Not all BCG engagements begin via a call from the CEO or Chairman of the board. Many do, but life is not that simple. Some, unusually, begin with a call from a middle-manager who does not speak English well. What differentiates BCG, and McKinsey, from Tier-2 firms, however, is how we handle these calls, understand the deeper problems, and cascade the issues upwards until, when the time counts, we are in front of the board. Most Tier-2 firms receiving the same call would settle to try to sell the middle-manager a $100K project or simply dismiss him as unimportant. BCG uses it has an opportunity to learn.