Do I have a shot at Mckinsey?

cibermonkey's picture
Rank: Chimp | 10

Hi all, I want to get some realistic perspective on my chances of getting an interview with McKinsey. I am a MBA grad from a non-target b-school with decent GPA (3.7 and 710 GMAT) and graduated 3 years ago. Since MBA I have worked with two major firms (both Fortune 50, one is a tech firm that is a top 10 MBA employe ) in two different industries.

I am not looking for an engagement manager role and understand I will be applying for an Associate role. Want to hear your perspective. I can't sell myself as a highly experienced professional (so won't be applying or expert roles) but rather looking to focus on the two industries I am looking to explore (and build my career). If I go through alumni, will I increase by chances? (I assume the answer is yes).

How hard is it to become a McKinsey Associate?

Our users shared that in the case of the OP, it will be difficult but through networking it is possible since McKinsey has a high turn over rate and there are only so many candidates that come from the top ivy league schools.

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Comments (37)

Jan 4, 2012

What exactly did you do at the F50 companies? While I'm not an MBA grad so take this with a grain of salt, keep in mind that positions at McKinsey are extremely competitive and your non-target background will obviously hinder you.

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Jan 4, 2012

@tlynch5 - I have worked primarily in Corp Finance and Strategy sort of roles - all roles have been analytics focused. I understand your comment regarding non-target but wondering if the post-grad experience will help me bridget that gap.

Jan 4, 2012

I think your best bet will be using alumni connections and networking with anyone who can get you closer to a position at McKinsey. It certainly is possible and has happened before. I wish I could give further advice but I dont have experience in this matter. Either way, best of luck.

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Jan 4, 2012

You can judge your chances by just looking at the profiles on McKinsey's website. A couple profiles of Experienced Hires

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Medical School MD 2007
Harvard Business School MBA 2006
Harvard University AB, Biology, Psychology 2001

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Business School MBA, Management 2008
Yale Law School JD, Law 2008
Morehouse College BA 2002

.

Jan 4, 2012
seedy underbelly:

You can judge your chances by just looking at the profiles on McKinsey's website. A couple profiles of Experienced Hires

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Medical School MD 2007
Harvard Business School MBA 2006
Harvard University AB, Biology, Psychology 2001

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Business School MBA, Management 2008
Yale Law School JD, Law 2008
Morehouse College BA 2002

.

How do you graduate from Yale Law school and HBS at the same time..?

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Jan 4, 2012
bdiddy:
seedy underbelly:

You can judge your chances by just looking at the profiles on McKinsey's website. A couple profiles of Experienced Hires

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Medical School MD 2007
Harvard Business School MBA 2006
Harvard University AB, Biology, Psychology 2001

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Business School MBA, Management 2008
Yale Law School JD, Law 2008
Morehouse College BA 2002

.

How do you graduate from Yale Law school and HBS at the same time..?

Those who want the best of both worlds spend 5 years to earn both.

http://www.wlrk.com/LBSchwartz
Bottom-line: McKinsey is insanely selective.

Jan 4, 2012
bdiddy:
seedy underbelly:

You can judge your chances by just looking at the profiles on McKinsey's website. A couple profiles of Experienced Hires

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Medical School MD 2007
Harvard Business School MBA 2006
Harvard University AB, Biology, Psychology 2001

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Business School MBA, Management 2008
Yale Law School JD, Law 2008
Morehouse College BA 2002

.

How do you graduate from Yale Law school and HBS at the same time..?

I'm going to sound like an idiot if i get this wrong, but from what I understand...he's going for a dual-degree kinda thing.

Even if he wanted to go JD/MBA at Harvard, he would have to apply to HBS and HLS separately. So what he did instead was attained an MBA at Harvard and went to Yale to get his JD to get connections from the alums from both school. Widening his network and getting the best of both worlds, so to speak.

Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor. -Dr. Alexis Carrel

Jan 4, 2012
seedy underbelly:

You can judge your chances by just looking at the profiles on McKinsey's website. A couple profiles of Experienced Hires

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Medical School MD 2007
Harvard Business School MBA 2006
Harvard University AB, Biology, Psychology 2001

http://www.mckinsey.com/Careers/McKinsey_life/Meet...
Harvard Business School MBA, Management 2008
Yale Law School JD, Law 2008
Morehouse College BA 2002

.

Damn, Harold Martin beasted. Yale Law & HBS at the same time? That's insane.

Jan 4, 2012

Most of hires at MBB consulting come directly out of OCR at top colleges or MBA. Few people have gotten interviews outside OCR, but usually you have to have inside contact and have to know people at the firm...

not to mention, McK makes offers to like 1% of people who did first round interviews. Honestly, I wouldn't place too much hope into it

when i was interviewing at a boutique strategy consulting firm, my interviewer was an ex-McKinsey guy. He told me that basically McK hires virtually most of its incoming analysts and associates via OCR at their target schools.

