Recruiting can be a two-way street. What has BCG done to make itself more appealing to MBA candidates?
There are a lot of myths out there today about consulting and the opportunities. One of the things that we’ve been trying to do is showcase the impact that we have and the opportunities that we provide for candidates who join us – opportunities for growth, development and impact. If I step back, BCG is appealing because you get tremendous experience, development, an accelerated career trajectory, and an ability to work with many of the world’s leading companies and organizations and to have such a huge impact on their most challenging problems.
Talent is a top priority for us, on par with our commercial priorities. What we try to do is continually asking ourselves: “Are we delivering on our ambition to attract the very top talent and then help that top talent fulfill their potential?”
As I think of our business priorities as a firm, we’ve made attracting and retaining top talent our #1 priority over the years. The fundamental and most important thing we can do is to attract top talent and then unleash the potential of that talent through development programs, training, activities, and through programs that allow people to pursue their individual passions (whatever they may be). And we recognize that every person that we hire, given the diversity of people we hire, may have a different ambition. So it’s figuring out what do we need to do to create an environment that has a lot of paths to pursue so people can fulfill their individual ambitions, whether that be global opportunities to work in different countries around the world; to work in different industries; to work part time; or to do work in the social impact space. Whatever it may be, figuring out how do we understand what is going to make people most excited and most fulfilled and how do we create the various channels for them, whether it be through our mobility programs; social impact programs; secondment opportunities; PTO – which stands for Predictability, Teaming, and Open Communication –creates a dialogue within each of our case teams about how we make this job as rewarding, sustainable, and exciting for people and forces a structured conversation on how we’re doing on delivering an outstanding case experience for all of our people.
We pay a lot of attention to our culture because it is so central to what we do and what it feels to work here every day. We are continuously trying to innovate and push the boundaries of providing a great experience for our people. And I think that’s really exciting. We’re at the forefront on many of the issues around unleashing passion of our team because it’s so core to our success.
For example, “Time for You” is a program we rolled out this year. It is a leave of absence program where people can apply to take two months off to do whatever they want, whether it be to take time to re-charge and relax; to spend with friends or family; to travel internationally, or work in social impact space. Whatever you want to do, we’ll allow you to take that time for you to pursue your passion.
Our mobility program is another and there are a variety of options that we provide our people to get global experiences. For example, there is our ambassador program, which is basically an exchange program, for approximately 12 months where you can get experience in another BCG office, as well as temporary assignments in other countries where we have global staffing opportunities.
What types of onboarding, training and ongoing support do you provide to incoming MBAs?
Our onboarding process is rigorous. And we invest a tremendous amount in training.
New hires will go through a program we call ELST: Entry Level Skills Training. As part of that program, they will learn about the tools and processes within BCG. They’ll also learn about our culture and history of the firm, our founding values, the values we still hold today. They’ll get to know about their specific office. And get exposure to various people across the firm (and across their office). Our trainings are presented mostly by consultants and our knowledge and business services teams who share their expertise on different topics, so you’re getting experience from people who do the job every day and can share their first-hand experience and expertise on relevant topics.
We also have extensive online training modules that you can self-select if you need to brush up on any skills in particular areas, whether it be Excel-based modeling, slide writing, or customer Interviewing skills. What we try to do is give you an overview during the entry level skills training and a chance to practice those skills in the first couple of weeks, along with resources that, depending on your specific case, you can draw upon to develop technical skills that you’ll need for your work at the time that you need them. This type of “just- in-time” skill development is a key component of our training approach.
The other thing we do is offer a variety of social events with various cohorts and get them exposure to consultants of all different tenures. As they start to get familiar with the firm, they can meet and get exposure to people who are an important part of community. [These are people] who will support their development over the early part of their career at BCG and help them navigate the new environment and culture.
The other thing related to the training is the mentors that we provide, which I think are less about on-going training and more about on-going support. Our whole culture is geared towards helping people succeed. It’s so important to what we do, so we make sure new hires will have a variety of mentors, some formal and informal, that will help guide your development. For example, you will always have an office mate – a seasoned employee – an invaluable source of advice and coaching around the job and a really good sounding board for you when you first start.
You’ll also be assigned a career development advisor, who’ll help you think about the skills you need to develop at the various stages of your career, how are you progressing against those skills, giving you advice on training and different assignments that can help you further your development. We also will give people mentors. Usually, after you’ve been at BCG for several months, you can select a mentor, someone you’d like to have for an informal mentoring arrangement – someone else besides your career development advisor that you can go to on a regular basis for advice. Then, obviously, through your case team, there’s a huge amount of support, day-to-day, with feedback, coaching and development that goes on with the specific assignments.
That may sound like there are a lot of people, but that’s intentional. We deliberately try to create numerous sources of support for you to help you navigate your career successfully and help you reach your true potential.