2019 Vault Rankings
“Engaging community and culture”
“Can sometimes be high burn”
"Best of the best."
"Hire consultants with high IQs."
"One of the big boys, very rigorous with great exit opportunities."
The name may sound local, but The Boston Consulting Group's reach-and expertise-is anything but. With over 16,000 employees in over 90 offices in 50 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 Michelle Peluso, SVP & SMO of IBM; Jeff Immelt, Former 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, and more recently big data, and technology advantage.
PTO: Not just an acronym
It's no secret that life in a top-tier consulting firm can be stressful, and that dealing with the hours can be one of the hardest aspects for consultants. To address the challenges of the job, BCG partnered with Harvard Business School in the creation of its PTO (Predictability, Teaming, and Open Communication) program, which it debuted in 2005. Since then the firm has rolled this out across U.S. Systems, launched worldwide, and it is now in every BCG office. According to the firm, "PTO is now a fundamental BCG People Platform, used to drive business priorities at case level, driving client value, while giving our employees a sense of control and accomplishment. This program recognizes that a satisfying, sustainable career at BCG is about more than minimizing hours-it is also when you have personal control, purpose and accomplishment."
Paying it forward
BCG is big on being good. The firm strives to provide a lasting social contribution to the world. 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. BCG provides around 900 staff to more than 300 social impact projects around the world each year. They have a number of partnerships with organizations like Save the Children, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Teach for All. These partnerships enable the firm to extend their impact through involvement in "global challenges" - including the eradication of malaria, and the fight against child hunger. In October of 2015, BCG announced their sixth global Social Impact partner Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, and his network of Social Business organizations.
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
Paul Gordon names as one of Consulting Magazine’s 2018’s “Top 25 Consultants”
Consulting Magazine named Paul Gordon as one of 2018’s “Top 25 Consultants” for his excellence in leadership! Paul is a Senior Partner in BCG Chicago office where he focuses on Industrial Goods and Med Tech clients. Paul has been with BCG for 30+ years and is the head of the NAMR Partner People Team where he has improved the efficiency of BCG’s partner promotion, development, and evaluation processes through a period of accelerated growth. He is also a valued member of the North America Management Team and formerly led BCG’s NAMR Industrial Goods Practice. BCG has benefited greatly from Paul’s leadership as he has always embraced his role as a mentor and has impacted many careers at BCG. Paul’s honor can be seen in a one-page profile in the magazine’s May issue, where he talks about what he enjoys most about his job and the profession.
KLM and BCG bring to market a unique AI-based set of solutions for airline operations
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and BCG today announced the launch of a unique partnership aimed at improving airline operations worldwide by driving growth, accelerating innovation, and streamlining operations to meet the demands of today’s customers worldwide. This cooperation marks the first time a leading aviation company has joined forces with a top tier consultancy to bring to market a new service – a jointly developed artificial intelligence-based system of integrated solutions and tailored, proven tools. Deploying common teams made up of employees of KLM Operations Decision Support and Operations frontline staff, BCG’s Airline practice, and members of BCG Gamma (an AI & Advanced Analytics entity of over 450 world-class data scientists, data engineers, and software developments), this KLM-BCG partnership has developed a state of the art solution based on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced optimization that addresses all elements of airline operations. With the first set of successful solutions already operational at KLM, both KLM and BCG are ready to launch this service to the aviation industry worldwide.
BCG Re-elects Rich Lesser as Chief Executive Officer
BCG announced May 18, 2018 that Rich I. Lesser was elected for a third-year term as its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective October 1, 2018. Rich’s re-election comes on the heels of another year of strong, double-digit growth for BCG in 2017 and a remarkable four-year period in which growth has averaged 15% per year. Fueled by this performance, the firm continues to expand its market-leading capabilities to create unique value and advantage for its clients delivered across 50 countries by 16,000 employees, including more than 1,100 partners. BCG’s partner group re-elected Rich in a multi-round voting process. Each BCG partner, regardless of seniority, has an equal vote in the CEO election, a reflection of BCG’s collaborative, non-hierarchical culture and unique model of governance and partnership.
BCG’s Justin Dean Recognized as One of the “2018 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America”
Justin Dean, a Washington, DC – based partner at BCG, has been named one of the “2018 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America” by Savoy magazine, a leading African-American lifestyle publication. The list recognizes “African-American executives, influencers and achievers impacting corporate America.” Inclusion on the list is based on an “exemplary record of accomplishments and influence while working to better their community and inspire others,” the magazine said. Honorees were selected from more than 500 nominees, whose profiles were reviewed by a committee that included Savoy’s editorial board, community leaders, and representatives from academia and business. “Justine is an inspired leader and deeply caring individual,” said Joe Davis, BCG senior partner and chairman of North America. “We see this every day in how he lives our values, unlocks potential in those he leads, and creates tremendous impact for our clients.”
BCG ranked #4 on Fortune’s 2018 “100 Best Companies to Work For”
BCG continues to be named a premier employer and stays in the top five for eight consecutive years on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. BCG has made the top five for five years in a row and is one of only two companies to be included in the top dozen every year since it began participating in 2006. BCG’s focus on harnessing its collaborative culture, investing in learning and development, and offering career flexibility and global mobility are instrumental in attracting top talent. The firm’s world class benefits and its partnership with global and local social impact organizations contribute to its strong performance on the Fortune list and burnish its reputation as a premier employer.
Fortune said: “Equality of opportunity is prized at this global consultancy, which has spent over $100 million on a program to make work schedules more predictable in a 24/7 industry. Work/life balance makes ‘employees happier, more complete humans.’ And even junior staffers feel valued: ‘I have acess to leadership worldwide,’ says one.” At BCG, diversity of expertise, experience, and background are fundamental to success. The firm takes a holistic approach across all people processes to create culturally adaptive terms and an inclusive workforce. BCG also maintains well-established and engaged employee resource networks and has launched a wide range of diversity and inclusion initiatives to connect people across the organization. Among these are local and network office affiliation activities, an inclusion dialogue series, mentorships, and career development programs.
BCG is Among “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality,” Earning Perfect Score For the Eleventh Time
BCG has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the eleventh time, and was named one of HRC’s “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” The 2018 scorecard evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices, including nondiscrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, and transgender-inclusive health care benefits. “Our perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index for so many years is truly a testament to the value the firm places on inclusiveness and building community,” said Joe Davis, BCG’s chairman of North America. “Countless individuals work daily to make BCG the best place it can be, to support and develop one another and, in turn, deliver maximum impact to our clients. We could not be more proud of this achievement.”
200 Pier 4 Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210
Phone: (617) 973-1200
Employer Type: Private
President & CEO: Rich Lesser
2018 Employees (All Locations): 16,000
Boston, MA (HQ)
90 offices in 50 countries
Functional Practice Areas and Capabilities
Functional Practice Areas and Capabilities
Managing in a Two-Speed Economy
Marketing & Sales
People and Organization
Transformation and Large Scale Change
Industry Practice Areas and Expertise
Energy & Environment
Engineered Products & Infrastructure
Health Care Payers & Providers
Media & Entertainment
Medical Devices & Technology
Metals & Mining
Transportation, Travel & Tourism