Jan 4, 2012
seedy underbelly:

You can judge your chances by just looking at the profiles on McKinsey's website. A couple profiles of Experienced Hires...

Sexy_Like_Enrique:

not to mention, McK makes offers to like 1% of people who did first round interviews. Honestly, I wouldn't place too much hope into it...

Uh, no. McK employs more than 9,000 consultants and has high turnover. They hire a lot of people. Do you really think they can afford to only extend offers to grads of HBS + YLS/1% of 1R? Use your brains people.

Don't believe everything you think.

Jan 4, 2012
joe_monkey:
seedy underbelly:

You can judge your chances by just looking at the profiles on McKinsey's website. A couple profiles of Experienced Hires...

Sexy_Like_Enrique:

not to mention, McK makes offers to like 1% of people who did first round interviews. Honestly, I wouldn't place too much hope into it...

Uh, no. McK employs more than 9,000 consultants and has high turnover. They hire a lot of people. Do you really think they can afford to only extend offers to grads of HBS + YLS/1% of 1R? Use your brains people.

the ex-Mckinsey guy i spoke to said Mckinsey hires around 100-110 new analysts per year in the entire nation. go figure

Jan 4, 2012

Network Network Network. You may have a hard time because a lot of recruitment happens right after your MBA in OCR but there is always a chance.

Jan 4, 2012

What was your undergrad school/gpa? I'm guessing not good since you didn't list.

Jan 4, 2012

How the fuck are we supposed to know if you are competitive for McK? You've given us nothing more than your stats. Those alone don't disqualify you, certainly. McK is surprisingly non-elitistt in a lot of ways. I know people from Norfolk fucking State who have moved up pretty far. And they are not uncommong. But there is something impressive or distinctive in their quals, and we know nothing about your experience. Surely you must expect if you have read this site with any depth that you will be getting flamed for asking your question is such a head up your ass kind of way. The short answer is based on what you said, you are not ruled out but there is no way to tell how competitive you are.

I don't know you so don't take this personally. But either take my advice (I put in my 2 years at a top strat) or that of college kids who never worked a real job.

Jan 4, 2012

Anyways, this thread is going off-topic. OP asked for Experienced Professional recruiting, which is perhaps the most competitive since OCR, while you're in school, makes things a lot easier.

Jan 4, 2012

Kk.

Technically, Citadel/Jane Street are even more selective than the firms you listed. :)

Jan 4, 2012

Citadel is insanely selective, but for a good reason because it would be fucking sick to work there..... I hear they pay 250k salary to those fresh out of college. DE Shaw, i hear, is also insanely selective as well, but pays insane amount to fresh college grads. I have a buddy that did interview there for second round and he told me straight up that it was the hardest fucking interview ever.

What puzzles me about McKinsey is that it is insanely selective, but no where as lucrative as some of its friends in 'insanely selective employers' club. That 80k analyst salary at McKinsey is a fucking joke compared to Blackstone PE, Citadel, PIMCO, DE Shaw, or hell, even IBD at mid-tier BB, which really is a shame.

Best Response
Jan 5, 2012
Sexy_Like_Enrique:

What puzzles me about McKinsey is that it is insanely selective, but no where as lucrative as some of its friends in 'insanely selective employers' club. That 80k analyst salary at McKinsey is a fucking joke compared to Blackstone PE, Citadel, PIMCO, DE Shaw, or hell, even IBD at mid-tier BB, which really is a shame.

You should watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc
I (and other BAs in my office that I have discussed this with) are all happy with our salaries. Not only because the "fucking joke" of $80k puts us in the top 10% of income earners in the US straight out of college, but we are treated extremely well by the firm and work on incredibly interesting work that has real impact. Furthermore, as you know, it's also one of the best names to have on your resume to open doors in just about any industry or function you can imagine. I'm paid enough to take money off the table, and treated well enough to sincerely enjoy my job.

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Aug 10, 2012

Some facts are in order. There are just shy of 1000 associates at McKinsey in the U.S. Considering Associates are CTL'd or promoted to EM within 2.5 years, this means you need to hire 400 ASC/yr, of which a significant percentage are return offers (BA's with sponsored MBA's). I don't feel like calculating how many that amounts to, so lets just say half the associates are rehires, so there's 200 new hire associates per year. These will be recruited from MBA's, Ph.D's, JD's, occasional MD's but rare, and industry, from both the U.S. and abroad. Again, no idea what the percentage split is here, I could find out but it would be a painful exercise for me. Eventually you could assume around 100 freshly minted MBA's per year get first-time offers from McK.

