Founded in 1963, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is an American multinational management consulting firm headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the Big Three consulting firms, alongside Bain & Company and McKinsey & Company.
The company partners with clients all over the world aimed at enabling organisational growth, building sustainable competitive advantage, and driving social impact.
BCG has around 22,000 employees across the globe, with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries. The company is highly respected in the industry, often attracting high calibre candidates such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, and other industry specialists.
This means competition is often fierce, however, do not let this dissuade you from applying, as with some focused preparation you can put yourself in a good position for success.
BCG offers a range of career opportunities, with positions for students and graduates to experienced professionals. These are available in a variety of functions across the company, such as consulting, data science & analytics, and finance.
BCG is regarded as a great place to work, with the company consistently ranking in the Forbes 100 Best Companies to Work For. This view is echoed by its employees, who praise the inclusive culture and opportunities to develop.
Positions at BCG are highly competitive and the application process is rigorous, consisting of multiple stages including an online application, HR screening interview, online assessment, and a series of interviews.
At each step, it is important to demonstrate how you embody BCG's core values, so ensure you keep these in mind through the process. Their core values are:
- Respect for the individual
- Clients come first
- The strategic perspective
- Value delivered
- Expanding the art of the possible
- Social impact
The first stage of the application process is to submit an online application on the BCG careers website. Here you will be required to upload a resume, provide some personal details, give some information on your education and employment history, and state your location preferences.
You may also need to answer some additional application questions, such as:
- What skills would you bring to this position?
- Why do you want to work for BCG?
- Describe your biggest achievement
Do spend some time on the application form as this will be your first impression on the hiring team.
You should make sure your resume is up to date and tailored to the specific job you are applying to. A good way of doing this is by researching the company and reviewing the job description, and showcasing how your experience, skill, and qualifications make you a suitable candidate.
HR Screening Interview
If your application is successful, you will be invited to a screening call with a member of HR, which is a brief call to confirm your suitability. It is usually conducted over the telephone and used to get to know you better by discussing your qualifications, skill, and experience.
The screening interview will also be used to give a brief description of the company and the role, and as an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have.
BCG Potential Test
Depending on which position you are applying to, you may be required to take the BCG Potential Test. This is typically used for graduate and early career roles such as internships. The Potential Test is used to assess your numerical, verbal, and logical thinking skills.
The test consists of 23 multiple choice questions in 45 minutes, which are related to one single business case, for example, it might be helping an oil company become more profitable.
Three types of questions are featured in the BCG Potential Test:
Maths word problems: This section accounts for 40% of all questions on the test. In these questions, you will be required to analyse and interpret data presented in graphs, charts and tables, and use basic arithmetic to reach the correct answer. These questions are similar to those found on a numerical reasoning test.
Data Interpretation: Questions in this section will require you to analyse data, and use some basic maths calculations to determine if the statements presented are true or false. The challenge here is to quickly identify facts.
Reading Comprehension: Here you will be required to read a paragraph of around 400 to 600 words and answer a series of questions based on the information presented in the passage. This assesses your ability to quickly read and understand written information. These questions are similar to those found on a verbal reasoning test.
The test does use negative marking, which means wrong answers do generate a reduction in marks, whereas an unanswered question does not - this means you should take your time to make sure you are answering the questions correctly and do not attempt to guess.
It is important to note that for each question there could be 2-3 correct answers at the same time. The passing score for the test is thought to be around 70%.
To prepare for the test you should brush up on your basic arithmetic, as well as take some practice tests to get you accustomed to working under tight pressure.
BCG Assessment Centre
Depending on the position you have applied to, you may be invited to attend an assessment centre, which will involve several independent and group activities, including:
Presentations - Assessors use this exercise to evaluate your communication skills and ability to present ideas under pressure. Remember that a lot of communication is non-verbal, so make sure to stand confidently and look at those you are addressing.
Group exercises - This is designed to assess how well you can cooperate as a team to solve a particular problem. Make sure to put forward your ideas, whilst also giving others the chance to share their viewpoints.
Throughout the assessment centre, assessors will be evaluating your communication skills, ability to work in a team, and potential leadership qualities.
The final stage of the BCG application process is several interviews. The interviews you have will depend on the position you have applied for, however, all candidates are likely to have a typical interview that involves motivational and competency-based questions. Examples of these include:
- Why do you want to work for BCG?
- Tell me about a time you had to lead a team
- What is your biggest achievement to date?
To prepare for the interviews, make sure to do some thorough research into the company and its culture, the role, and the wider industry. Having a solid understanding of these can help put you ahead of other candidates.
Those applying for consulting positions will usually have to complete multiple case interviews with partners or someone at a senior level at the firm.
During a case interview, you will be presented with a business problem and will be asked to come up with a solution. This is used to assess how you process information, tackle problems and present your ideas. Check out BCGs case interview guide for more information on preparing for them.