Consulting Firm Profile: McKinsey & Company

Written by . Posted in Consulting Industry

Consulting Firm Profile

McKinsey & Company is one of the four top-tier management consulting firms. It covers a number of the same industry sectors as competitors like Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bain and Booz. McKinsey argues that it tries to do things differently. It’s a belief that early-career management consultants say is very true. Read more…

McKinsey associates pride themselves on finding the best possible solutions for a client’s concern, chiefly focusing on cost and supply chain management, but also delving into marketing and revenue management as it pertains to the overall company goals. Current and former associates and business analysts note that ideas are the principal currency at the firm. They are also at other firms, clearly, but at McKinsey, a good theoretical understanding of global management practices is critical for working well among one’s peers.

Background of McKinsey & Company

McKinsey and Company pioneered a lot of things thanks to starting out in the Chicago area in the 1930s and taking advantage of the guiding hand of Martin Bower. The location led to a strong early emphasis on management consultants taking on work for the Big Three automakers in Detroit, as well as other manufacturing firms in the second tier of suppliers. But the other, more critical development, was Bower’s emphasis on hiring entry-level candidates fresh out of business school, a practice that has now become prominent at other firms but still provides hope for candidates fresh out of school looking to break into management consulting.

Salary and Advancement

Starting pay is generally slightly above the industry standard, although some McKinsey & Co. management consultants note that the pay is not quite as strong when one considers the 60+-hour workweeks involved. Advancement offers strong prospects, although as with other firms, McKinsey associates and engagement managers generally work in more client-facing roles and in creating business development opportunities for the partners.

However, while associates generally design and deploy recommendations at McKinsey for their many clients in the Fortune 1000 (Nearly two-thirds of that group, in fact), some of the associates note that other than explaining the conclusions to C-level executives, much of the work that they do is very similar to what they would be doing if they were one rung below. It seems that much of the upward growth in the firm may be looked at as horizontal in terms of the expansion of the job descriptions there. Others note that more opportunities may be available when one looks outward, rather than upward.

Moving on from McKinsey & Company

On the other hand, McKinsey and Co. recognizes that many of its younger business analysts will move on to other roles with different companies and perhaps specialize more with years of experience. That understanding of the management consulting world, along with the emphasis on training clients to take on solutions themselves, may make it the perfect fit for some entry-level management consultant aspirants.

Facts about McKinsey & Company

  • Founded: 1926
  • Offices: 95
  • Central Locations: United States, Western Europe, Asia
  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Employees: 16,000 (2010)
  • Website: www.mckinsey.com
If you want more tips on how to prepare for consulting interviews,then download a free guide. ConsultingFact.com offers guides for resumes, cover letters, case interviews, case frameworks, and other material that will help you land a consulting job.

You Might Also Like...

Consulting Firm Profile: Bain & Company

Written by . Posted in Consulting Industry

Bain

Bain & Company is a management consulting firm that started late, but began operations with a focus on one goal: demonstrable objectives for clients to achieve in order to make clear gains in either revenue or cost cutting. The culture is fast-paced and the principals eschew the idea that strategy is more important than implementation. Read more…

Life at Bain

That means that those with strong conceptual thinking will do just fine, according to younger associates, but they will need to ensure that they can find concrete direction with their analysis. Others have noted that the best applicant, whether entry-level or in the middle of one’s career, will find that humility is a career attribute of all management consultant applicants that are successful at Bain.

And in fact, applicants should be expected to take the verbal reasoning and case study sections of an interview seriously, with the ability to translate their analysis to specific actionable items, even at the early stages of the development of a strategic change. These may apply to any one of the Bain & Company specialties, including the normal management and growth and change strategies in addition to information technology and supply chain improvements.

Areas of Focus

Like competing management consultant firms Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and Booz, Bain & Company offers services in each of their specialties to a number of different industry sectors. Among the many covered by the company are the automotive, defense, media, retail and healthcare sectors. Since the culture focuses on quick and demonstrable results, prospective management consultants can expect frequent travel to be on-site at client locations.

Bain & Company Background

Bain & Company was founded by Boston Consulting Group alumni like Bill Bain and other former management consultants who figured that new strategies and ideas would help drive business clients forward. While the company no longer focuses on a single client per sector, management consultants at Bain still keep in mind the old selling points from the 1970s: the ability to increase stock prices and raise revenue. A crisis in the early 1990s led to significant restructuring that led to more buy-in at the general partner level and also affords more flexibility during financial downturns.

