McKinsey & Company – Why Work For Us?



Our clients don’t come to us with their mundane problems. They come with their most complex issues and our people help them make change happen – at their headquarters, on their front line, and around the world. In the past five years, we’ve served more than 2,000 clients of all sizes, in all geographies, in 22 industry sectors, and across eight functional areas including strategy, operations, business technology, and sustainability.

Our private-sector work will put you at the center of transformative forces sweeping the business world. We’ve worked to create entirely new businesses, leverage leading-edge technologies, reinvent manufacturing processes, and advise companies on the future of media and social sharing.

Our public-sector and social-impact work is global in nature. We advise many of the world's governments and NGOs on everything from re-imagining education and healthcare to redesigning the Vatican’s organizational structure to fighting polio.

No matter the challenge, we focus on delivering practical and enduring results, and equipping our clients to grow and lead. Since our clients’ needs are constantly evolving, we continuously seek better ways to serve them and are expanding the way we serve clients. Professor Clay Christianson at Harvard wrote about disruption in the management consulting industry and cited McKinsey as a best practice. This is important from both a client service and career standpoint; you should join an organization that is vibrant and strategically positioned.

Some of our recent innovations include:

Beyond client work, McKinsey’s thought leadership is embodied in the McKinsey Global Institute (our economic research arm) and the McKinsey Quarterly (our business publication). If you’re interested, you can stay abreast of our latest thinking through the McKinsey Insights app or website

In July 2014, we launched the McKinsey Social Initiative, an independent non-profit, to build cross-sector partnerships to develop and implement scalable solutions for global issues. Helene D. Gayle, the current president and CEO of CARE USA will join MSI as its first CEO in July 2015. MSI’s first initiative, “Generation,” brings together employers, governments, trainers and job seekers to create a million jobs for young people.

Please visit our Careers website to learn more and apply to join us.​​

We are dedicated to building a great firm that attracts, develops, excites, and retains exceptional people. We do this by:

  • using a strength-based development focus in our people processes and formal trainings
  • inspiring teams to confidently and continuously improve their project experiences and client impact
  • enabling all colleagues to “make their own McKinsey” and pursue their personal and professional passions

When you join McKinsey, you will bring an incredible set of skills, abilities, and interests. We want to help you continue to develop your strengths, which is why we focus on them in all mentoring and coaching discussions (you can learn more about strengths-based feedback and the woman who started it in an interview with director emeritus Nancy Killefer.

We don't, however, expect you to go it alone. We provide you with a strong apprenticeship culture and formal training opportunities. The majority of your development will happen on your client engagement teams. Your team mates and leaders will regularly guide and coach you. You’ll receive formal strengths-based feedback at the end of each project as well as during semi-annual reviews. You’ll also be paired with a development group leader (a senior partner) and a professional development manager from your office, who will help you to build your skills, expertise and network, especially as you transition into McKinsey.

Your formal training will begin with Embark – our intensive basic consultant readiness program that teaches you how McKinsey teams serve clients and helps you start your own network of colleagues. You’ll continue through a core set of programs based on your tenure and specialized programs based on your areas of interest. We invest more than $100 million each year in training to help you develop your skills, relationships, confidence, and future. 

Beyond formal training and mentorship, we are always looking for ways to help our people get the most out of their career and life by fostering strong team dynamics, supporting flexibility, and encouraging mobility.

  • Teams: If you ask McKinsey people what they like most about their work, and what they have the strongest memories of, they often will talk about their teams. A McKinsey team isn't just a group of people with the same to-do list; it’s a core part of our client service and our culture. A team room is typically a hub of activity, whether it is researching an issue, brainstorming solutions, creating simple or complex models, or preparing presentations. Teams tend to spend three to four days a week at a client's location, so it’s important for them to function efficiently and effectively. Your team will begin each engagement by establishing norms and monitor its lifestyle throughout the project using regular team barometer surveys.
  • Flexibility: A single program doesn’t fit everyone so we encourage our people to ask for what they need and we promote an environment of flexibility and respect. We offer a range of traditional flexibility models as well as Take Time, which allows consultants to take an extra five to ten weeks off each year between engagements. Some colleagues spend time with family, study, pursue a hobby or go on a dream trip. We also recently created the Pace program, which recognizes that not everyone wants to advance their career at the same speed and gives consultants more options to stay in their current role longer, while continuing to develop and be challenged professionally. The program gives participants greater control over their career progression by reducing the pressure to fulfill requirements for the next role. 
  • Mobility: We have more than 100 offices in more than 60 countries and we continue to expand. We’ve opened 15 locations in the last five years, nearly all of them in emerging markets. Our scale provides you with opportunities to work virtually anywhere in the world. While we use an office-driven staffing model, we will support you if you wish to work abroad – for a short time, long period, or permanently. You may also enroll in our Global Rotations program to explore two or three different offices six months at a time or participate in Engagement Managers to Emerging Markets, a program that facilitates permanent transfers to some of our newest locations.

