McKinsey Careers

by Victor Cheng

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If you pursue one of the many McKinsey careers available to both beginning and experienced consultants, you will become part of one of the oldest firms in the field.  McKinsey was established some 80 years ago, all the way back in that golden age of American business, the “Roaring Twenties.”  Many in fact credit the privately-held company with doing much to develop the whole modern concept of professional management consultancy.

Today, McKinsey offers its services to thousands of clients in the private and public sector, profit and non-profit.   They include more than 70 percent of the instantly recognizable names on Fortune magazine’s list of most admired companies, 80 percent of the 100 biggest U.S.-based companies and 90 percent of the top 100 corporations worldwide.  The governments and agencies of more than 35 countries also call on McKinsey’s state of the art analytical skills.

McKinsey careers are a way of life for some 16,000 employees in 95 offices in over fifty countries in every corner of the globe.  One way or the other, it is not an exaggeration to say that McKinsey careers touch the lives of most people on earth.

If you graduate from college with a BA or an MA, you can immediately embark on a career path at McKinsey.  The specific steps are:

* Business Analyst

Though it’s the entry level at McKinsey, Business analysts are expected to contribute to the “engagement” to which they are assigned.  Many who start at this level proceed to the next step or leave McKinsey to pursue an MBA and return at the next level.

* Associate

Associates make recommendations as they work with senior leaders.  At this level, McKinsey employees select an area of specialization.

* Engagement Manager

At this level of McKinsey careers, you are the center of the team handling any particular engagement, and the main contact with the client.  You are also expected to be a major source of expertise in a particular industry or function.

* Associate Principal

This elected position is considered a “partner-in-training.”  Associate principals juggle more than one engagement and are leaders of their teams.  If you came to McKinsey with an MBA, you become an associate principal after serving as a specialist and then an expert in an industry or business.

* Partner

If you begin your career at McKinsey, you can expect to be elected to the first stage of a partnership in five to seven years.  The greater your professional experience, the sooner you can reach this level.

* Director

The most senior position at McKinsey, you might be elected director come seven years after you are made partner.  These leaders create the opportunities for those taking their first steps along the career path.

 

McKinsey careers fall into areas of specialization that the consulting empire refers to as “practices.”  Eighteen of those practices are devoted to management consulting in specific industries:

Automotive & Assembly

McKinsey careers in this practice will have you counseling clients around the world in every stage of the manufacturing of nearly every kind of vehicle produced by the industry.  You might also focus on one of the subdivisions of this practice, like Automotive OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), Automotive Suppliers and the Machinery Industry.

Chemicals

In the past five years, this practice has drawn on the talents of 200 McKinsey consultants tackling more than 900 assignments in the chemical industry, from petrochemicals to chemicals used for agricultural, electronics and water treatment.  McKinsey careers in this practice focus on Operations Improvement, Organizational Design, Profitable Growth, and Strategy.

Consumer Packaged Goods

Companies that produce food, beverages, durable goods, personal care, paper and household products companies all turn to McKinsey consultants for their insights, as do European manufacturers of textile and luxury goods.  Corporate Strategy, Customer Management, Marketing, Operations, Organization are all concerns for this practice.

Electric Power & Natural Gas

McKinsey careers in this vital and growing sector of the world economy concentrate on Capital Markets, Generation & Wholesale Trading, Infrastructure Businesses, Market Analysis, Retail Energy Services brick-and-mortar and dotcom sectors, and the challenges and opportunities of New Technologies.

Financial Services

Nine areas of concentration are the purview of McKinsey Careers in this practice: Consumer & Small Business Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, Life & Wealth Management, Marketing & Distribution, Operations & Technology, Organization, Payments, Property & Casualty Insurance and Risk.

Healthcare Payor and Provider

You could be one of the 500 consultants with McKinsey careers in this practice.  McKinsey has guided governments around the world — including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Singapore, and the Middle East — as they sought to improve the delivery of healthcare to their citizens.  Concentrations within this practice are Health Systems, Payors, and Providers & Hospitals.

High Tech

Specific experience in high tech industries or an understanding of more general business challenges like supply chains or human resources are both a good background for McKinsey careers in this practice, which must deal with the high pressure of a constant stream of new products with short life cycles.

Media & Entertainment

Every expression of modern media, from world straddling communications empires to your local community newspaper is the bailiwick of this practice.  McKinsey careers for those with entertainment experience or aptitude include consulting in Acquisition Planning, Due Diligence and Post-Merger Integration, Advertising Sales, Corporate Strategy, International Markets, Lean Operations, New Products and Innovation, Pricing, Retail Distribution, Subscription Revenue & Customer Retention and Technology Strategy.

