    McKinsey, BCG, and Bain, collectively referred to as MBB, are widely recognized as the top management consultancy firms in the world. Each has well-established operations in several cities across the US.

    This article will focus only on the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain and answer some of the top-of-mind questions for potential candidates. Questions like:

    • What kind of candidates are recruited by McKinsey, BCG, or Bain’s New York offices?
    • Which undergrad universities give you the highest chances of getting into the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, or Bain?
    • Is an MBA a good route to management consulting in New York?
    • Is there an entry path to the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, or Bain from other industries?

    The insights in this article come from a detailed analysis of over 850 individuals hired by McKinsey, BCG, and Bain for their client-facing consulting roles in their New York offices from 2020 to mid-2022. Profiles of individuals employed by the New Jersey and Connecticut offices of these firms were excluded from the analysis.

    Key Takeaways:

    • In MBBs’ New York offices, 46% of hires are pre-experience students, MBA hires constitute 32% of the total, experienced professionals make up 19% of hires, and advanced degree candidates only make up 3% of hires.
    • McKinsey’s New York office hired over 50% more consultants than BCG and close to 3x as many consultants as Bain between Q1 2020 and Q2 2022.
    • Bain’s New York office had clear gender parity in hiring, with women making up 51% of their hires. Next to them is McKinsey, with 47% female hires, and finally, BCG, with 43% female hires.
    • Universities that contribute significantly to the hiring pool across all channels are some of the most competitive in the US, suggesting that MBB’s New York Offices are likely one of the most difficult to break into in the US, given the strength of their candidate pool.
    • 5 universities supply over half (54%) of pre-experience student hires into the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. They include the University of Pennsylvania (20%), Columbia (11%), Harvard (9%), Yale (7%), and Princeton (6%).
    • These same 5 universities contribute only 29% of MBA hires and 32% of experienced professional hires, indicating more openness to a broader range of undergrad programs in these channels.
    • 5 schools supply ~74% of MBA hires into the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. They are Columbia Business School (21%), Wharton (16%), Harvard Business School (15%), NYU Stern (14%), and Kellogg (7%).
    • If you did not study (at Bachelor’s or Master’s level) at a target US undergrad/master’s program, and you would like to break into MBBs’ New York offices, an MBA at a top US program is your best route.

    The main sources of candidates for top consulting firms’ New York Offices

    MBBs hiring in their New York offices mirrors the US average

    MBBs offices in New York overall have a similar mix of recruitment channels as the US as a whole, with a maximum of only three percentage points of difference across all channels.

    In MBB’s New York offices, 46% of hires are pre-experience students, MBA hires constitute 32% of the total, experienced professionals make up 19% of hires, and advanced degree candidates only make up 3% of hires.

    Combined view of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain's recruitment channels in their New York Offices

    To understand these categories better, 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. 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., Senior Business Analysts 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 the US, they’re typically hired into post-MBA roles, i.e., Associates at McKinsey or Consultants at BCG and Bain.

    McKinsey hires more candidates than BCG, and Bain

    McKinsey’s New York office hired over 50% more consultants than BCG and close to 3x as many as Bain between Q1 2020 and Q2 2022. Despite volume disparities, the hiring mix by channel for all three firms was similar, the only difference being that Bain hires more pre-experience students (54% of Bain’s hires) and less experienced professionals (13% of Bain’s hires).

    Bain’s New York office hired more women than men

    Bain’s New York office had clear gender parity in hiring, with women making up 51% of their hires. Next to them is McKinsey, with 47% female hires, and finally, BCG, with 43% female hires. Across channels, only pre-experience student hiring showed clear parity (50% female hires). Women made up 40-45% of hires for the remaining channels.

    Pre-experience student hiring in McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York Offices

    Pre-experience students made up 46% of total hires by McKinsey, BCG, and Bain in New York from Q1 2020 to Q2 2022. This means that hires from a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree program (excluding MBAs) made up the largest recruitment channel for entry-level roles at the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain.

    The next sub-heading will deep-dive into which universities MBBs’ New York offices sourced their pre-experience student hires.

    Where did New York MBBs’ pre-experience student hires go to university?

    Of the 60 universities that supplied pre-experience student hires into MBBs’ New York offices, only four were international, and they accounted for 1% of hires.

    Five universities supply over half (54%) of pre-experience student hires into the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. They are:

    • University of Pennsylvania (20%)
    • Columbia University (11%)
    • Harvard University (9%)
    • Yale University (7%)
    • Princeton University (6%)

    In the below chart, we list out the 17 universities that contribute more than 1% of hires to the total. Together, they account for 82% of pre-experience student hires. One common theme is that these are some of the most competitive universities in the US, suggesting that MBB’s New York Offices are likely one of the most difficult to break into in the US, given the strength of their candidate pool.

    Universities attended by McKinsey, BCG, and Bain's pre-experience student hires in their New York Offices

    Out of the top-3 firms, McKinsey appears to be the most open to a variety of universities. Ten percent of their pre-experience student hires originated from the long tail of universities (versus 6% for BCG and 2% for Bain).

