2021 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#12
At a Glance
“The amazing and talented people.”
“The never-ending opportunities.”
“Inspiring work and incredible impact.”
“Pressure to deliver.”
"Ruthless pace of work.”
“Potential for burnout.”
“Arguably the best consulting firm.”
“Leader of their industry.”
“The Harvard of consulting firms.”
About McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company is a privately owned management consulting firm. Roundly considered the most prestigious company of its kind, it has achieved a near-universal level of renown, despite a decades-long commitment to confidentiality that shrouds details of McKinsey’s work-and its client list-in secrecy. In its practice areas, it addresses strategic, organizational, operational and technological issues, always with a focus of doing what is right for the client's business, not what is best for McKinsey's bottom line.
The range of those specialties encompasses everything from commodities and natural resources to media, entertainment, and high tech. While it doesn't share the names of its clients, the firm does claim to serve roughly 90 of the top-100 corporations worldwide and more than 80 of the 100 largest U.S.-based companies. On the public/social sector side, McKinsey has completed over 5,000 projects for social-sector organizations (foundations and nonprofits), local, regional, national, and international governments and public-sector bodies over the last five years.
The early days
In 1926, James O. McKinsey, founded the business to give local companies financial and accounting advice. Before long, he realized that clients' financial data could be interpreted to help make better management decisions. Thanks to this innovation, McKinsey is credited with the idea of using consultants, or "management engineers", for the first time. Although the firm is his namesake, it was one of his protégés, Marvin Bower, who is most remembered for shaping the direction of the firm.
Most notably, Bower is known for molding the McKinsey culture, mainly through a three-part code of conduct outlining certain ideals consultants were to uphold—something that remains in place today. Among these values are putting client interests ahead of those of the firm, giving superior service and maintaining the highest ethical standards. Bower, who joined the firm in 1933 and later served as managing director, first articulated the consultant's obligation to advocate for what he or she believes to be true.
Degrees of success
McKinsey’s historic reputation for concentrating hiring efforts on recent MBAs from top schools—becoming the MBA employer of choice—still persists, though it does not reflect the realities of the firm's modern composition. Not because MBA students no longer want to work for the firm, but because McKinsey seeks exceptional people, regardless of where that talent may be. JDs, MDs and PhDs are just as likely to be found wandering McKinsey’s halls as B-school grads or undergrads. As McKinsey's client needs have evolved, it also hires more specialized and experienced profiles such as people with change management expertise or digital design and development experience.
Those who choose to move beyond the firm—regardless of their tenure when they depart—tend to have a better-than-average chance of finding success. Nearly a quarter of the firm's former consultants have gone on to found their own businesses – more than 20 of which have become unicorns ($1 billion+ valuation) – while 500+ alumni are leading $1 billion enterprises worldwide, including almost 50 leaders in equivalent public and social sector organizations.
As a single, global entity, McKinsey has no headquarters office. Instead, the firm operates what it calls a "one-firm" partnership model, with offices across the world sharing values and cultural norms. This allows the firm to assemble teams of experts in ways that best serve their clients. Consultants are attached to a particular office and quickly build a local community, and they also work with colleagues from other locations. Individuals may choose to transfer to other offices for engagements or for the long term.
The firm is committed to social impact and uses its intellectual, financial and convening power to help address issues such as disease, poverty, climate change, and natural disasters. The firm invests its resources in research on topics such as education, and in extensive pro bono and volunteer work. It recently published its Social Responsibility Report, to capture in one place some of the ways it strives to have a broader impact on society.
The firm also invests to advance an understanding of resource productivity issues, including carbon abatement. As of 2018, McKinsey is carbon neutral and achieved Climate Neutral Company status, certified by South Pole.
Through McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the firm publishes research on pressing socio-economic issues which it hopes helps to build a better society by providing business and political leaders with the insights they need to make good decisions.
During this uncertain time, McKinsey has taken a through cycle approach, meaning we have continued recruiting and haven’t made major changes to our hiring approach. We honored the extended offers we had made in Spring 2020 when much of the pandemic shutdowns occurred, including for our graduate hires and summer interns. We anticipate that - in 2021 - we will hire the largest incoming class in McKinsey’s history.
