One of the “big three” management consulting firms, Boston Consulting Group is a prestigious, private company providing advisory services to many public, private and non-profit firms, with over two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies as clients. An elite, highly competitive firm, BCG is also apparently a great place to work, ranking second on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2015. I find this rare because finance and consulting firm’s with such strong reputations typically aren’t listed among the top places to work due to the pressure, money and high stakes of the industries. I have never had any sort of interaction with Boston Consulting Group, but based on reputation, their website and third party reports, I am impressed.
Before going too in depth on why Boston Consulting Group is unique and such an enticing place to work, it is important to understand what they do. Management consulting firms help organizations improve their performance. They provide an external, specialized view to identify problems within the organization and provide solutions. A few examples are advising a company looking to expand internationally, helping improve a supply chain and cutting a division’s costs. Like many consulting firms, BCG uses the Cravath System of business management, famous for “up or out”. This means employees either advance or are fired from the firm. Employees are typically the best and brightest, with a rigorous interview process and many applicants for few spots. Though the Cravath System undoubtedly recruits and retains top of the line talent, it also fosters a competitive environment, not always conducive to the best place for someone to work. However, BCG has managed to remain a remarkably successful company from a business standpoint and is a terrific place to work, a rare and unique combination.
I think ranking a firm as “a great place to work” or making lists of “the best” is very subjective. What may be a great firm in some aspects could be terrible in others. It may be an outstanding place to learn at an early point in your career and pay really well, but you may have no life outside of work and are constantly stressed out. Large companies also have many different areas, some of which may be phenomenal to work in, others may be awful. I believe the most important characteristic in determining how “great” a firm is to work for, is your boss. They have the most control over what you do, how much you do, your learning opportunities and experience and career advancement. I think Boston Consulting Group makes a concerted effort to have strong bosses who care about their employees. There is a strong mentoring program, where young consultants are paired with a partner. Teamwork is encouraged, and I think management really understands the stress and burden employees are under. To combat this, Boston Consulting Group pays high salaries and offers employees numerous perks, including paid sabbaticals, paid time to volunteer, and college tuition reimbursement. Consulting is an industry that can easily burn people out, of all ages. To me, it seems Boston Consulting Group recognizes this, and does everything they can to keep employees fresh, invigorated and excited. Strong mentoring programs, inclusive culture and excellent pay, coupled with an unparalleled learning experience, make Boston Consulting Group a place I would love to work someday. To sum everything about why Boston Consulting Group is such an attractive place to work is they treat their employees with respect.
Externally, Boston Consulting Group makes an effort to have their employees interact with the world around them, and help improve it. They strongly emphasize community service and I think this helps make employees happy, as well as better the surrounding community. Giving back is a big part of BCG, and makes them unique. I can’t say to what extent this is prevalent across the company and with employees, but for them to have such a great reputation, from their own website and from third-party reviewers, says they are doing something right.