Management Consulting Dictionary

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Consulting Jargon Terms

Jargon is inevitable. Circles of friends, flocks of nerds or groups of employees develop their own terms or phrases that only make sense when used among themselves. Continue reading this article to become familiar with common acronyms and abbreviations used in the management consulting industry.

As a consulting aspirant, you should learn the management consulting dictionary – the jargon that consultants use. Once you get hired for the position, you will interact with partners, and they might be using technical terms that aren’t in your dictionary. To deal with this proactively, start learning the terms as early as now so that when you get there, you’ll be working on the same page with others.


Stands for Any Other Business. Acronym for miscellaneous topics to be taken up in the meeting.

It’s almost 7:00 P.M. now. Shall we meet tomorrow for the AOB?

Big 3

Refers to the three most prominent management consulting firms namely, McKinsey, Bain and BCG. It is also called MBB.

Big 3 firms provide rewarding compensation to their employees.

Big 4

Refers to the largest audit firms namely Deloitte, PWC, Ernst & Young and KPMG. You should not confuse Big 4 with Big 3!

It would be difficult to compete with the well-established Big 4.


Stands for McKinsey, Bain, and BCG. Booz & Company is sometimes mixed in with the Big 3 firms, thereby adding one more B to the acronym.

Many graduates wish for a position in MBB.


Stands for Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive. An acronym that originated at McKinsey. Wikipedia defines it as a grouping principle for separating a set of items into subsets.

Why don’t we try MECE to analyze this scenario?


Stands for Quality Control – A process that ensures products or services meet quality standards.

You need to send your slide deck through QC before sending out to the client.


Stands for Subject Matter Expert – A person proficient in a certain field. An example would be a management consultant. This acronym is often confused with Small-Medium Enterprises.

XYZ Company needs an SME in information technology to enhance their business operations.


Stands for Some Wild-Ass Guess – An idea formulated without supporting data or facts. Often created based on experience.

It wouldn’t be safe to rely on SWAG completely. We must do our research for this project, as well.

To transform yourself into a jargon rock star, also have a look at other ten management consulting terms.

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