Meet The Boston Consulting Group’s MBA Class Of 2020

Extensive training for BCG Summer Consultants complements their immersive “on-the-job” learning and mentorship


This applies no matter how long you’ve been at BCG or high you reach in the firm. “Growth is a perpetual thing at BCG,” adds Brian Myerholtz. “I have an executive coach.  As someone who has been here for a long time, I am still learning how to be a better leader of people and a better executive.”

That goes for everyone. To start, MBA hires are assigned to a talent manager at BCG, says Maggie Orr. They work with consultants to find the right case fits along with identifying experiences to build their value over time. New hires also enjoy a career advisor, who helps them build the right connections and mentors and gain the right expertise for their long-term careers. Such support helps MBAs build what Mary Kiarie calls a “growth mindset.” By that, she means that MBAs should approach every challenge as “learning opportunities instead of roadblocks” and a means to “grow capabilities and dive into stretch zones with excitement.”

“We don’t throw you in the fire, but we will give you a challenge and responsibilities early and often,” says Brian Myerholtz when it comes to growth mindset. “You may be put on a project in an industry that you don’t know anything about and you need to come up to speed very quickly… It might be painful to go through the first time I do it, but the next time you do it it will be less painful and the third time you do it you’ll know exactly what to do. Someone with a growth mindset knows and embraces those challenges.”

Michelle Williams


This growth mindset is exactly what Michelle Williams found at BCG. A Wharton MBA and U.S. Navy veteran, Williams expected to get stuck in the work she’d always done. Turns out, it was the opposite. “When I first started, I mentioned that I would like to try to develop in areas that I thought were weaker and I was immediately given the opportunity to explore those functions and skillsets. This confidence in letting me take on a role in which I had limited previous experience was a great motivator. Coupled with a great manager on the case, I was able to make vast improvements and add another tool to my toolkit going forward.”

James Lambert followed a similar path after joining BCG in 2020. I knew that my background didn’t scream quantitative skill,” he admits, “but I wanted to prove to myself that I could succeed in that dimension. I arranged for case work that would involve a lot of modelling and quantitative analysis, and my project leaders spent extra time with me to ensure I was learning best practices. Most importantly, people throughout BCG trusted me. When an especially challenging modelling case came up and I said I wanted it despite not having much experience, everyone from staffing to my case team leadership had my back.”

This stems from BCG’s generalist model, which caters to their team’s individual strengths, passions, and goals. We don’t have prescribed formula that you have to be a deep expert in a specific or topic,” Brian Myerholtz notes. “There are people who are industry or sector experts. There are people who are functional experts and there are people who are everything in between. We allow people to customize their portfolio based on their interests and skill sets and formulate a path to becoming a managing director or partner that fits their profile.”


Before that happens, the Class of 2020 has a learning and growth curve. Prior to BCG, Christina Bachtina sometimes struggled with self-doubt, particularly when it came to sharing her ideas. She credits BCG with boosting her confidence.

“It’s been very encouraging to have case teams who validate what I bring to the table while creating safe opportunities for me to speak up and share my insights. It doesn’t come naturally yet, but I’m grateful to BCG for pushing me to find my confidence and unlock more of my potential.”

Gus Young has come away with a similar benefit over the past year. “It has been the confidence to attack any problem, no matter the size or complexity…The combination of expertise, experience, and collaboration at BCG helps the team distill the problem down to its simplest form. Once the landscape is set, it is much easier to see how each individual workstream fits within the overall objective. Solving a really big problem then just becomes putting all the pieces together.”


It is a process, however, that is truly driven by people. Brian Myerholtz describes BCGers asincredibly talented, humble and impact-focused individuals [who] share the same common purpose and values.” More than that, it is a place where different viewpoints are treated as assets.

“The senior team members are always willing to discuss topics and approaches to a problem with thoughtfulness and patience,” adds Varun Hippalgaonkar. “But what I have been most impressed by is the countless times where the most senior partner on the case will genuinely seek out the perspective of the most junior member of the team to learn about how they are thinking about the problem.”

Andrew Lue frames the BCG dynamic a different way: “When you put a group of intellectually curious people in a room, there is often a great discussion on the horizon.”

