When it comes to management consulting, there’s the top three firms – McKinsey, Bain and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – and then everyone else. They’ve long been known as the industry's most prestigious consulting firms, so it should come as no surprise that they pay at the very top of the market. The actual figures can be a bit of a moving target though as MBB firms hire both undergrads and MBAs, and their compensation packages include more than just a base salary. Pay totals also tend to change from year-to-year.
To clear things up, we gained access to the 2019 salary report from industry coaching firm Management Consulted. The compensation figures only include data from the companies themselves as well as people who accepted a role at one of the firms during this calendar year. As you’d probably expect, there isn’t much variation between the three firms, which is no mistake. They purposefully keep pace with one another when it comes to things like compensation. But the data should give you a clear idea of what you can expect at the undergraduate and MBA levels when applying to one or more of the big three.
Each firm offers new undergrad hires a $5k signing bonus, but BCG’s base salary and performance bonus cap are a bit higher. Bain offers a flat $5k for relocation assistance while McKinsey and BCG will provide anywhere from $2k to $10k, depending on the cost of the move, according to the report. For retirement, McKinsey contributes $7,500, Bain offers 4.5% of base + bonus for a 401k plan, and BCG deposits profit-sharing of up to $4,400 into a new undergrad employee’s 401k.
As for MBA and PhD hires, McKinsey offers a $30k signing bonus compared to $25k at the other two firms. However, Bain and BCG each have a roughly $6k higher cap on the performance bonuses. Meanwhile, McKinsey is a bit more generous with retirement assistance, setting aside 7.5% of salary for an employee's 401k. Bain and BCG each contribute up to $8k.
In short, the total numbers essentially add up, yet each firm has a different way of getting there. Knowing what to expect in terms of compensation should eliminate one variable. Now you just need to pass the grueling case study interviews and actually get an offer.
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