McKinsey & Company
A ruthless culture of high performance
Arguably the most prestigious of the MBB and of the consulting world in general, McKinsey hires are known to be cream of the crop and decorated with countless academic accolades, qualifications and extensive extra-curricular activities. There is a saying that goes around the MBB water cooler, where McKinsey, BCG and Bain are known as the “Vainies, Brainies and Bainees” (respectively). Whilst stereotypes are often an exaggeration and must be taken with a grain of salt, there is some truth in McKinsey consultants being of a certain “type”. Ambitious, competitive and type A are just some of the terms that come to mind, and why wouldn’t you be, as long as you are flying that McKinsey flag?
McKinsey works across the spectrum of industries, including government work (last we heard, they have been advising the government on COVID strategy). Regardless of the sector, it’s safe to say that the projects McKinsey are mandated on are usually quite complex, challenging and interesting. This comes hand in hand with the reputation and prestige of the company, and it is widely acknowledged that they do outshine Bain and BCG in this respect. The alumni coming out of McKinsey is impressive and you will be sure that your exit opportunities will be plentiful.
Whats the catch? The hours. As a McKinsey consultant, you are expect to be the best in the field, and clients pay through the roof for this. This means long hours (typically 9am – 11pm), high quality work and being responsive to clients whatever the hour or day, no matter the timezone. In fact, McKinsey does not offer any protected weekends, which essentially means you will be expected to / are very likely to work 7 days a week during busy periods. Combined with the personalities that McKinsey often attracts, this creates a ruthless culture that demands constant results.
McKinsey takes performance seriously and will reward its star performers, with faster promotion timelines than their competitors (which effectively means better compensation) and all the office perks you would expect. What more can you ask for a generous free breakfast and lunch? We’ve also heard that a sweet perk is you won’t fly coach here with business class travel (post-COVID) being the norm. The flip side of this is that underperformers meet their demise quite quickly and the company is not shy about shedding its consultants who do not pull their weight.
Despite all this, McKinsey offers the perfect breeding ground for excellent businessmen and businesswomen. An environment of highly intelligent individuals being at the forefront of trying to solve corporate Australia’s most complex problems just means excellent training and experience for those who can survive (and thrive).9am