Is MBB now BBM?

Question:

I have come across an article being published in an ex MBB management consulting firm, something it says about a survey/ranking it did for the management consulting firms.
And in summary, it says like the ranking order now is: BCG, Bain, McKinsey; is that true? This survey they made, is after the recent drama on the McKinsey ex-CEO, Rajat Gupta.

My Reply

I haven't seen the survey you've cited, but the question that comes to mind is "who was surveyed?"

My take is that McKinsey has taken a serious hit on its reputation in the aftermath of the Rajat Gupta insider trading allegations.

As I've mentioned before, I'm sure the partners at BCG and Bain were absolutely delighted.

To put this in context, you have to realize what McKinsey's reputation was in the 1980's and 1990's. "The Firm's" reputation was beyond stellar. Business magazine covers explained the "McKinsey Mystique". The reputation was nothing short of legendary.

And of course, now it is not.

In terms of firm rankings, I think amongst long-term existing McKinsey clients I don't think they will make a change. Consulting is very much a relationship business. Many clients who might have been working with the McKinsey partner for 10 - 15 years are unlikely to change just because the relationship with that specific individual is just too deep.

Where this scandal does have an impact is with new prospective clients. If I were in the market to hire a consulting firm, and I was running a public company, and I did not have a deep prior relationship with any of the top 3, I would NOT be looking at McKinsey right now. Why take the (perceived) risk of a problem?

I might look at McKinsey in a year or two when the scandal is behind them and (hopefully) nothing else bad has happened. But, in the meanwhile, I think the scandal does hurt McKinsey's standing with new clients.

So in response to do I think the acronym MBB (for McKinsey, BCG, Bain) is now BBM (BCG, Bain, McKinsey), I would say for new clients the answer is yes for the next 1 - 2 years. For existing clients, I don't think it makes much difference.

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