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Learning more about McKinsey

In the industry and among its employees, McKinsey & Company is known simply as “The Firm” – need we say more?With 82 offices and around 7,000 consultants worldwide, McKinsey serves more than two thirds of the Fortune 1000, or 85 of the world’s top 100 companies.
“The Firm” derives much of its mysterious prestige from its powerful five–part code of conduct. McKinsey employees put client interests ahead of firm interests, serve the client in a superior manner, adhere to high ethical standards, preserve the confidence of clients, and be ready to differ with client managers and tell them the truth, however painful. Over time, Martin Bower also began directing his recruiting efforts toward graduate students the firm could mold into broad–based consultants, instead of experts who had built up years of experience in a single industry. McKinsey & Company thus became the first consulting firm to hire directly from business schools. Another tradition set by Bower was a reticence to discuss financial matters openly, which persists to this day. Maintaining that the firm would make more money if it didn’t concern itself with profits, Bower never charged clients performance–based or results–based fees. Bower shaped McKinsey culture in other, more subtle ways. All executives were required to wear hats and long socks (to avoid displaying “raw flesh”) – though there may be more bare heads and bare skin on display these days, many McKinseyites still prefer long socks.
Source: Vault Career Library

In all this, let’s look at how “The Firm” describes itself:
We strive for world-shaping client impact
We work with leading organizations across the private, public and social sectors. Our scale, scope, and knowledge allow us to address problems that no one else can. We have deep functional and industry expertise as well as breadth of geographical reach. We are passionate about taking on immense challenges that matter to our clients and, often, to the world.
We work with our clients as we do with our colleagues. We build their capabilities and leadership skills at every level and every opportunity. We do this to help build internal support, get to real issues, and reach practical recommendations. We bring out the capabilities of clients to fully participate in the process and lead the ongoing work.
Source: McKinsey corporate website

FOOTNOTE:
Vault.Com announces top 50 most prestigious consulting firms for 2011 – McKinsey takes top spot for 9th straight year
Vault.com, the source of ratings, rankings and insight for the consulting industry, has released its annual Top 50 Consulting Prestige Rankings. For the ninth straight year, McKinsey & Company, regarded by consultants as “the gold standard,” has been ranked No. 1.
“McKinsey & Company cannot be beat in the prestige category,” said Brian Dalton, managing editor at Vault.com. “The firm has achieved a certain mystique that has gone unmatched since we began conducting our consulting survey, so much so that respondents go so far as to state that McKinsey has ‘invented the industry.’”

Survey respondents call the consulting juggernaut a “powerhouse,” “the name for strategy,” “the best of the best,” an “industry leader” and a “founding father.” But while the firm might be the “gold standard,” prestige comes with a price and detractors are quick to criticize McKinsey for being “arrogant, overpriced and very junior,” “disconnected,” “pretentious,” “egotistical,” and “not invincible.”

But that has not stopped jobseekers from wanting to work at McKinsey. As one associate at McKinsey notes, “although I do occasionally feel overworked, I cannot imagine a more interesting place to work or a better set of folks to work with.” Another associate describes McKinsey as “a great group of very smart and motivated people who are good at working in team settings. People here work hard together and develop strong bonds.”

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