The support and flexibility we provide will allow you to make our own McKinsey – to chart your own course, with a lot of control over how, when, where and with whom you work.  Learn moreon our Careers website.

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The best way to get to know McKinsey is through our people. You’ll find more than 9,000 of us working in more than 100 offices in 60 countries. We hold passports for more than 120 countries and speak more than 130 languages. We come from a variety of educational, professional, and cultural backgrounds. We are engineers, musicians, authors, entrepreneurs, surgeons, PhDs, military veterans, scientists, and Olympians.  We are passionate about tackling challenges together. We love to learn and grow and we need to have positive impact on the world around us.

We hope reading our stories will energize you – as you learn who we are, why we joined McKinsey, and what inspires us. And we hope that one day you will add your story to ours.

​As stimulating as McKinsey is, people do leave and we are proud of what they go on to achieve as global leaders. Our nearly 30,000 alumni are making a difference in virtually every sector and geography. More than 300 are CEOs of companies with revenues north of $1 billion. One in four have started their own ventures (including ZocDoc, Teach First, Ethos Water, and Shopkick). We work to sustain the connection between our alumni community and current colleagues by hosting formal events and fostering informal networking. The strength of these relationships is a lasting benefit of a McKinsey career.​​ Learn more about our alumni.

In more than 100 offices in more than 60 countries, you’ll find the people of McKinsey and see the true spirit of our firm. You’ll see the diversity of our people and our work. You’ll see people putting their client’s interests ahead of their own and helping each other grow, develop, and succeed.

Our values have been at the heart of everything we do since we were founded in 1926. They have been updated in small ways to reflect changing times, but they continue to inform our strategy and guide our daily interactions. We celebrate them daily, and even set aside a day a year to reflect on their meaning and impact as a group. Learn more about our values.

Diversity and inclusion, in particular, is a part of who we are and what we respect. As you get to know us, you’ll see we are women and men, individuals with disabilities, straight and gay, single and married, with biological kids, adopted kids, and foster kids. We represent every race, gender identity, and religion you can imagine. We are nanotechnologists and novelists, engineers and educators, analysts and app developers, mathematicians, and military veterans. We are all different and that is our strength.

Learn more about our diversity and inclusion networks

Follow our women’s blog.

Read our latest research on diversity and gender equality.

As we talk to potential candidates about starting their career at McKinsey, we find several questions come up frequently. Maybe you share them.

1. What will I do on a daily basis as a consultant at McKinsey?

This question is always hard to answer because we do so many things. There are a few constants: you’ll work in teams with clients and McKinsey colleagues to tackle tough challenges. On one project you may build an analytical models to estimate the impact of the changes you’re proposing; during the next, you may interview clients about their organizational processes and procedures. You’ll collaborate closely with your clients to synthesize your findings and develop recommendations for improvements that are implementable and sustainable.

Perhaps, the best way we can describe life as a consultant is the share examples of the days of our colleagues through our careers blog

2. How will I be assigned to projects?

We use a local office-driven staffing model. That means our default is to assign you to engagements led by leadership in your home office. This is important because it helps you to create a great network, starting with colleagues in your location.

Where we differ from other organizations is that we provide you with access to client engagements all over your country and the world. At McKinsey, you will have a great deal of input about the engagements on which you work. You’ll work with your professional development manager to prioritize the dimensions of an engagement (location, industry, team, etc.) that are most important to you. It may be to work close to home, with a certain team or partner, or in a particular industry – and which factors you prioritize may shift over time, client by client. Our scale makes it so that we can staff you according to what fits you best, helps you grow and aligns with your priorities.

3. What does McKinsey look for in its applicants?

The best piece of advice we can give you is to be yourself and show us who you are. Tell us what you’re interested in and be ready with examples of how you’ve solved problems and created impact.

There’s no mold or typical profile here. Our managing director, Dominic Barton, was a Rhodes Scholar who earned his MPhil in Economics at Oxford University before starting his career as a currency analyst at Rothschild. The global head of recruiting, Brian Rolfes, was a former human rights lawyer who joined McKinsey 20 years ago and is now one of the global leaders of diversity within the firm. We seek the best talent and encourage diversity in interests, age, gender, sexual orientation, leadership style, education and culture.

We do look for certain attributes in our colleagues, including:

  • Passion, dedication and energy that generate impact
  • Commitment to high standards and core values
  • An entrepreneurial spirit
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership and teamwork abilities

Learn more about what we look for.

Don’t miss our interview tips videos.

