Why McKinsey & Company Loves Hiring MBAs

mckinsey hiring mba

McKinsey & Company is considered one of the most prestigious management consultancy firms in the world, with a clientele that includes 80 percent of the world’s largest corporations, along with an extensive list of governments and non-profit organisations. The firm is also a prestigious landing spot for MBAs following graduation.

About McKinsey

Founded in 1926 by James O. McKinsey, the firm developed an “up or out” policy, where consultants who are not promoted are asked to leave, developed by Marvin Bower. He served as managing director of McKinsey from 1950 to 1967, and remained a leadership figure at the firm as director and partner until 1992. McKinsey was the first management consultancy to hire recent college graduates, rather than experienced managers — a practice that holds true to this day.

Who McKinsey Hires

McKinsey cites four main factors it looks for in the job candidate it hires:

  • Personal impact
  • Entrepreneurial drive
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership abilities

In an interview with CNN Money, Brian Rolfes, McKinsey partner and head of global recruiting, added, “Two qualities we look for as we recruit are problem solving and the ability to work well in teams. These are at the heart of what our consultants do every day.”

In fact, McKinsey views business schools—and particularly the very top business schools—as the ideal training ground for its consultants. The frim believes that the business knowledge MBAs come in with can prove invaluable to solving client problems, and that’s why the firms sees so much value in hiring MBAs. According to McKinsey:

“Your MBA program prepares you as a problem solver—developing hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations. You’re intellectually curious, asking and answering questions others don’t, and testing solutions others haven’t thought of trying.”

Salary Expectations for MBAs at McKinsey

As we reported in our March highlight on the “5 Highest Paying Consulting Firms in the World,” McKinsey came in second place overall.

“According to Management Consulted data, McKinsey & Company is the second-highest paying consulting firm in the world for MBA grads, with offered base salaries coming in at $152,000. With an added potential performance bonus of $35,000, those figures can rise to $187,500 in just one year.”

McKinsey Emerging Scholars Program

About 50 percent of the McKinsey’s incoming consultant hires have earned MBAs. However, students at certain business schools can get an inside track at a job at McKinsey before they earn their MBA by taking advantage of a unique pre-MBA opportunity called the Emerging Scholars Program.

McKinsey looks for pre-MBA students over the summer and offers monetary awards for the highest performing applicants. The program also offers one-on-one mentorship by McKinsey consultants and valuable networking opportunities to its scholars.

The program is only available to students admitted to a full-time MBA program beginning in the fall at one of the 16 participating schools: UC Berkeley’s Haas School, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, UCLA Anderson School, Michigan’s Ross School of Business, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Columbia Business School, NYU Stern School of Business, Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Dartmouth’s Tuck School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, UVA’s Darden School of Business, Harvard Business School and Yale School of Management.

The Emerging Scholars program is limited to students entering full-time programs only. Dual-degree program students are eligible to apply, and McKinsey encourages that they do so the spring before they begin the first year of their MBA program (e.g. MD/MBA, JD/MBA). Those students currently living outside of the U.S. are also welcome to apply.

Associate Internship Opportunities

MBA graduates usually enter McKinsey as an associate, working either as a generalist or as a practice consultant if they have a particular area they want to focus on. Coming into McKinsey as an associate intern is the best path to securing a full-time position post-MBA.

According to McKinsey, current MBAs can apply to work in one of McKinsey’s offices around the globe for eight to 10 weeks as an associate intern. Most associate internships take place in the summer between the first and second years of business school. Interns work in teams of three to five consultants to perform tasks such as information gathering and analysis, testing hypotheses, and developing and communicating recommendations to clients.

Like Emerging Scholars, associate interns benefit from coaching and mentoring from colleagues on their teams as part of day-to-day project assignments, as well as one-on-one career guidance from a partner assigned to them.

Interviewing & Applying to McKinsey

McKinsey wants applicants to succeed, and offers a variety of resources to those interesting in applying at the firm. Here are just a few places applicants can look for additional help and information directly from McKinsey:

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About the Author

Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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