Sponsor Spotlight Q&A With
What will I do starting in your industry/your organization?
Whether your interests lie in advising clients across industries, expanding our clients’ digital and analytical capabilities, or supporting the firm’s operations, every individual at McKinsey plays an important role in our collective success.
The key to our client service is a combination of our people, rigorous problem solving, industry and functional expertise, and the tools to support execution and make change happen.
There is so much for new joiners to learn and that is a great opportunity as well as a challenge. Because there is so much to learn, we created Embark, which is our new joiner orientation where people learn about consulting at McKinsey, client service and start to build their network of colleagues and friends. We advise new joiners to think about how they would like to explore. Is there an industry you are interested in, a country you’d like to work in, a skill you’d like to learn? McKinsey’s scope and scale is a huge advantage because no matter what someone wants to learn we likely have experts in it and room for you to explore. We tell people not to be shy in thinking about making their own McKinsey because it’s all waiting for you.
Our summer intern program is especially successful as we make sure our interns have a substantial role on their client teams so they really get a glimpse into what being a consultant is like, how they can grow, and the people they will work with on their teams, in their offices and at their clients.
What does your organization / industry in general look for in new hires/students from MBA programs?
Candidates often know problem solving is a focus of a McKinsey interview and recruiting experience. That is quite important and solving problems is core to being a good consultant. We, however, focus just as much on candidates’ abilities around teamwork, collaboration, mentoring and leadership so we encourage people to share stories of those skills with us. Consulting is essentially a people business, so we need our consultants to be great with teams, with clients, with the day-to-day of working together.
We always want the best business minds to become our associates, but in the last decade, our reach as a global firm has expanded. We are in more locations (120+), in more countries (60+) and in more areas outside of traditional generalist consulting like digital, implementation, design, big data, software engineering. This expansion means we’ve increased the educational and experiential backgrounds we look for and there are an increasing number of opportunities at and entry points into McKinsey. If you peruse our job search, you’ll find hundreds of roles from Associate to Digital Marketing Expert to Data Architect.
Tell me about how much flexibility I’ll have in creating my career path? (For example, is there a set path, is it entrepreneurial, many options, few paths?)
People with MBAs or other advanced professional degrees (JD, MD, PhD, or nonbusiness master's degree) typically join as associates. Most consultants join initially as generalists, working across a broad range of industries and functions. Others join as practice consultants, working primarily in a particular function or sector.
In addition to traditional consulting roles, McKinsey provides excellent career opportunities in areas such as implementation, digital, analytics, or research roles, just to name a few. Clients are increasingly asking for specialized support and insight. To meet this growing need, we have developed new capabilities and expertise in project implementation, restructuring, capability building, and digital transformation that allow us to partner with our clients to deliver impact over longer periods of time. Detailed information can be found on our Careers site.
People who join have the freedom to shape their careers, try new things, learn new skills and consistently grow. To get the most out of it, you should plan to:
Explore – take advantage of the scope and scale of McKinsey and try new things, change locations, discover a new interest. This is a place where there’s always something new to do or build so do it. Be open-minded.
Meet people – the McKinsey community is incredible… we have experts in any industry you can think of so if there’s a topic you’re interested in reach out and learn from the incredible people around you. You will find mentors, cool colleagues, fun friends, great teammates.
Follow your interests – no matter how you want your career path to look you can realize that vision here. There’s not one path, there are thousands so be open to them and make your own McKinsey.
Is it possible in this job / industry to make a successful career work alongside other activities and interests such as hobbies or family life? How?
You work hard—and we want you to pursue what you love outside the office. Raise a family, travel for fun, write that novel or screenplay, or help your community: a career at McKinsey makes it possible and practical to pursue your working life and your life’s work. We offer a number of formal programs for to support families and colleagues who have passions outside of McKinsey.
Take Time is a consistently very popular program that allows consultants to take extra time off (typically 5-10 weeks per year beyond vacation time) between engagements for their personal interests and passions. It could be to do anything… spend time with family, study, write a book, learn a language, pursue a hobby or go on a dream trip. This model takes advantage of the project-based nature of consulting and helps consultants take additional time away so they can focus on other areas of their lives.
We enhanced parental leave in the US. All birth parents now receive 16 weeks of paid leave after birth (up from 12 weeks. All non-birth parents (e.g., fathers, non-birth mothers) now receive 8 weeks of paid parental leave (up from 2 weeks parental leave, plus an additional 2 weeks for primary caregivers). Adoptive parents and parents using a surrogate now receive 8 weeks of paid parental leave (same increase as for non-birth parents). We also improved support for breastfeeding moms. Our healthcare plan will now provide reimbursements for breast pumps and we fully cover breast milk shipping for firm members traveling for work in the U.S.
A newer initiative is the Pace program, which recognizes that not everyone wants to advance their career at the same speed and gives consultants more control over their career trajectory. While professional services traditionally used the ‘up or out’ model where people had to advance at a standard rate, McKinsey doesn’t adhere to that strict model and, again, recognizes that flexibility is key.
What kind of advice can you offer a new MBA admit who wants to work at your company? Tips for the process of landing an offer.
Your first stop should be our careers website, especially our Careers blog to read and sign up for a weekly newsletter to meet the people of McKinsey and hear about their journeys and lives. You should also check out our social channels, Real Life McKinsey FB, Instagram and LinkedIn.
We advise students to genuinely be themselves and ask the questions they really want answers to, those that will help them learn about consulting and McKinsey. McKinsey is interested in finding talented people who want to work on meaningful problems. We focus on personally getting to know candidates and offering them a lot of ways to get to know us.