Consulting Firm Profile: McKinsey & Company

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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:
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