Metals & Mining

From digging it to selling it, McKinsey consultants in this practice serve their clients with their expert insights into Commercial Transformation, Operational Improvement, Organizational Effectiveness and Transformation Strategy.

Oil & Gas

On an energy hungry planet, the most important oil companies and oil producing nations come to McKinsey consultants for their expertise in Accessing Upstream Growth at Attractive Returns, Changing Refined-Product Markets, Commercial Sales & Marketing, Maximizing Value from Legacy Positions, National Oil Company Performance, Refining, Retail Marketing, and Winning in the Global Gas Market.

Pharmaceuticals & Medical Products

McKinsey careers in this practice focus on the strategic, competitive, and operational issues related to everything from headache pills to heart-saving devices.  You could be a consultant in areas as diverse as Animal Health, Biotechnology, Medical Products & Diagnostics, Over-the-Counter Medicines, and Prescription Pharmaceuticals.

Private Equity

Consultants in this practice work with more than 200 investors — including 19 of the Top 20 private equity firms.  Perhaps you’ll qualify for one of the McKinsey careers in Strategy, Organization, Risk, and Operations or Investment Support or Portfolio Company Performance.

Public Sector

The same expertise McKinsey consultants bring to the business world can make the delivery of services by government agencies and other public institutions more productive and cost efficient.  In this practice, you can choose among McKinsey careers in Defense & Security, Economic Development, Health, Operations, Organization, Public Finance, or Strategy.

Pulp & Paper/Forest Products

Companies that create the products of the forest and the materials and equipment used to fashion paper turn to McKinsey management consultants for their advice on Marketing, Organization, Productivity, and Strategy.

Retail

More than half of the top hundred retailers on the planet turn to McKinsey management consultants for their advice on Format Strategy & Renewal, Lean Retailing, Marketing & Customer Experience, Merchandising & Category Management, Multichannel, Organization, Pricing & Promotions, Retail Technology, Sourcing & Supplier Management and Strategy & Growth.

Social Sector

McKinsey careers can also give you the opportunity to use your talents to promote the work of some of the world’s leading non-profit organizations, as you advise them on Economic Development, Education, Global Public Health, Philanthropy and Sustainability.

Telecommunications

In this hugely competitive industry, McKinsey consultants are valued for their input on broader issues like capital investment and cost reduction and their specific expertise in Integrated Wireline Carriers, ISPs, Portals & E-commerce, New Ventures, Software & Services, and Wireless Service Providers.

Travel, Transport & Logistics

McKinsey consultants in this practice keep people and packages on the move as they assist clients with their knowledge to the challenges of Air Transportation & Travel,  Logistics,  Postal, Express & Parcel Services, Rail & Public Transport and Shipping & Ports.

 

In addition to the Industrial practices, McKinsey has seven functional practices that are devoted to the basic issues that effect every business or organization.

Business Technology Office

McKinsey management consultants in this practice combine an understanding of how technology is transforming the business world as well as the world at large with a strong strategy, operations and organization savvy.

Marketing & Sales

McKinsey careers in this practice are for those with a sophisticated understanding of how consumers make their purchasing decisions with a feel for the emerging world of “digital leadership.”  The top 20 global brands all come to McKinsey consultants for their insights into Branding, Consumer & Shopper Insights, Customer Lifecycle Management, Digital Marketing, Marketing Return on Investment, Organization & Capabilities, Pricing, Sales & Channel Management.

Operations

One of the newer practices (it was launched in 1997), McKinsey consultants in this group work with clients to diagnose operational problems and implement solutions in Capital Productivity, Manufacturing, Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Management, Service Operations, Supply-Chain Management.

Organization

McKinsey consultants bring analytical smarts and a sound grounding in business imperatives to help their clients achieve restructuring that bolsters short-term results and long-term viability.  Merger Management, Organization Design, Talent & Leadership, Transformational Change are the concerns of McKinsey careers in this practice.

Risk

McKinsey careers in this highly cross-functional practice will have you working with the financial services, energy, and materials sectors.  The 250 risk consultants apply their skills to the problems of Business & Commercial Risk Management, Financial Risk Management, Operational & Reputational Risk, Organization & Governance, Regulatory Risk and Compliance and Strategic & Enterprise Risk Management.

Strategy

Help McKinsey clients plot a course toward their long-term objectives while avoiding the obstacles of risk as you offer your expertise in Business-Unit Strategy, Corporate Strategy, Growth, Innovation, Sociopolitical & Regulatory Strategy, Strategic Management, and Strategy Under Uncertainty/Scenario Planning.

McKinsey actively recruits women, Hispanics and African-Americans.  McKinsey careers are as limitless as the talent and commitment of its team members.

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