4. Should I apply as a generalist or a specialist?

The answer depends on you – there’s no right or wrong way to go. We see a good number of students identifying core interests – technology, operations, etc. – early on.  If you have industry experience or are interested in a certain area, you may choose to specialize early. Joining our Business Technology Office, Operations practice, Marketing & Sales practice, or McKinsey Implementation, for example, just gives you more time to do what you love. You’ll also receive preferred staffing on practice-sponsored engagements and dedicated professional development and mentorship.

If you’re not quite sure what you want to do, join as a generalist. You’ll have plenty of time to explore and find your true passion.

Either way – generalist or specialist – you’ll receive all of the benefits McKinsey has to offer. You’ll work on world-shaping challenges, receive the support and apprenticeship of supportive colleagues, and attend the same training sessions.

Learn more.

5. How should I chose which location to apply to?

We encourage you to consider two things: where you want to live and what type of work you want to do. Pick a place where you have a community (family, friends) and can see yourself living for the long term. McKinsey offers many options for mobility throughout your career, but you’ll invest time building a network in your home office from day one. Also, the work we do varies some by geography; if you’re passionate about a particular type of work and want to minimize your travel, you should preference locations that focus on serving clients in the industry or function about which you’re most passionate.

All of our offices seek candidates with the same skills and capabilities. Your location preferences help us to make sure the appropriate offices are aware of your interest. If you are interested in multiple locations, please list them all; if you are truly agnostic about location, you may also indicate that on the application.

Learn more.


For more information and answers to additional questions you may have, please visit our Careers website and our Facebook page, Real Life at McKinsey.

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    Pros

    Classy, top notch place to work. You feel like you're in with the good guys, and the smart guys - if not the cool guys. Fantastic place to learn the toolkit - you will use it for the rest of your career. Analyst --> early EM is a no brainer since you are learning a ton.

    Cons

    Like all very strong cultures, it is a bit cultish. You have to unlearn things if you stay too long, because the real world doesnt work like McKinsey. When you stay past EM, you're learning the McKinsey internals - which are less relevant in industry. Up o

    Advice to Management

    Up or out makes a lot of sense..but do you gain from losing top perfomers who are burnt out? Isnt it better to nurture them a bit to help them find their footing?


McKinsey & Company Interviews

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    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at McKinsey & Company (San Francisco, CA) in April 2015.

    Interview

    Process took 3 months. This was due to my schedule and theirs. Throughout the entire process, McKinsey was amazing. Very professional, very thorough. 50% was case and 50% was personal experience. They truly are trying to find a reason to hire you, not a reason to deny you. Very refreshing versus most other companies. Two critical pieces of advice for applicants. #1, if you can afford it, practice with former McKinsey consultants. I did this through evisors.com, but there are a number of other sites you can find people as well. If you practice with students or people who haven't been offered the job, it is essentially the blind leading the blind. I paid for around 10 practice sessions and it made all the difference in the world. #2, practice your math skills on caseinterviewmath.com. I absolutely loved how fast and easy this site was. None of the math you are being tested on is too difficult, but speed and accuracy do matter. The format of this site is laser focused on those two factors and it helped me tremendously. There are a number of other resources I leveraged (books, alumni, networking, LOMS, etc.). I just found the two above the most helpful and the least talked about online. Good luck!

    Interview Questions

    • In every single interview I was asked a version of, "tell me about a time you took on a leadership role". This was in the initial phone screen all the way up to the partner interviews. The cases are what you would expect. Most were profitability cases, but some were a little more unique. Two of my four partner interviews did not include a case. I don't think that is normal, but that was my experience.   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    The only part they negotiate is the sign-on bonus.

McKinsey & Company Awards & Accolades

Something missing? Add an award
"Triple Crown" Achievement: Ranked First in all Three Regions Surveyed , Vault Consulting 50, 2014
The Best Consulting Firms: Prestige in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific , Vault, 2015
Top 10 Most inDemand Employers in North America , LinkedIn, 2014
100 Best Companies for Working Parents , Working Mother, 2014
Perfect score of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index , The Human Rights Campaign, 2015
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Additional Info

Website www.mckinsey.com
Headquarters New York, NY
Size 5000+ Employees
Founded 1926
Type Company - Private
Industry Business Services

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm that serves private and public companies, governments, not-for-profits and non-governmental organizations. We have 30 industry and functional practices and six new client service areas, including McKinsey Solutions and McKinsey Implementation. Our more than 9,000 consultants and 2,000 knowledge professionals ... More

Mission: Our mission is two-fold: to help our clients make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements in their performance and to build a great firm that attracts, develops, excites, and retains exceptional people. These two tenets are reinforcing. Helping clients solve their toughest problems requires the best people, and the best people are drawn to opportunities to work on challenging problems. This mission inspires our people to approach their work with entrepreneurial energy and passion.

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