Staff at the Boston Consulting Group’s London office have complained of ‘nepotism’ after the children of dozens of high-profile partners traveled from around the world for an exclusive week-long work experience programme.
The US-based consultancy ran the day-long program this month for about 30 children of the company’s chief executives and partners, sparking an internal row over BCG’s commitment to for social mobility and the fight against climate change.
“They got office tours, dinners and stuff that normally wouldn’t be given to [job] candidates. They made it a bit of a holiday for the children of the partners who came,” a current BCG employee told the Financial Times.
The children were participating in BCG’s “Bruce Henderson Summer Program,” named after the company’s founder. The daughter of a France-based partner who participated wrote on LinkedIn that she had learned the “basics of strategic consulting” and presented a project to “a panel of senior consultants”.
Three members of BCG staff worked for two months to prepare the programme, work that would cost external clients well over £1million, according to the BCG employee.
“This caused a lot of internal concern both among junior staff [and at] higher levels, particularly in the London office, and concerns were simply dismissed,” the employee said.
BCG, which employs 25,000 people in more than 100 cities around the world, said, “The Bruce Henderson Summer Program has been in place for many years and is designed to help children gain a broad educational and professional. Parents cover primary costs, such as travel. Participants stay in college dorms and the program is educationally focused.
The company added that the consultants working on the program volunteered their time: “BCG did not provide a team to organize this.”
The company reported sales of $11 billion for 2021. It also tightened its travel policies for staff as part of efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Travel to cities like Florence and Lisbon for potential recruits from the London office have been removed. .
Chief Executive Christoph Schweizer said in February that he wants BCG to hire climate change to work for corporate clients and that he expects the company to collect up to a third of his fees through the climate advice within five years. BCG said it “remains committed and on track to achieve net zero climate impact by 2030, and we are on track to halve our carbon emissions by 2025.”
Last year, BCG also joined a program run by the UK’s Sutton Trust to help people from low-income backgrounds get into counseling.
“This kind of behavior makes a mockery of the work that [Sutton] Trust advances social mobility in finance and consulting,” the employee said, adding that it is “also completely contrary to the spirit of our very publicly stated net zero ambitions.”
Staff writing anonymously in a private group on the Fishbowl app, which requires users to register with their work email addresses, made similar complaints that the work experience program was incompatible with the public positions of the company.
“People would take the net zero commitment more seriously if there was more consistency across the board,” said a BCG staffer. “We are killing our world formations and [managing directors/partners] the kids are flying out to London for a fun day out? said another.
A third called the program “super nepotism”, noting: “Our recruitment program for the same age group is oversubscribed by 40:1.”
A person describing himself as a senior partner defended the company, saying: ‘We pay ourselves if we want our children to go.
But a fourth BCG employee wrote: “Let’s advertise and see what the public response is? Join the BCG to babysit the bosses’ children!
“Shocking use of resources,” wrote a fifth, who said he worked on the events.
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