Moving On and Moving Away

Those who choose to stay with Bain & Company will also find that there are demonstrable differences between positions, and growth will mean taking on additional responsibilities. Keep in mind that many at Bain note that the management consultants will be cross-trained in a number of industries, and while that leads to greater versatility, it can come at the expense of developing subject matter expertise. Some junior-level employees also note that the gap between the first and second levels can be somewhat high.

However, Bain directors understand, just like other management consulting firms, that some analysts and consultants will choose to move on to other firms with their varied expertise and skill set. In that case, Bain can offer the prestige that few other firms can match. In fact, in 2009 and 2010, the firm had the best name recognition according to several external reviews. That can open doors even in industries where one doesn’t have much experience while at Bain.

Facts

Founded: 1973
Offices: 42
Central Locations: North America, Western Europe, India, East Asia
Headquarters: Boston, MA
Employees: 4,800
Website: https:/www.bain.com/

If you want more tips on how to prepare for consulting interviews,then download a free guide. ConsultingFact.com offers guides for resumes, cover letters, case interviews, case frameworks, and othermaterial that will help you land a consulting job.

You Might Also Like...

Consulting Firm Profile: Booz & Company

Written by . Posted in Consulting Industry

Consulting Firm Profile

Booz & Company may have spun off it’s government consultants, but it still has a team-centric philosophy that means that new hires are likely to find themselves solving different problems, but all in one industry. Historically, the company focused on the Great Lakes region of the United States, including the automotive industry.

Since then, they have branched out to nearly as many sectors as a top-10 firm could seek to cover, again outside of the public sector to the extent they once did. While they clearly have a goal to serve as many industries as their teams have expertise to cover, their biggest claim to fame is to help firms deal with “discontinuities,” as Booz & Co. describes it.

These include moving oil companies into renewable energy projects or dealing with aspects of regulation and deregulation that can call for wholesale organizational changes. The firm and its management consultants argue that the industry specific knowledge they provide helps companies by quickly applying best practices as they have already been used in other companies and developing new ones when needed.

The pace is fast for entry-level and even mid-career management consultants. Clients’ projects are generally only assigned for six months so that there is no possibility for stagnation. Anonymous employees argue that the rapid movement also helps promote rapid promotion for the right candidates.

At the same time, it also doesn’t mean that there are very many times to take a breather or ask for help in understanding new or difficult strategies. The reliance on an industry-centric strategy in building teams also develops expertise, but means that employee reductions can match the growth and decline of their areas of coverage.

Still, the number of offices in far flung locations makes the prospect of travel possible, especially in sectors like pharmaceuticals with a global footprint. Those who join teams that cover a larger footprint in terms of regions can expect a concomitant increase in the amount of time that they travel.

Keep in mind that while there are industry-specific teams, there are also subject matter experts on the senior staff in the following functional areas: information technology, organization and strategic leadership, as well as operations management.

Many employees argue that Booz & Company offers a great environment to get started, thanks to the intelligence of co-workers and the global footprint. The name brand value doesn’t hurt either. Where things start to get a little contentious is the amount of travel, and the decision of the company to remove it’s government consulting teams which some argue diluted the brand.

Company Facts

Founded: 1914
Offices: 61
Central Locations: Europe, United States, Australia
Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 3,300
Major Developments: Devolution of government consulting teams when firm was Booz Allen Hamilton (2008)
Website: CLOSED

You Might Also Like...

Top 10 Management Consulting Jargon Terms

Written by . Posted in Consulting Industry

Consulting Jargon Terms

Do you speak the management consulting world’s language? You would not be far removed from calling it a separate dialect of English, considering it has its own vocabulary and changes the use of verbs and nouns in some cases. Read more about this special language…

Don’t fret, though. The words can make some sense if you know where they come from, and we’ve made a list of 10 of our favorites:

Bandwidth

You have a certain amount of energy, of skills and time that you can bring to bear on a project. Bandwidth is an all-encompassing term that combines each aspect and sounds more professional than, “I don’t have the time nor the energy to do this.

Best Practices

Whether you’re talking about a business sector, your client company or in general, best practices are the methods and means that have the most benefit. However, be careful in using absolutes if you plan on trying a new method: it may become a best practice, but if you call it one it’s not true.

Close the Loop

In meetings, closing the loop means finishing an item on the agenda or a topic of discussion with everyone in agreement. It can also be used to describe an item still to be done.

Core Competencies

If you had 15 seconds to describe a company’s best attributes, you would come up with its core competencies. Many consultants assigned to struggling firms recommend focusing time and resources on these areas.

Leverage

Synonymous with use, leverage is a verb that may be frequently included in reports to give a sense of strength or careful thinking to the reassignment of resources. Should generally be added to documents when a management consultant feels that the task is BEST completed using the proposed method.