The health and safety of our people is obviously our top concern so we made internships and onboarding virtual. We are fortunate to have the technology and flexibility to move recruiting events and other aspects to a virtual format as needed. By end of 2020, we hosted ~1k virtual recruiting events and ~20k virtual interviews in 2020.
In addition, many of our people have worked from home occasionally or regularly in the past so we were not interrupted by stay at home rules around the world. All colleagues have access to support, including a free, confidential 24/7 Colleague Support Center, CoachNow, to get coaching sessions by phone or VC, our Mind Matters intranet site to help colleagues and their families with mental health support, and all firm colleagues have free Headspace Plus accounts.
In terms of client work, it’s fair to say our clients have never needed us more and we’re having important conversations with our senior-most clients about how they protect their people, their customers and their business. This means McKinsey can provide our people with the same incredible career and networking opportunities we’re known for.
In the News
Women in the Workplace
A comprehensive study by McKinsey and Lean In that suggests many women—especially mothers, senior level women and Black women—have faced challenges and may take a step back or away from jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without bold steps, companies can erase all the progress they’ve made toward gender diversity over the last six years. But if companies take action, they can lay the foundation for a more flexible and equitable workplace.
December 10, 2020
COVID-19 has revived the social contract in advanced economies—for now. What will stick once the crisis abates?
This article updates a major report analyzing changes in the social contract in 22 OECD countries published by the McKinsey Global Institute prior to the pandemic. The article takes stock of what has happened since COVID-19 swept the globe in March, looking both at public and private sector intervention, and explores how the situation may evolve in the longer term, once the pandemic recedes. In short, the spending has reversed years of institutional pull-back for individuals in their roles as workers, consumers, and savers, the research finds. The critical question now is whether the pendulum will swing back just as sharply once the COVID-19 crisis abates, or whether at least some of the intervention and innovation will remain as permanent features of a renewed social contract.
What’s next for remote work: An analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries
The pandemic has drastically changed the model of work for many companies. This research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) takes a deeper look into more than 2,000 activities to identify which activities can be done from home and to analyze the staying power of remote work. The study found that hybrid models of remote work are likely to persist in the wake of the pandemic, mostly for a highly educated, well-paid minority of the workforce. But more than half the workforce, however, has little or no opportunity for remote work.
Climate risk and response in Asia
Asia is on the frontline of a changing climate. This report analyzes the extent of climate risk facing the region and effective responses for adaptation and mitigation. Asia is well-positioned to address these challenges and capture opportunities that come from effectively managing climate change. China and Japan are leading the world in technologies that are necessary to adapt and mitigate risk.
August 6, 2020
Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains
This McKinsey Global Institute report explores the rebalancing act facing many companies in goods-producing value chains as they seek to get a handle on risk—not ongoing business challenges but more profound shocks such as financial crises, terrorism, extreme weather, and, yes, pandemics. It systematically assesses a full range of risks, the exposure of 23 major industries, common vulnerabilities, and the strategies for mitigating them. It finds that Shocks are becoming more frequent and severe. Companies can expect a month-long disruption to occur every 3.7 years on average, which could erase some 40 percent of a year’s earning over the course of a decade.
June 25, 2020
McKinsey Quarterly, LGBTQ+ voices: Learning from lived experiences
New global research published by McKinsey reveals the challenges still facing LGBTQ+ employees at work, as well as six ways to help them bring their authentic selves to work. In this article, we share what we have learned about the challenges that employees face, including firsthand accounts and reflections from LGBTQ+ people about their work lives and environments. Listening and learning from lived experiences is the first step business leaders must take if they want to create fairer workplaces.
55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 446-7000
Employer Type: Private
Global Managing Director: Kevin Sneader
2020 Employees (All Locations): 30,000
130+ offices in more than 65 countries
Functional Practice Areas
Marketing & Sales
Strategy & Corporate Finance
Aerospace & Defense
Automotive & Assembly
Consumer Packaged Goods
Electric Power & Natural Gas
Healthcare Systems & Services
Metals & Mining
Oil & Gas
Paper, Forest Products & Packaging
Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products
Private Equity & Principal Investors
Public & Social Sector
Technology, Media & Telecommunications
Travel, Logistics & Transport Infrastructure