Boston Consulting Group

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The Boston Consulting Group
Industry Management consulting
Founded 1963
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Key people
Rich Lesser, President & CEO
Revenue $4.55 billion (2014)[1]
Number of employees
6,200 consultants worldwide (10,500 total staff[2])

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm with 82 offices in 46 countries. The firm advises clients in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors around the world, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 500.[3] Considered one of the most prestigious management consulting firms,[4] BCG was ranked second in Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2015.[5]


The company was founded by Bruce D. Henderson, a Vanderbilt University and Harvard Business School alumnus. After many years in the purchasing department of Westinghouse in Pittsburgh (where pricing behavior gave him the idea of the experience curve), he joined Arthur D. Little in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was then recruited by The Boston Company, where he founded a one-man, one-telephone consulting unit he named Boston Consulting Group.

In 1975, Henderson arranged an employee stock ownership plan, and employees took the company independent from The Boston Company. The buyout of all shares was completed in 1979.[6]

In January 2013, Rich Lesser became the sixth president and chief executive officer of BCG.


BCG serves as an adviser to many businesses, governments, and institutions. Some recent BCG clients include Google, IBM, Aetna, Pfizer, American Airlines, Ford Motor Company, Tata Group, Harvard School of Public Health, Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, Russian Ministry of Energy, Government of Canada, United States Agency for International Development, and European Union Phare Programme, according to the 2009 publication by Wetfeet on the company.[7][8]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

BCG received the top spot in Consulting magazine's 2014 "The Best Firms to Work For" ranking, released in September 2014.[9] Fortune Magazine ranked BCG second in its 2011- 2012 lists of the "top 100 best companies to work for".[10] The 2015 rankings by Fortune listed BCG as the second "best company to work for."[11] and in 2014 BCG ranked third. BCG has also been listed in Consulting magazine's "Best Firms to Work For" list every year since 2001,[12] received a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index[13] formulated by the Human Rights Campaign for the past six years,[14] and been rated by Working Mother magazine[15] as one of the "best companies" for working mothers for the past six years.[14]


BCG is a top employer of recent graduates from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Harvard Business School,[16] University of Delhi, IESE,[17] INSEAD,[18]SDA Bocconi,[19] MIT Sloan School of Management,[20] Columbia Business School,[21] Cambridge University,[22] London School of Economics,[23] Oxford University,[24][25] ESSEC,[26] ESCP Europe, HEC Paris,[27] Stanford Business School,[28] London Business School,[29] and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.[30] The firm also attracts a number of Rhodes Scholars and Marshall Scholars.

BCG typically hires for Associate or Consultant positions, with occasional lateral hires made for Project Leader, Principal and Partner positions. In the United States, BCG recruits undergraduates to join as Associates. Top-performing Associates receive sponsorship to pursue an MBA, returning to BCG upon completion. Some Associates advance to Consultant and beyond without obtaining an MBA, but the vast majority of Associates attend business school. A few complete JDs, MD and other graduate degrees at various institutions (called ADCs for Advanced Degree Candidates/Consultants). BCG also makes large efforts to hire advanced non-business degree holders. Graduates holding J.D.s, M.D.s and Ph.D.s in disciplines like engineering, science, and liberal arts receive training in business fundamentals and then typically join the firm as Consultants although this varies between different geographies. There is also an opportunity to join as a Summer Associate or Summer Consultant (internship) position for 10 weeks, which for many interns will result in an offer of a full-time position.

BCG's recruiting process is notoriously demanding, typically taking candidates through multiple rounds of case- and experience-based interviews. In 2013, career review site Glassdoor ranked BCG as the 3rd most difficult company with which to interview.[31]

Like many consulting firms, BCG uses a modified version of the Cravath System, also known as "up or out".[citation needed]

Developed Concepts[edit]

"Growth-share matrix"[edit]

Main article: Growth-share matrix
BCG matrix of example data set

In 1968, BCG created the "growth-share matrix", a simple chart to assist large corporations in deciding how to allocate cash among their business units. The corporation would categorize its business units as "Stars", "Cash Cows", "Question Marks", and "Dogs" (originally "Pets"), and then allocate cash accordingly, moving money from "cash cows" toward "stars" and "question marks" that had higher market growth rates, and hence higher upside potential.[32][33][34]

Experience curve[edit]

The experience curve illustrates that the more often a task is performed the lower the cost of doing it will be. The task can be the production of any good or service. Each time cumulative volume doubles, value-added costs (including administration, marketing, distribution, and manufacturing) fall by a constant and predictable percentage.

