McKinsey & Company

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39 people found this helpful  

Excellent early training in business communication; less excellent training in business thinking

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Former Employee - Associate/EM in New York, NY
Former Employee - Associate/EM in New York, NY

I worked at McKinsey & Company

Pros

I began my career at McKinsey and was proud to work there. The pay was far better than I would have gotten as a Ph.D. (no comparison, really), and I liked the prestige of the role.

Business has its own language, and McKinsey is probably the best company in the world to learn how to speak it. There's an idiom to how to disagree, introduce controversial ideas, solicit opinion, etc., and your time at McKinsey is like an immersion class. This will serve you well in any kind of business career.

Also, the lifestyle and perks are considerably better than most of the corporate world. McKinsey people are always enviously comparing themselves to finance people, so they feel underpaid and overworked, but in fact you get a huge amount of administrative support, travel very comfortably, and generally live on a rich expense account. It's only having left the firm that I see how whiny and spoiled people are who complain about those things.

Cons

While the communication training is exemplary, the thinking is far less so. McKinsey trains you to think in terms of impressive powerpoint exhibits that show a great deal of "analysis" was done to justify the enormous billings. That doesn't mean that the presentations are literally dishonest or cynical; rather, it's that the goal is always "impressing the client," rather than actually making a substantive difference or arriving at a rigorous conclusion. That's the dominant axis by which you advance in the firm, so it's inevitable. The problem is that this advice is often bland, superficial, and uninformed by the realities of operating a business, which the vast majority of McKinsey consultants (including the most senior partnership) have never done. Countless times I toiled over (and delivered) presentations that pieced together a few inconclusive scraps of information into a conclusion that felt completely pre-determined. Again, this is a skill worth having in business and life, since persuasion is so important even when the facts are scarce. But it got to feel ridiculous at times at McKinsey, I must say.

Also, an oft-repeated observation bears restating: McKinsey consultants are unbearably arrogant. I mean, really obnoxiously, cloyingly, patronizingly arrogant. I've interacted with many since my time there, and I shudder to think that I used to behave and speak that way.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Work on the arrogance, please.

Recommends
No opinion of CEO

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Have a fun time - but work/life balance is hard

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Principal in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Associate Principal in Atlanta, GA

    I have been working at McKinsey & Company

    Pros

    Fantastic set of people, the most challenging problems, and an ability to define your own career path. Good benefits as well.

    Cons

    Very tough to maintain a reasonable work / life balance while working at McKinsey. It is a very demanding environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more thoughtful about (a) promoting sustainable lifestyles (b) reducing the amount of waste in work that is completed by the teams.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Fulflling

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior IT Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior IT Engineer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at McKinsey & Company

    Pros

    Space is allow to be creative and innovative beyond the standard business practices. There is active support for new ideas.

    Cons

    It has grown too large, too global. Face time is diminishing. Opportunities to spot potential in people is thus lower. In the same way, opportunities to spot bad apples is also lowered.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go back to smaller offices or groups. Make sure all Firm members have the max opportunity for face to face interactions with the leaders of the Firm.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
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