Almost every budding consultant wants to work for McKinsey. It’s no secret that the firm sits atop the consulting world, and there are many reasons why.
But no firm is perfect, right? And why does everyone want to work at McKinsey, anyway? Why is it the gold standard of consulting firms?
Find out below as we break down the top 10 reasons to work for McKinsey, as well as 6 reasons not to.
Top 10 Reasons to Work for McKinsey
1. Exceptional People
What you’ll hear over and over again from McKinsey consultants are that the people are what make the job worthwhile. McKinsey has a rigorous recruiting process that usually results in the hiring of excellent consultants. In many cases, it will be your colleagues you learn the most from when you work for McKinsey.
2. Top Notch Clients
McKinsey enjoys a stellar track record with the world’s leading companies across all industries. Working with the best clients results not only in interesting work but also exposure across industries to of leading executives.
3. Challenging Projects
When you work for McKinsey, you are guaranteed to work on some of the largest and most challenging problems in the world. That entails some intense critical thinking and hard work but also a rewarding experience.
4. Professional Growth
There will be no shortage of professional learning opportunities when you work for McKinsey. From training programs to challenging workstreams, you will build excellent communication skills, develop leadership skills, and learn how to apply a thoughtful, structured approach to problem solving. And of course, a lot more!
5. Personal Growth
McKinsey consultants are known to work hard both in terms of number of hours and intensity. As a result, you will often be pushed to your limits, sometimes emotionally, at times mentally, and others even physically. Though it’s not always fun, getting through the challenging times will ultimately make you a stronger person and a well seasoned professional.
6. Strong Alumni Base
McKinsey alumni alone can make working for McKinsey worthwhile. Consultants who leave McKinsey end up in top leadership positions at the best firms across the world (and even end up being clients!). McKinsey does an excellent job maintaining strong relationships with these alumni, providing a lifelong network of outstanding individuals for every employee.
7. Excellent Exit Opportunities
McKinsey is one of the most well recognized brands in the world. Having the McKinsey name on your resume shows that you’re smart, can work hard, and have worked on challenging projects. You’ll have your pick in opportunities when you leave the firm in pursuit of the next step in your career.
8. Ongoing Mentorship and Training
Ongoing mentorship and training at McKinsey make the firm a great place to work. McKinsey places a great emphasis on continual learning and improvement for all employees. Mentorship programs – both formal and informal – provide excellent opportunities to learn. Of course, the firm also offers world-class training programs to accelerate skill development.
9. Opportunity to Develop a Specialty
Working at McKinsey can offer you an opportunity to explore various industries and types of problems in a way few other firms can. This provides you with the chance to find your passion that best matches to your skillset. Over time, you can develop a specialty that makes you a valued expert in a field.
10. Compensation and Perks
The compensation and perks at McKinsey are definitely a considerable benefit to joining the firm. Though you will have to put in the hours and earn your pay, you will enjoy an extremely competitive salary. You’ll also enjoy outstanding perks, such as free meals, first class air travel, and five star hotels.
6 Reasons Not to Work for McKinsey
1. The Work is Stressful
Working for McKinsey is not for the weak hearted. The firm places an incredible amount of responsibility on every consultant, regardless of level. Get ready to be pushed to your limits and expected to perform – otherwise, you will be pushed out.
Due to the large global nature of the firm, hierarchy and seniority exists within McKinsey. With this, comes internal politics. The better you are at networking with Managers and Partners, the better your chances of getting staffed on projects that you want. If you don’t want to deal with internal politics, McKinsey, and consulting in general, may not be for you.
3. Long Hours
You can’t work for one of the top firms on exciting projects without a strong work ethic. McKinsey consultants are known to be amongst the hardest working in the consulting industry, which is saying a lot. If you’re looking for a chill 40-hour workweek with no weekend work, McKinsey is not for you.
4. Lack of Implementation
The nature of work at McKinsey is strategy consulting. While the firm is rapidly building out its implementation capabilities, strategy is the firm’s bread and butter. As a result, the vast majority of your work will entail telling a client how and why to do something rather than actually implementing a solution. To some, this is great. To those who like to see the impact of their work, this can be frustrating.
5. Cultish Thinking
McKinsey consultants adhere to a certain style and way of thinking, and you are expected to assimilate into the culture. After a few years in the firm, you’ll start to see that almost everyone at the firm speaks the same language, buys the same stuff, and holds similar values. For the independent thinkers out there, McKinsey may be a great place to develop important skills for 2-3 years, but not much longer.
6. Lack of Creativity
Though you are definitely challenged and exposed to interesting business problems at McKinsey, there is not as much creativity within the firm compared to fields like entrepreneurship. You won’t be thinking of new product ideas or creating service offerings from scratch at McKinsey. If those are the things that most excite you, a McKinsey consulting career won’t be as enjoyable for you.
McKinsey & Company is one of the most sought after consulting firms in all of management consulting. Having the brand-name on your resume never works, but depending on your long-term career goals, a stop at McKinsey may not be necessary. Want to weigh your options with us? Book a Power Half Hour today.