BCG founder, Bruce Henderson, expounded the implications of the experience curve for strategy.[35] BCG research concluded that because relatively low cost of operations is a very powerful strategic advantage, firms should capitalize on these learning and experience effects.[36]

Advantage matrix[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Boston Consulting Group's Advantage Matrix.

In this matrix, the two axes are economies of scale and differentiation. The four quadrants formed are called "Volume", "Stalemated", "Specialized", and "Fragmented".




In 1964 BCG began mailing concise essays designed to stimulate senior management thinking on a range of business issues.[37] The pieces would be called Perspectives. Considered provocative ideas on business, BCG founder Bruce D. Henderson referred to them as "a punch between the eyes."[37]

Example Perspectives are:

  • "The Product Portfolio", 1970.[38][39]
  • "The Pricing Paradox", 1970.[38]
  • "The Rule of Three and Four", 1976.[40][41]
  • "Sustained Success", 1984.[42]
  • "Time-Based Results", 1993.[43]

Notable current and former employees[edit]


  1. ^ "BCG at a glance". Boston Consulting Group. 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "BCG Today". Boston Consulting Group. 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "We enable client success". Boston Consulting Group. 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "The most prestigious consulting firms". Forbes. 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "100 best companies to work for". Fortune. 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  6. ^ About BCG
  7. ^ BCG recent clients. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  8. ^ "Google commissioned BCG for independent study" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Fortune magazine, "100 Best Companies To Work For, 2011"
  11. ^ Fortune magazine, "100 Best Companies To Work For, 2015"
  12. ^ "Consulting Magazine,". Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  13. ^ "Human Rights Campaign Employer Database". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  14. ^ a b "BCG Awards". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  15. ^ "Working Mother". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  16. ^ Harvard Business School Top Employers,[dead link]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^ [4]
  20. ^ Columbia Top Employers
  21. ^ MIT Top Employers
  22. ^ Top Cambridge Judges Business School Recruiters
  23. ^
  24. ^ Oxford MBA Employers
  25. ^ Oxford MBA Career Statistics[dead link]
  26. ^
  27. ^ [5]
  28. ^ Top Feeder Companies for Stanford Business School
  29. ^ London Business School Employment report
  30. ^ UPenn MBA Top Employers
  31. ^ Glassdoor Interview Rankings
  32. ^ The Product Portfolio, BCG, January 1970
  33. ^ The Experience Curve Reviewed BCG
  34. ^ Fripp, Geoff.“Overview of the BCG Matrix” Guide to the BCG Matrix
  35. ^ Hax, Arnoldo C.; Majluf, Nicolas S. (October 1982). "Competitive cost dynamics: the experience curve". Interfaces 12 (5): 50–65. doi:10.1287/inte.12.5.50. 
  36. ^ Henderson, Bruce (1974, #149). "The Experience Curve Reviewed: V. Price Stability" ([PDF] Reprint). Perspectives (The Boston Consulting Group). Retrieved March 24, 2007.  Check date values in: |date= (help)[dead link]
  37. ^ a b "BCG History Timeline". Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  38. ^ a b "BCG History Timeline". Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  39. ^ "The Product Portfolio". Perspectives. The Boston Consulting Group. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  40. ^ "BCG History Timeline". Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  41. ^ "The Rule of Three and Four". Perspectives. The Boston Consulting Group. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  42. ^ "BCG History Timeline". Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  43. ^ "BCG History Timeline". Retrieved 2013-03-08. 

External links[edit]