2019 Vault Rankings
“Talented, interesting, and inspiring colleagues”
“Great exposure: C-suite client counterparts”
“Mentorship and training”
“Ongoing intensity of work”
“Long working hours”
“Difficult to transfer offices”
The name may sound local, but The Boston Consulting Group's reach—and expertise—is anything but. With over 16,000 employees in more than 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 Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo; Yasuyuki Higuchi, Senior Managing Executive Officer at Panasonic Corporation; Melanie Tan, VP China Market Development at eBay; Pierre Suhandinata, Chairman and CEO of ACCESS China; Aliza Knox, Head of APAC for Cloudflare, Inc.; and Yuka Matsushima, Founder & COO, Cross Fields—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
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.
The Boston Consulting Group Hits $5.6 Billion in Sales
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world's leading management consulting firms, announced today that it posted global sales last year of $5.6 billion, powered by organic revenue growth of 14% at constant exchange rates. In fueling this growth, the firm increased its worldwide workforce to 14,000. President and CEO Rich Lesser noted that 2016 capped three consecutive years of outstanding performance as the firm averaged strong double-digit annual growth that was broad based across all regions and practice areas. At the same time, the firm made very significant investments in its capabilities. "BCG's continuous strong growth trajectory is a tribute to the talent of our people and the depth and quality of our long-term client relationships," said Lesser. "These results also reflect major investments in building capabilities across our practices and particularly in digital, technology, and analytics." Lesser noted that growth in the firm's digital activities-in innovation, transformation, and advanced analytics-as well as its abilities to support large-scale change in post merger integration, transformation, and turnaround situations were key drivers of its momentum. As examples, he cited investments in BCG Digital Ventures, the firm's digital innovation, incubation, and investment arm; BCG Platinion, its IT architecture and solutions unit; and BCG Gamma, its advanced analytics and data science business.
BCG Among Top 3 on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For List for Four Straight Years
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world's leading management consulting firms, has extended its exceptional streak near the top of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Ranking number three, like last year, BCG has made the top three for four years in a row and is one of only two companies to make the top dozen every year since it began participating in 2006. The firm also continues to enjoy the highest ranking among management consultancies by a wide margin. BCG's emphasis on investment in its people, high-impact client work, a collaborative culture, career flexibility and mobility, extensive learning and development, world-class benefits, and a commitment to social impact work have all contributed to the consistently strong performance on the list. Specific benefits include comprehensive company-paid health care coverage, generous leave-of-absence programs, geographic mobility programs and secondments, tuition reimbursement, and cross-office affiliation events, such as a worldwide soccer tournament. BCG's LGBT-friendly benefits and practices have also been recognized as top-notch, as have its innovative work-life balance programs, such as PTO (which stands for predictability, teaming, and open communication). In December, BCG earned a spot on Fortune's second annual 50 Best Workplaces for Diversity list. The firm offers a variety of diversity and inclusion programs, including staff affiliation networks such as Women@BCG, the LGBT Network, the Ethnic Diversity Networks, the Veterans Network, and the recently introduced Disability Network.
Michael Sherman and Roselinde Torres are some of the most influential minority executives
The Financial Times included BCG's Michael Sherman and Roselinde Torres on the inaugural "Upstanding Executive Power List", which recognizes the top 100 most influential ethnic minority executives. Roselinde Torres, a Senior Partner in BCG's New York office, is a senior member of the firm's People & Organization practice area and leads its CEO Advisory practice in North America. Michael Sherman, a partner in the Dallas office, leads BCG's software sector in North America, advising both software firms and chief information officers at companies in other industries. In addition, he is a core member of the firm's North American Diversity and Inclusion Council and leads its Black/African-American Network. The list showcases and ranks the Top 100 Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) executives in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland.
Exchange Place, 31st Floor
Boston, MA 02109
Employer Type: Private
President & CEO: Rich Lesser
2017 Employees (All Locations): 14,000
90 offices in 50 locations
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