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MBB, or alternatively the Big Three when used in relation to the consulting industry, refers to the three major strategic consulting companies. They are considered to be the most prestigious firms in the management consulting industry.:

  • Bain & Company, founded in 1973 by Bill Bain. Headquartered in Boston, currently operates 49 offices with a global staff of over 6.000 employees
  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG), founded in 1963 by Bruce Henderson. Headquartered in Boston, currently operates 78 offices with a global staff of around 7.000 employees
  • McKinsey & Company, founded in 1926 by James O. McKinsey. Headquartered in New York City, currently operates 100 offices with a global staff of aroun 17.000 employees

These three firms have stood out from other competitors and have consolidated as the top-tier of management consulting business.

Firm Total assets
(US$ billion)
United StatesMcKinsey 5.300
United StatesBoston Consulting Group 3.100
United StatesBain 2.100

Fundamental differences against other consultancies include:

  • Above average revenue per capita and consulting staff compensation
  • An accumulated experience serving Fortune 500 companies
  • Focus on strategic management issues at C-level management

Fundamental differences among the three include:

  • Bain is said to be the more fun one, using a more pragmatic, results-driven approach
  • BCG is regarded as more academic and theoretical, developing complex analytics to reach solutions
  • McKinsey has the reputation for being the most uptight of all three and using one-size-fits-all model

These firms have had a significant impact in the development of modern-day business world and education, notably for the development of new intelligence, such as the Net Promoter Score and the BCG Matrix.


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