Now, after a global pandemic has upended the world of work, forced the acceleration of digital transformation, and redefined the employee experience, ‘The Firm’ is about to hire its biggest ever MBA class in 2021.
It’s a trend that has been on an upward trajectory for a while. McKinsey hired 876 consultants from MBA programs in 2010; that had increased to 1,100 between July 2018 and June 2019. Since March 1, 2020 McKinsey has welcomed more than 1,500 full-time new joiners and 1,000 interns.
Despite MBA programs shifting primarily online during the COVID-19 pandemic, McKinsey’s global head of recruitment, Brian Rolfes, says that has had little negative impact on MBA job prospects at the company.
“We have increased our recruiting goals and anticipate that in 2021 we will hire the largest incoming class in McKinsey’s history,” he says.
Alongside the steep salaries offered to MBA consultants, joining McKinsey offers MBAs an opportunity to work at the forefront the business world.
What does McKinsey want from its MBA hires?
Brian has asserted in the past what McKinsey wants from its consultants: They want problem solvers, people who can work well in teams, and who can build strong relationships.
“These are at the core of what our consultants do every day and how we work with our clients,” he told BusinessBecause in 2020.
Add to that inclusive leadership, personal impact, entrepreneurial drive, and you begin to get an idea of the DNA that makes up a McKinsey consultant.
As the world of business becomes ever intertwined with the world of technology, expect a demand for MBA grads skilled in the art of cross-functional collaboration.
Brian explains that McKinsey has teams of course made up of traditional management consultants working on strategy, operations, and the like, but the firm also employs hundreds of data scientists and software engineers.
They even have a Game Based Innovation Lab full of people equipped with skills in game design, engineering, learning science, and psychometrics. So, to be fully successful at the company you’ll need to be able to work with professionals in an array of roles.
McKinsey look for this talent everywhere. They hired from approximately 370 different schools in 2020—from the well-known business schools like Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, MIT, INSEAD, and LBS, to liberal art colleges, state universities, Historically Black Universities and Colleges, and more.
How can an MBA land you a job at McKinsey?
Anna Navratil, an MBA graduate from Emory University Goizueta Business School, landed a job at McKinsey after business school—but it wasn’t always her plan. “I went to a panel early on in my MBA, and it was all white guys in suits talking about airline miles,” she recalls.
With a background in nonprofits, Anna envisaged herself disrupting the social sector. She knew it was important to land internship experience, but that it would be tough to find opportunities in the social sector for the summer—a mentor instead told her to focus on growth.
Conversations with Goizueta alumni who worked at McKinsey showed Anna the company was more than white guys in suits. She was convinced, and ended up completing a summer internship with the firm before moving into a full-time position after graduating.
The MBA provided her with the network and support to launch her consulting career. Goizueta alumni helped Anna with case preparation, interview feedback, and advice.
Learning about the industry and networking with consultants is key—Juan Sanchez knows all about that. He’s an HEC Paris MBA alum who swapped engineering for consulting and a job with McKinsey after graduating.
During the MBA’s Consulting Peak Week, Juan mixed with alumni and industry professionals who delivered speeches, took part in case cracking exercises with students, and prepped them for consulting interviews. HEC Paris also has its own Consulting Practice, which provides students with the practical experience they need to enhance their consulting CVs.
Although McKinsey hire from across the board, bringing into their consulting teams undergraduate talent, analytics experts, engineers, and PhDs, studying an MBA is a sure-fire way of developing both the network and the skillset to launch your dream career with one of the Big Three.