About The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.

Boston's best

The name may sound local, but The Boston Consulting Group's reach-and expertise-is anything but. With 4,800 consultants in 77 offices in 42 countries, the firm ranks as one of America's Largest Private Companies, according to Forbes magazine. Clients typically include many of the world's 500 largest companies, but BCG also counts midsized businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies in North and South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia among its clients. The firm's consultants-who have included notables such as Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi; Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric; Jim Koch, founder, CEO and Brewmaster of Boston Beer Company; Sally Blount, dean of the Kellogg School of Management; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and Grammy Award winner John Legend-are experts in a number of industries, including consumer goods, retail, financial services, industrial goods, social impact and nonprofit, energy, health care, insurance, technology, media, and telecom.

The firm helps clients with a number of specific management needs within its broad functional practice areas, such as growth strategy development and execution; business portfolio management; mergers and acquisitions; postmerger integration; productivity and efficiency improvement; marketing and pricing; supply chain management; IT infrastructure; customer and supplier relationship management; sustainability; turnaround; and private equity, among other services.

The Henderson legacy

BCG was founded in 1963 by Bruce D. Henderson, a former Bible salesman and Harvard B-school dropout. Challenged by the CEO of The Boston Safe Deposit & Trust Company to form a consulting arm for the organization, Henderson responded with an aggressive strategy. While his first month's billings amounted to $500 and his office had a staff of just two by the end of his first year in business, Henderson's subsequent success is impossible to deny-and it was driven largely by expansion. In 1966, BCG became the first Western strategy consulting outfit in Japan, and a string of offices throughout Europe soon followed. By 1976, half of the firm's revenue was being generated outside the U.S.-a year after Henderson laid out a plan for employee stock ownership that saw the firm fully owned by BCGers in 1979. Such was Henderson's reputation within the business world that, following his death in 1992, no less a publication than the Financial Times wrote that "few people have had as much impact on international business in the second half of the twentieth century as the founder of The Boston Consulting Group."

In 1998, BCG established the Strategy Institute, a sort of consulting think tank set up to apply insights from a variety of disciplines to the strategic challenges facing both business and society. Among the concepts developed by the firm over the years are the experience curve (which charts improvements in efficiency as experience is amassed), time-based competition (an approach that recognizes speed as an essential component of success), disease management (an approach to patient care that takes a more systemic view of quality and costs than traditional approaches), richness versus reach (the trade-off inherent in the economics of information), trading up and trading down (consumer spending phenomena) and globality (the post-globalization era in which everyone from everywhere competes for everything).

Not the stuff of fairytales

Perhaps the innovation that the firm is best known for, however, is its growth-share matrix. While a tool that utilizes images such as cows, stars and dogs might sound fanciful, the matrix is one serious piece of business methodology-and one that has become a core tool used by businesses the world over. A graphic representation of a firm's money flow, the growth-share matrix divides a company's assets into four categories-the three mentioned previously, plus question marks. While a full description of the methodology is available on BCG's website, the basic meaning of each category is as follows: a cow represents a "cash cow," a low-growth, high-market share pursuit (generally the bread and butter of any business); a star is an enterprise that both uses and generates a lot of money, usually on the way to achieving cow status; a dog tends to be labor-intensive but provides little return on investment; and question marks are to be avoided at all costs-basically representing money pits that absorb resources but produce little revenue.

Falling in line

While many of BCG's consultants come from some of the best business schools in the world-including the University of Chicago, Harvard, INSEAD, Kellogg, Stanford and Wharton-not everyone working at the firm has a business background. A number of consultants have degrees that range from economics, biochemistry and engineering, to psychology, classics and law.

Whatever their background, the firm organizes its brainpower into formal practice areas, which include the functional and industry areas listed above, as well as timely issues such as managing through the downturn, cloud computing, megatrends, operational transformation and turnaround, sustainability and talent management.

Paying it forward

BCG is big on being good. Its social impact practice network, which functions like one of the firm's formal practice areas, works with clients on socially conscious issues, including public health, education, community and economic development, environmental preservation, hunger, and arts and culture. The network chose its focus areas based on the UN Millennium Development Goals, which set targets for combating poverty, illiteracy and disease for the world's poor by 2015.

Building the business canon

As might be expected of a company with so many experts and a dedication to research, BCGers put out their fair share of publications-so many, in fact, that in 2006, the firm collected some of its biggest thoughts over the past 40 years into one volume, entitled The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy. Aimed at executives across all industries, the anthology offers both the now-established wisdom as the company conceived it years ago, as well as more recent thoughts on the state of business. The themes, in many cases, have remained consistent over the decades: Retain competitive advantage, break compromises, realize the value of time, and remain aware of second- and third-order causes.

IN THE NEWS

May 2012

Rich Lesser elected new CEO

The firm announced that Richard I. Lesser had been elected its next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2013. At the time of the vote, Lesser, 49, was BCG's Chairman of North and South America, based in New York. View the full press release from the firm.

February 2012

Expanding its footprint

The firm announced that it had recently opened three new offices-in Johannesburg, Chennai, and Geneva-enlarging its global footprint to 75 offices in 42 countries.

January 2012

Fortune Best Companies Award

BCG ranked number two on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row. It also captured the top spot among small companies for the fifth time and become one of only two firms to be ranked in the top dozen for seven straight years.

G-20 Internet economy

A BCG study projected that the Internet economy of the G-20 would reach $4.2 trillion in 2016-nearly double the size it was in 2010-providing companies and countries with a vital source of growth as they battle to thrive in an era of uncertainty.

December 2011

BCG Earns Perfect Score on HRC Corporate Equality Index for Fifth Consecutive Year

For the fifth consecutive year, BCG earned a top rating of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, making it one of HRC's 2012 "Best Places to Work."

October 2011

BCG unveils new online platform

The firm unveiled a new online platform designed to make its research, analysis, insights, and commentary more widely, fully, and readily available to the global business community. Read the full press release from the firm.

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The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.

One Beacon Street
10th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 850-3700
Fax: (617) 850-3701

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • President & CEO: Hans-Paul Bürkner
  • 2012 Employees: 5,000

  • Major Departments & Practices
    PRACTICE AREAS Functional Practice Areas
    Corporate Development
    Corporate Finance
    Globalization
    Growth
    Information Technology
    Innovation
    Management in a Two-Speed Economy
    Marketing & Sales
    Operations
    Organization
    Postmerger Integration
    Strategy
    Sustainability
    Transformation
    Turnaround
     
    Industry Practice Areas
    Automotive
    Biopharmaceuticals
    Consumer Products
    Energy & Environment
    Engineered Products & Infrastructure
    Financial Institutions
    Health Care Payers & Providers
    Insurance
    Media & Entertainment
    Medical Devices & Technology
    Metals & Mining
    Private Equity
    Process Industries
    Public Sector
    Retail
    Technology
    Telecommunications
    Transportation, Travel & Tourism

Major Office Locations

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Boston, MA

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