BCGers made the most of working from home this past year with team building events, workouts, and friendly virtual competitions


Many times, this results in an inventive approach, even internally. That was the case during COVID, when BCGers were forced home. Despite the disruption, teams were able to break down the distance and become closer than ever. “The BCG North America Outdoor Club kept my spirits up as I worked from home throughout 2020 by enabling me to virtually ski, bike, camp, and more through my fellow club members’ photos and stories,” writes Lucy Xiao-Vance. “These inspired me to take up scuba diving.”

It also inspired the BCG team to step back and look closely at their operating model, says Brian Myerholtz. Not only did they successfully adapt to a virtual setting, Myerholtz notes, but also capitalized on some hidden advantages of it. “There are benefits such as replacing time on airplanes with time exercising outdoors. Less time spent in commute and more time having breakfast with families. We really demonstrated that we were there for each other in that we were constantly evolving and finding ways to connect as people outside of case meetings and business activities.“

Maggie Orr doesn’t believe COVID fundamentally changed COVID culture…but the adjustments did make her more effective in some ways. “I am a big user of Slack and real time back and forth pings — “Hey, I just came out of a meeting. This is what I found. What about this? What about that?“ It has been incredibly useful in being connected with folks and staying on the pulse in ways I don’t think we had before.“


Maggie Orr

What advice does Orr offer to MBA candidates hoping to land a position at BCG — or management consulting in general? She cautions business students not to focus on specific courses. “It doesn’t matter what class you take if want to succeed in consulting. It is the critical thinking skills and communication skills. It is how do you have constructive debate and engage folks.“

True to BCG’s ethos, Brian Myerholtz approaches this question from an alternative angle. “If there are professors you particularly like, sign up for their classes. If you Like the profs and you like the content, you’ll get a lot more out of class naturally , rather than taking things just because you feel you have to round out a skill set or such.“

When it comes to case interviews, James Lambert proposes that MBA candidates exercise a quality over quantity approach. “After every 3-4 practice cases you do, pull back and synthesize the feedback you’re getting and develop a plan to specifically address your weaknesses. Second, be deliberate about who you do practice interviews with. It’s good to do your first couple with someone you know well, just to get the feel of it. Afterward, you should also seek to case with people who you are less familiar with, and maybe even make you feel a bit nervous. This will keep you on your toes as you hone your skills.”


And don’t be afraid to make mistakes either, adds Gus Young. “BCG knows there is a tremendous amount of growth required for even the best candidates to really succeed at this job,” he explains.  “Stumble in the early part of a case? Bouncing back and finishing with a strong answer is a good indicator that you will embrace problems and development opportunities head on. No one expects you to be perfect, so how you respond in difficult situations is paramount as this is what translates to success as a consultant.”

Those suggestions provide some guidance on “how” to increase your odds of earning a spot at BCG. However, the real question is the “why.” That’s the most common question that Brian Myerholtz receives from MBA candidates. Entering his third decade in the firm, the answer remains constant for Myerholtz: the people and the work.

“If you work in a career in consulting in a place like BCG, you will have many opportunities outside of BCG to do interesting and different things. I have yet to find the place where you get to do such an interesting work, with a group of people who are as capable, easy to work with, and humble as BCGers are.”

What did the first-year BCG MBAs love about their business schools?  What advice would they give for case preparation and interviews? Click on the links below to get answers like these from recent BCG hires.

Consultant BCG Office Hometown MBA Program
Christina Bachtina Chicago Kosiv, Ukraine University of Chicago (Booth)
Jose Barrientos Dallas San Salvador, El Salvador Duke University (Fuqua)
Mary Kiarie Boston Nairobi, Kenya MIT (Sloan)
James Lambert Seattle Seattle, WA Northwestern University (Kellogg)
Andrew Lue Toronto Toronto, Canada Queen’s University (Smith)
Tim Purdie Houston Selma, AL Harvard Business School
Alejandra Ramirez New Jersey San Salvador, El Salvador New York University (Stern)
Rukmini Sarkar London Dubai, UAE MIT (Sloan)
Michelle Williams Los Angeles Brandon, FL Wharton School
Lucy Xiao-Vance Chicago Sydney, Australia INSEAD
Gus Young Boston Dedham, MA University of Michigan (Ross)
Varun Hippalgaonkar New York City Orlando, FL Duke University (Fuqua)