    What did they study?

    Almost half of pre-experience student hires into MBBs’ New York offices graduated with either an economics degree (37% of the total) or an engineering degree (11% of the total). The 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 13% of pre-experience students, compared with 87% without. This is similar to the US total and in Canada.

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    MBA hiring in McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York Offices

    Almost a third (32%) of all hires into the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain came from an MBA program. This proportion holds true for all three firms, as MBA hires made up 30-35% of hires across the board.

    As a reminder, MBA hires are graduates of an MBA program, usually at a 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.

    For MBA hires, we will explore two questions in the following subheadings:

    • Which business schools did they attend?
    • Which undergrad universities did they attend?

    Which business schools did New York MBBs’ MBA hires attend?

    Five schools supply ~74% of MBA hires into the New York offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. They are:

    • Columbia Business School (21%)
    • The Wharton School (16%)
    • Harvard Business School (15%)
    • NYU Stern School of Business (14%)
    • Kellogg School of Management (7%)

    Similar to the pre-experience student channel, MBA hires come from the most competitive business schools across the US. Thus, for this recruiting channel, we also expect high levels of difficulty breaking into the New York office based on the candidate pool strength.

    Business schools attended by McKinsey, BCG, and Bain's MBA hires in their New York offices

    The remaining 26% of hires are supplied by 18 business schools. Of these, only one is a non-US business school, INSEAD, and they’re responsible for only 1% of MBA hires into MBBs’ New York offices.

    Which undergraduate universities did New York MBBs’ MBA hires attend?

    MBA hires into MBBs’ New York offices came from over 115 undergrad programs. This is a broader range of universities (almost 2x) than were considered in pre-experience student hiring (60 universities represented), indicating more educational background openness for the MBA hiring channel.

    The largest five undergrad contributors for the pre-experience student channel (UPenn, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton) are responsible for 54% of pre-experience student hiring, accounted for only 29% of MBA hires, further corroborating that MBB’s New York Offices are more open to a wider range of undergrads in their MBA hiring.

    One in five MBA hires (21%) into MBBs’ New York offices came from an international undergrad program, making this the largest channel of entry into MBBs in New York for international candidates.

    Thus, if you did not study (at Bachelor’s or Master’s level) at a target US undergrad/master’s program, and you would like to break into MBBs’ New York offices, an MBA at a top US program is your best route.

    Experienced professional hiring in McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York Offices

    Experienced hires, those who typically have two to eight years of professional experience, were the third largest recruitment channel for McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York offices from Q1 2020 to Q2 2022, making up ~19% of all hires by these three firms.

    At Mckinsey and BCG, experienced hires made up around 19-20% of their total hires. However, this number was significantly lower at Bain—only 13% of all hires were experienced professionals.

    Experienced hires joined top firms at different levels:

    • 45% of experienced hires were recruited into pre-MBA roles, i.e., Business Analysts at McKinsey, Associate, and Senior Associate Consultants at Bain, and Senior Associates at BCG.
    • 55% 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 industries did New York MBBs’ experienced hires come from?

    A third (33%) of MBBs’ experienced hires to their New York offices come from other consulting firms. These include other strategy consulting firms (e.g., Oliver Wyman, Marakon), Big-4’s strategy teams (e.g., Strategy& at PwC, EY-Parthenon), and Accenture.

    Companies where McKinsey, BCG and Bain in New York source their experienced hires

    The finance industry contributed about 18% of experienced hires, tech contributed 11%, and the remaining 38% came from a wide range of unrelated industries.

    Where did MBBs’ experienced hires go to school?

    The top-5 undergrad feeders (UPenn, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton) that contribute 54% of pre-experience student hires, contribute 32% of experienced professionals, signaling that like the MBA hire channel, experienced professionals from a wider range of undergrad programs are considered.

    Only 7% of hires from the experienced hire channel had an international undergrad degree (compared with 21% for MBAs). This is likely driven by the lower proportion of international candidates among experience hires than at top US business schools, where international citizens routinely comprise half the class.

    Advanced degree hiring in McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York Offices

    Advanced degrees were the smallest proportion of hires for McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York offices, making up just 3% of total hiring.

    A third (33%) of advanced degree hires come from Harvard (17%) and Yale (17%). The rest is spread across 16 universities, 15 based in the US, and only one international school based in France (Ecole normale supérieure).

    What’s next if you’d like to get into McKinsey, BCG, and Bain’s New York Offices

    Looking to join McKinsey, BCG, or Bain’s New York offices? CaseCoach has resources to guide you all the way from your resume crafting stage to your final interviews.

    Our Free Resume Course provides resume and cover letter templates and specialized advice for students, MBAs, and experienced professionals.

    The Interview Prep Course contains all the material you need to ace your case and fit interview, including interview videos of candidates who joined top consulting firms’ New York offices.

    CaseCoach’s team of coaches includes former consultants and interviewers with McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. They are available to deliver case and fit interview coaching and mock interviews in a realistic setting to put your preparation to the test, providing the personal feedback and practical advice needed to ace your interviews.

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