Ping

Taken from the computer and networking world, to ping someone means to contact them on a matter. Generally it is done with email, but the term can be used no matter the media.

Pushback

Pushback is any real or anticipated issues that might be raised by the executives at a client company concerning a consultant’s analysis or proposed solution.

Scope Creep

A management consultant is brought in to find out why a company’s new marketing strategy is affecting workplace productivity. Scope creep sets in when they find out that they’re also responsible for assisting on writing policies and other tasks not initially included in the project

Takeaway

The takeaway is the set of key points that the audience should understand by the end of a presentation or meeting. Management consultants who don’t ensure their clients get the “takeaway” may not be successful.

Wetware

The human element. It may refer to the minds of an organization, the human resources available to a company in general, or simply a consultant’s mind and thought process. Can be difficult to figure out which without context.

You Might Also Like...

Top 10 Management Consulting Firms

Written by . Posted in Consulting Industry

Management Consulting Firms

We’ve done some research and agree with outside sources that the following are some of the top firms by size or influence in the industry. However, we’re loathe to assume that one firm or the other is the best because the perfect one is the management consulting firm that best fits your needs and professional development goals. Read more…

Note: Firms conducting solely management consulting services will have much lower employee numbers than those involved in finance and accounting, but we are including total firm numbers for comparison.

Bain & Company

Headquarters: Boston, MA
Employees: 4,800
Offices: 41
Sectors: Automotive; Chemicals; Consumer Products; Energy & Utilities; Financial Services; Healthcare; Industrial Machinery; Media; Mining; Nonprofit, Public Sector & Higher Education; Retail; Technology; Telecommunications; Transportation Services
Practice Areas: Change Management; Corporate Renewal; Cost & Supply Chain Management; Customer Strategy & Marketing; IT; Mergers & Acquisitions; Organization; Performance Improvement; Private Equity; Strategy
Website: https://www.bain.com

Booz & Company

Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 3,300
Offices: 61
Sectors: Aerospace & Defense; Automotive; Chemicals; Consumer Products; Energy & Utilities; Financial Services; Health; Industrials; Media & Entertainment; Oil & Gas; Private Equity; Public Sector; Retail; Technology; Telecommunications; Transportation
Practice Areas: Corporate Finance; Information Technology; Marketing & Sales; Mergers & Restructuring; Operations & Logistics; Organization & Change; Product & Service Innovation; Strategy & Leadership
Website: CLOSED

The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.

Headquarters: Boston, MA
Employees: 4,500
Offices: 69
Sectors: Automotive; Biopharmaceuticals; Consumer Products; Energy & Environment; Engineered Products & Project Business; Financial Institutions; Health Care Payers & Providers; Insurance; Media & Entertainment; Medical Devices & Technology; Metals & Mining; Private Equity; Process Industries; Public Sector; Retail; Technology & Software; Telecommunications; Transportation, Travel & Tourism
Practice Areas: Corporate Development; Corporate Finance; Globalization; Growth; Information Technology; Innovation; Managing in a Slow-Growth Economy; Marketing & Sales; Branding & Communication; Consumer Insight; Go-to-Market Strategy; Marketing; Sales & Channels; Pricing; Operations; Organization; Postmerger Integration; Strategy; Sustainability; Transformation; Turnaround
Website: https://www.bcg.com

Deloitte Consulting LLP

Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 42,367
Offices: 50
Practice Areas: Human Capital; Strategy & Operations; Technology
Sectors: Aerospace & Defense; Automotive; Banking & Securities; Consumer Products; Federal Government; Halth Care Providers; Health Plans; Insurance; Life Sciences; Media & Entertainment; Oil & Gas; Power & Utilities; Private Equity, Hedge Funds & Mutual Funds; Process & Industrial Products; Real Estate; Retail; State Government; Technology; Telecom; Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure
Website: https://www.deloitte.com/

Ernst & Young LLP

Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 40,732
Offices: 140
Practice Areas: Advisory; Assurance; Specialty Services; Strategic Growth Markets; Tax; Transactions
Sectors: Asset Management; Automotive; Banking & Capital Markets; Consumer Products; Government & Public Sector; Insurance; Life Sciences; Media & Entertainment; Mining & Metals; Oil & Gas; Power & Utilities; Provider Care; Real Estate; Retail & Wholesale; Technology; Telecommunications
Website: https://www.ey.com

