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Boston Consulting Group vs. Bain & Company 

by Charles Nwabueze
Reading Time: 4 minutes

McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Bain & Company (Bain) are collectively known as the Big Three or MBB in the management consulting universe. They are known as the top guns and the most prestigious in their industry. Having one of these firms’ names on your resume can invoke awe, admiration, envy and death stares from your colleagues who are not blessed with such privilege. So please do not lose your guard around such colleagues *chuckles* 

In this article, we will be presenting a comparison between two of the Big Three: Boston Consulting Group vs. Bain & Company. This article forms one part of our three-part series pitting each member of MBB against the other. As it’s our purpose at Congrapps to do all necessary through providing educational resources that will help you take a step in the actualization of your journey to an excellent career, I hope this article will help you in some way.   

Overview: BCG v BAIN

Founded by Bruce Henderson in 1963, Boston Consulting Group is older than Bain and the second oldest of the Big Three. It has over 90 offices in more than 50 countries around the world;  Boston, Massachusetts serves as its headquarters. BCG also employs about 25,000 people. BCG is also famous for pioneering the growth-share matrix; the matrix provides companies with a portfolio management framework to help them decide how to prioritize their resources in different investments. Consistently ranked in the top three of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work for by Fortune, BCG enjoys a fantastic reputation among its people. The success they have witnessed in the development of their envied culture is a result of the emphasis they place on encouraging a spirit of deep collaboration among their global community of diverse individuals determined to make the world and each other better every day. However, a gripe about BCG is that the work can be intense, leading to a non-existent work-life balance. 

Founded in 1973, Bain & Company is the youngest of the Big Three. Bain operates from 65 offices in 40 countries around the world with the Boston office serving as the headquarters. The founders of Bain were former employees of Boston Consulting Group. Bain bears the nickname ‘the KGB of consulting’ because of its secretive manner of modus operandi. The number of employees at Bain [as of 2021] is stated to be 13,000. What most Bain employees say about the company is that the company has a great culture which is comprised of fun, high energy and hard work. Bain is recognized for focusing on recruiting ‘great people who are supportive and friendly. 

Services: BCG v Bain

BCG’s strength among others lies in the industries of retail, health, care, and chemicals. BCG’s retail consultants help clients develop and deliver the right digital, analytics, tech, and retail strategy to thrive in the dynamic environment imposed on them by the global pandemic. Their retail consulting teams are composed of retail industry experts with skill sets that span the entire digital space, supported by proprietary platforms and solutions from their speciality business BCG Gamma. 

On the other hand, Bain’s management consulting services revolve around their clients’ most critical issues and opportunities: strategy, marketing, organization, operations, technology, transformation, digital, advanced analytics, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions and sustainability across all industries and geographies. Bain shows its class especially in the realm of M&A as the firm is known for improving the clients’ odds of success by honing the clients’ M&A strategy and objectives, developing clients’ M&A team and capabilities and building a repeatable process. Bain claims that companies that have used their M&A services (integration support) on an average realize 18% additional value compared to companies that do not. 

If M&A is your cuppa then Bain is the one, it has completed 10,000 M&A-related projects and one of the best books ever written on M&A: Mastering the Merger was written by its consultants.

Mate Show me the Money: BCG v Bain

For the year ending in 2021, BCG announced revenues of $11 billion, with underlying revenue growth of 25% at constant exchange rates. The figures represent BCG’s continuing long-term success, which has seen the firm more than triple in revenues over the past decade and grow nearly ten-fold over the past two decades. More than 98% of this growth is organic.

Remember we said earlier that Bain is known as the ‘KGB of Consulting’ because of its secretive nature, well when researching this article finding a press release on Bain’s website for its revenue was impossible. Despite this, we found out that for the year ending in 2021, Bain posted revenue of $5.8 billion. It is clear to see that by revenue BCG triumphs Bain by nearly twice as much.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)

BCG has a long-standing commitment to DE&I, and today, 44% of BCG staff are women. BCG’s Executive Committee comprises 35% women, with members from more than ten countries. Women also lead BCG in three of the world’s largest economies (North America, China, and the UK). In addition, the number of managing directors and partners who are women continues to grow at almost three times the rate of managing directors and partners who are men. 51% of the firm’s new hires in the U.S. are from ethnic minority backgrounds. The firm has launched ethnic diversity networks in Europe, Australia, and Africa.

Meanwhile, Bain as a reward for its strong showing in DE&I was ranked as the No. 1 consulting firm on Mogul’s 2018 Top 100 Innovators in Diversity & Inclusion list because of its cross-cultural employee mentorship, strong female leadership, and community efforts. Bain was also recognized in 2020 by Fortune as one of the Best Large Workplaces for Women. Bain has also embarked on a 10-year commitment to invest more than $1 billion in pro bono services to utilize their talent, expertise and insight on behalf of organizations tackling urgent social issues in education, racial equity, social justice, and economic development and the environment. 

Because of their efforts, both companies are rightly applauded for their strong efforts in promoting diversity, equity & inclusion.

Charles is a writer, practising lawyer and personal trainer who loves learning and developing himself. He graduated from Middlesex University, London with eight first-class grades in the second and third years of his law degree, and received a postgraduate offer from Cambridge University. He loves strength training, boxing and encouraging people to succeed in their pursuits (legal ones)


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