UPDATE: Following the publication of this story, McKinsey, which had previously declined to share its financials, reached out with revenues for McKinsey & Co Inc. (India Branch Offices). The combined India revenue of McKinsey’s two consulting entities stands at Rs 2,926 crore ($398.8 million) for the year ended March 2020. This is 25.8% higher than BCG’s India revenue for the same period. The Ken has reached out to BCG for clarification about its claim of beating McKinsey in India. The story has been updated to reflect McKinsey’s inputs, and will incorporate BCG’s response if and when it is provided.

It was likely too much to expect that governments across the world would respond to the pandemic without consultants by their side. In desperate need of the swift organisational and analytical skills the global health crisis required, they flocked to the Big Three —McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bain—and the Big Four—KPMG, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY). 

 India was no different from the United States United States ProPublica How McKinsey Is Making $100 Million (and Counting) Advising on the Government’s Bumbling Coronavirus Response Read more , France France New York Times France Hired McKinsey to Help in the Pandemic. Then Came the Questions. Read more , Canada Canada Consulting.ca Auditor general criticizes Ontario's McKinsey-crafted pandemic response structure Read more , and others. New Delhi even had an epidemiological model from BCG. Its consultants were embedded in the central health ministry war room as well as a few state health ministries, including Maharashtra’s.

 In the landmark year of the coronavirus and consultants, BCG, the world’s second largest consultancy, claimed to beat McKinsey & Company, the global number one, in India. Addressing an alumni group of 80, BCG India managing director Alpesh Shah said emphatically, “This year BCG finally beat McKinsey, both in domestic revenues and number of partners”. 

 The corporate filings bear this out to an extent. 

 In the financial year ending March 2020, BCG India grew 22% to Rs 2,325 crore ($315.9 million) in revenue; McKinsey & Co India LLP grew 82% to Rs 1,352 crore ($183.7 million) in domestic consulting revenue. These figures represent drops in the ocean for BCG and Mckinsey—in 2019, the global earnings of the former touched $8.5 billion $8.5 billion BCG Boston Consulting Group Revenues Reach $8.5 Billion Read more  while the latter raked in ~$10.5 billion ~$10.5 billion Forbes McKinsey raked in a revenue of $10.5 billion Read more .


Seema Singh

Seema has over two decades of experience in journalism. Before starting The Ken, Seema wrote “Myth Breaker: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and the Story of Indian Biotech”, published by HarperCollins in May 2016. Prior to that, she was a senior editor and bureau chief for Bangalore with Forbes India, and before that she wrote for Mint. Seema has written for numerous international publications like IEEE-Spectrum, New Scientist, Cell and Newsweek. Seema is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MacArthur Foundation Research Grantee.

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