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Bain, McKinsey, And 5 Other Consulting Firms Snapping Up MBAs With Business Analytics Skills

Firms seek out strategists who can marry business acumen with niche digital skills

From artificial intelligence to 3D printing, drones and driverless cars, a slew of technologies are driving sweeping change across industries.

However, this so-called fourth industrial revolution heralds technological, organizational and economic challenges that are on an unprecedented scale.

This disruptive tsunami of tech is a boon for management consultancy firms, which have long made their corn advising companies on how to computerize their businesses.  

Yet as they race to grow their digital practices, firms such as Bain & Company and McKinsey are facing a supply shortage.

While there’s no dearth of strategists, clients are crying out for talent who can marry broad business acumen with niche digital skills.

Chief among them are experts in data science, who can implement better management decision making and targeted intervention based on data, not gut feeling, says Radhika Chadwick, a strategy partner at EY who leads the firm’s digital consulting outfit. 

She says: “These skills are very much in demand, and there are areas where just finding talent is quite difficult.”

To fuel the surging growth in the number of digital consultants — 26% year-on-year, says the Management Consultancies Association — firms are turning to business schools, which have long staffed consultancies with management talent, but are increasingly incorporating digital innovation into their MBA programs.

“We’re seeing a lot of expansion in digital services lines and this is reflected in hiring. McKinsey’s Business Technology Office and Deloitte’s tech practice are regular recruiters,” says Stephen Pidgeon, associate director for careers at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

Here’s seven strategy outfits hungry for business analytics talent:


Bain & Company

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  • Practice Bain Digital/Advanced Analytics
  • Employees Overall 6,000+
  • Hires from Top 25 or 30 schools globally
  • Uppers “Great people, excellent processes, and positive culture”
  • Downers “There’s a consistently high bar for employees”

Elizabeth Spaulding, head of the firm's global digital practice, says: “Bain has always been a data-driven firm. We need best-in-class experts — people who have led digital transformations, and data scientists.” “MBA programs have long been a great source of talent,” she adds.


McKinsey & Company

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  • Practice Digital McKinsey/Digital Labs/McKinsey Solutions
  • Employees Overall 23,000
  • Top Employer At INSEAD; Columbia Business School
  • Uppers “Doing impactful work with smart and inspiring people; global mobility”
  • Downers “Travel, size, pressure to perform”

Alwin Magimay, a partner at McKinsey, says: “Data scientists are today what programmers were in the early 1990s.”

He says: “Data is destined to become so valuable that I predict that not so far in the future it will be included on balance sheets in the same way tangible assets are.”


The Boston Consulting Group

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  • Practice BCG Digital Ventures
  • Employees Overall 12,000
  • Top Employer At INSEAD; Chicago Booth
  • Uppers “The opportunities for impactful work and client interaction at the highest levels”
  • Downers “Steep learning curve, lots of responsibility”

Julia Booth, big data and advanced analytics business manager at BCG, says: “Data, analytics and digital are the future — understanding the key drivers of these phenomena and how to get value from them will differentiate organizations the world over.”


Deloitte

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  • Practice Deloitte Digital
  • Employees Overall 33,000
  • Top Employer At Columbia Business School; Duke Fuqua
  • Uppers “The opportunities that the breadth of Deloitte provides”
  • Downers “Global deployment at early stages of the career is difficult to come by”

Matthew Guest, head of Deloitte’s digital strategy practice for EMEA, says: “Data and analytics have become part of the fabric of how we do business. It’s almost instrumental.”

He says: “There’s definitely a demand for more senior people.” But he adds: “An MBA is a qualification. It’s not something I always look for or do not look for.”


A.T. Kearney

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  • Practice Digital Business Service
  • Employees Overall 3,600
  • Top Employer At INSEAD; Columbia Business School
  • Uppers “Good combo of being entrepreneurial and having scale”
  • Downers “Lots of travel, less well-known brand name”

Peter Hewlett, a principal at A.T Kearney, says: “Digital is transforming businesses. But we need to help our clients see through the threats to the wide range of opportunities.”

He adds: “The MBA profile will always be part of our portfolio of talent that we seek to attract, hire and retain.”


KPMG

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  • Practice Digital Consulting Services
  • Employees Overall 29,000
  • Top Employer At IESE Business School
  • Uppers “Supportive and nurturing environment”
  • Downers “Networking in such a large firm”

Mazhar Hussain, a leader on KPMG’s digital, analytics and innovation team, says: “Data is almost the currency of the future. It’s helping us shape and develop digital strategies.”

He says: “There’s huge demand for digital consultants because the industry is blowing up. We need that talent.”


Accenture

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  • Practice Accenture Digital
  • Employees Overall 375,000
  • Top Employer At INSEAD; Kellogg School of Management
  • Uppers “Amazing culture; extremely strong and motivated people; a firm that shapes markets”
  • Downers “Large, global, publicly traded company administration”

Gregor McHardy, MD and technology consulting lead, says: “Increasingly, an understanding of data and analytics is required. Our teams are increasingly bringing data and analytics skills into project analysis and execution.”

He adds: “We work closely with a number of business schools on a global basis to identify top talent.”

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