We asked BCGers about their career journeys and how they define where they are today. What followed was an outpouring of responses on the what, when and how of landing at BCG, and all the reasons they stay. Their collective message? BCG connects them to people, cases, travel and support systems that have made their careers both professionally sustainable and personally fulfilling. Read on to learn more, in BCGers’ own words.
One thing that really made an impression with me during the recruiting process was the level of candor coming from the people I met at BCG. They openly discussed the benefits and challenges of a BCG consultant. There was a degree of confident humility that seemed to stem from sometimes making sacrifices to create impeccable work. Since joining BCG I've found this candor to be genuine indeed. If you make a mistake, say so; if you have a personal commitment; let's make it happen. To overuse idioms, I joined BCG because the people appeared to be very "down to earth" folks who knew how to "keep it real."
It sounds cliché, but it really is the people. I felt extremely at ease during my first info session and, ten years later, I still feel the same at BCG. When you're working long hours, it makes a world of difference to enjoy who you're working with. Most of my friends still don't get what I do, and some simply marvel at how much I travel for "BCBG" (and asking me for a discount). Over time, I've come to focus less on explaining what I do and more on who I work with. After all, that's the best part of BCG (in my humble opinion)!
I was fortunate to have several opportunities to choose from when I was recruiting, but what made BCG stand out was the personal care and attention given to each candidate. BCG was not just looking for a body to fill a seat or to hit a recruiting target. They spent more time getting to know me. They cared about me as an individual and the specifics of my background and situation. This personal attention has held true to this day and has helped shape my career here, who I team with, and how we engage.
I chose to come to BCG for the opportunity to work with smart people and the ability to make an impact at scale. BCG is about solving cutting-edge problems that transform companies and disrupt entire industries. As an example, the automotive industry is undergoing a revolution through the emergence of connected and autonomous driving vehicles. BCG is leading the thinking in this accelerating space, with clients across the automotive value chain. Personally, I've had the chance to lead much of this work, which enables both me and the firm to remain at the cutting edge of automotive technology.
I was fortunate enough to be selected for BCG's Ambassador program and spent a year in Paris with my wife and two children (ages three and one). I was nervous because it was such a big cultural change for my family—and I didn't know how the BCG Paris office would welcome a Texan. First, I was amazed at how similar our BCG DNA is across offices—intellectually curious and highly collaborative. I felt right at home from the start. Second, BCG went above and beyond to take care of me and my family and make sure the transition was seamless—even sending care packages when we found out we were expecting another child. I have since had similar experiences working on projects in Shanghai and Santiago, and BCG continues to amaze me with our unique, invigorating culture, and the care and attention we put into our people.
In my first year, I was invited to join the LGBT network’s global conference. I had never been “out” at work, so this network was intriguing to me. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I had a great time meeting colleagues from all over the world and discussing initiatives in recruiting, career development, and advocacy. By the end of the weekend, I knew I had found something special in this community. BCG’s willingness to support the LGBT network is an important testament to the firm’s commitment to diversity, and I am appreciative of the many ways the network has shaped my experience over the years.
I left for a brief stint a few years ago – and when I left, I quickly realized how important cultural fit is, and how BCG was a great fit for me in many ways. The key component is collaboration; every effort is a team effort. Every member of the case team, from the associate to the partner, wants you to succeed, and in turn you want to help them succeed. When I came back, I received notes from people who I was surprised even remembered me. One of them said, “Welcome home”—and it really does feel that way.
From writing decks to working with clients to complex financial analyses, I developed a strong quantitative and qualitative skill set in my first year. Beyond that, one of the most important things I learned was to have confidence in myself and not be afraid of taking risks. In a job that constantly changes case to case, it's easy to feel unprepared and out of your depth, but I remind myself of these lessons each day and at the start of every new case!
My biggest lesson in my first year was learning the point at which to stop analyzing and start acting. BCGers like to be thorough, but analysis is always expected to lead to changes in action: providing new information to our team or to our clients that will improve the decisions they make on a daily basis.
BCG has fundamentally changed the way that I approach problems. I've learned to break down complex challenges into their component parts and determine the underlying questions that will drive to a holistic answer. I'm a more structured thinker and a more diligent problem solver.
Most of all, I appreciate the growth opportunities I see every day. When I think back on the years I have spent at BCG to date, I realize that every time I began to feel comfortable with the job my manager would give me something more challenging: a new stretch goal, a new topic, a new industry, a larger team, more responsibility. I have loved every role to date more than the previous one—and I hope the trend continues.
The job is constantly evolving, forcing (and allowing) you to constantly learn and adapt. Within BCG, you never have two projects, clients, or teams that are quite the same. This dynamic allows you to see the same industry from multiple angles, apply what you learned from one industry to another, and continuously learn from your colleagues. The one consistent element across our work is the sole focus on delivering value for our clients. With that clarity comes the freedom to focus on doing the right thing.
When I was going through the recruiting process, a BCGer described his coworkers as brilliant and down-to-earth, and I couldn’t agree more. It would be humbling to be surrounded by such highly accomplished people if they weren’t so easy to get along with! My colleagues’ wide array of prior work experience has led to fascinating dinner conversations on topics ranging from life in Antarctica to running for political office. The approachability of BCGers also has professional benefits, including a consistent willingness to help out when specialized knowledge is required. While it may not be hard to find either characteristic in isolation, the nexus of these two qualities is one of the things that makes BCG special.
BCGers have a definite passion for learning and growing and discovery and making things better. They’re creative and not bound by what was best practice last year, and they have no ego about being right or wrong. Instead, they are open to an evolving landscape with many potentially good answers and confident that they can determine the best solution.