McKinsey & Company

Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 16,000
Offices: 95
Sectors: Automotive & Assembly; Chemicals; Consumer Packaged Goods; Electric Power & Natural Gas; Financial Services; High Tech; Healthcare Payor and Provider; Media & Entertainment; Metals & Mining Retail; Oil & Gas; Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products; Private Equity; Public Sector; Pulp &Paper/Forest Products; Social Sector; Telecommunications; Travel; Transport & Logistics
Practice Areas: Business Technology Office; Corporate Finance; Marketing & Sales; Operations; Organization; Risk; Strategy
Website: https://www.mckinsey.com/

Mercer LLC

Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 18,900
Offices: 150
Practice Areas: Retirement, risk & finance consulting; Health & benefits; Human capital; Surveys & products; Workforce communication & change; Investment consulting; Investment management; Outsourcing; Mergers & acquisitions
Website: https://www.mercer.com/

Monitor Deloitte

Headquarters: Cambridge, MA
Employees: 1,600
Offices: 28
Sectors: Aerospace and Defense; Automotive; Consumer Goods; Energy and Utilities; Financial Services; Government; Industrial Products; IT and Telecom; Media and Advertising; Nonprofit and Social Sector; Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences, and Healthcare; Private Equity; Professional Services; Retail; Tourism and Travel
Practice Areas: Advisory Services; Capability-Building Services; Capital Services
Website: http://www.monitor.com

Oliver Wyman

Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 3,300
Offices: 40
Sectors: Automotive; Aviation, Aerospace and Defense; Communications, Media and Technology; Energy; Financial Services; Health and Life Sciences; Industrial Products; Retail and Consumer Products; Surface Transportation
Practice Areas: Actuarial, Business Transformation, Corporate Finance and Restructuring, Delta, Finance and Risk, Leadership Development, Marketing and Sales, Operations and Technology, Strategy
Website: https://www.oliverwyman.com

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Headquarters: New York, NY
Employees: 39,142
Offices: 74
Sectors: Aerospace & defense; Asset management; Automotive; Banking & capital markets; Business & professional services; Chemicals; Communications; Energy; Engineering & construction; Entertainment & media; Financial services; Forest, paper & packaging; Health industries; Hospitality & leisure; Industrial manufacturing; Industrial products; Insurance; Metals; Pharmaceuticals & life science; Public sector; Real estate; Retail & consumer; Technology; Transportation & logistics; Utilities
Practice Areas: Capital projects & infrastructure; Corporate finance; Deals; Finance; Forensic services; Operations; People & change; Risk management; Security; Technology
Website: https://www.pwc.com/

You Might Also Like...

Major or Boutique Consulting Firms

Written by . Posted in Consulting Application, Consulting Industry

Consulting Firms

We were talking with a friend of ours who works as a copywriter in the advertising industry. He works in a small boutique that principally does online messaging for the travel and leisure sector. As we spent time, we realized how his choice and our choice in careers varied by more than just the industries we chose. Read more…

That’s because although he became a creative executive and we went into management consulting, the structure of the firms where we worked couldn’t be more different. As someone who had a background in the small, liberal arts colleges in America, he saw the best fit in a small shop that targeted his interests. And that’s one option for management consultants as well.

The Boutique Firms and What You Get

At a smaller management consulting firm, you’re likely to find that the companies you focus on represent just one or two related industries. Furthermore, you’ll be solving specific problems related to one portion of their business activities.

On the bright side, you’ll also be working with top-level executives and in many cases be one of only a few people working on a given project. This means that you are making contacts with C-level thought leaders and will often be asked for input on many aspects of a project.

At the same time, you are less likely to be working on a variety of projects. Like our copywriter friend, you’ll be focusing on one industry or one management focus during the course of your employment.

The Big Names and Your Level of Involvement

A big consulting firm like BCG, McKinsey or Bain will deal with the management and business issues of a variety of top firms around the world. You will likely be one member on a larger team that attempts to deal with high-level concerns and promote system change.

This means that the number of people you will come in contact with will be much larger and span various sectors. At the same time, you might be working on very specific aspects of a project and not necessarily be as involved in big picture aspects of the consulting process. Your mileage will of course vary by both office and company.

Where Do You Go from Here?

Management consulting may be a lifelong pursuit for you, or it may be one way for you to gain experience with how different firms succeed given a set of variables, needs and capital. To delve briefly into what options both sides present can be a bit misleading, but we’ll try.

The gist is that with a larger firm, you have access to more resources across more industries than you would in a smaller boutique’s office. That can mean that you could transfer to another satellite office to satisfy your wanderlust, or leverage a network of co-workers to focus on a specific industry if you’re at one of the leading management consulting firms.

On the other hand, a boutique firm will gift you a contact list of some of the top names in a given industry, where you’ll be known more quickly than you might if you’re part of a larger group.

How you pick depends on what your goals are for your career, and what atmosphere suits you best.

You Might Also Like...