Its obviously tough to make it through that selection, but stop discussing stats. The only people who care about your stats are recruiters deciding whether or not to force 3 EM's, to spend 2 hours each evaluating you (1hr interview + 1hr discussion). After that its irrelevant. You can be a 4.0 kid from Harvard v a 3.0 kid from UT Austin and you will both succeed or die based on the case interview. Stats only matter for getting your foot in the door, getting hired comes down entirely to fit and case interview skills.

Another note:

Do not write "I am not looking for an engagement manager role and understand I will be applying for an Associate role." Does not need clarification. No one applies to an Engagement Manager role. EM's are not hired, they are promoted. Even if you were a Manager at another Strategy Consultancy, with an MBA, you would be applying for the Associate role, and it would be up to you to prove you're ready to EM more quickly than others.

Sexy_Like_Enrique:

What puzzles me about McKinsey is that it is insanely selective, but no where as lucrative as some of its friends in 'insanely selective employers' club. That 80k analyst salary at McKinsey is a fucking joke compared to Blackstone PE, Citadel, PIMCO, DE Shaw, or hell, even IBD at mid-tier BB, which really is a shame.

Salary at McK is not a joke by any means. Figure you get 80k in salary, another 20k in benefits, and a paid for MBA, another 120k, and McK is investing a solid 160-180 into you your first year out of college. On top of this you get tons of airmiles, brand name, an international experience, and a fairly generous expensing policy (although the free dinners start to suck after a while, they always take too long, you get weird overpriced food you're not all that excited about, and it only adds inches to your waist, a few years at McK and 'fancy restaurants' stop seeming fancy and start seeming inconvenient, at best).

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Aug 10, 2012
BearMarket:

Some facts are in order. There are just shy of 1000 associates at McKinsey in the U.S. Considering Associates are CTL'd or promoted to EM within 2.5 years, this means you need to hire 400 ASC/yr, of which a significant percentage are return offers (BA's with sponsored MBA's). I don't feel like calculating how many that amounts to, so lets just say half the associates are rehires, so there's 200 new hire associates per year. These will be recruited from MBA's, Ph.D's, JD's, occasional MD's but rare, and industry, from both the U.S. and abroad. Again, no idea what the percentage split is here, I could find out but it would be a painful exercise for me. Eventually you could assume around 100 freshly minted MBA's per year get first-time offers from McK.

Its obviously tough to make it through that selection, but stop discussing stats. The only people who care about your stats are recruiters deciding whether or not to force 3 EM's, to spend 2 hours each evaluating you (1hr interview + 1hr discussion). After that its irrelevant. You can be a 4.0 kid from Harvard v a 3.0 kid from UT Austin and you will both succeed or die based on the case interview. Stats only matter for getting your foot in the door, getting hired comes down entirely to fit and case interview skills.

Another note:

Do not write "I am not looking for an engagement manager role and understand I will be applying for an Associate role." Does not need clarification. No one applies to an Engagement Manager role. EM's are not hired, they are promoted. Even if you were a Manager at another Strategy Consultancy, with an MBA, you would be applying for the Associate role, and it would be up to you to prove you're ready to EM more quickly than others.

Sexy_Like_Enrique:

What puzzles me about McKinsey is that it is insanely selective, but no where as lucrative as some of its friends in 'insanely selective employers' club. That 80k analyst salary at McKinsey is a fucking joke compared to Blackstone PE, Citadel, PIMCO, DE Shaw, or hell, even IBD at mid-tier BB, which really is a shame.

Salary at McK is not a joke by any means. Figure you get 80k in salary, another 20k in benefits, and a paid for MBA, another 120k, and McK is investing a solid 160-180 into you your first year out of college. On top of this you get tons of airmiles, brand name, an international experience, and a fairly generous expensing policy (although the free dinners start to suck after a while, they always take too long, you get weird overpriced food you're not all that excited about, and it only adds inches to your waist, a few years at McK and 'fancy restaurants' stop seeming fancy and start seeming inconvenient, at best).

Good post. +1

Jan 4, 2012

To the OP: To answer your question directly - little to no chance of getting an interview. Experienced hires are an extremely small population, and tend to be hired for specific industry expertise rather than as a generalist associate.

The point of the associate role is to start out as a generalist, and slowly build expertise and industry focus as you move up. Unless you have specific domain knowledge, the fact that you have worked in two industries for 3 years is irrelevant.

Also working against you is the recruiting practices. As mentioned before, Associate recruiting tends to be overwhelmingly from the MBA, law school, and professional degree ranks. There is typically little off-cycle hiring in consulting (due to resources required for the interview process).

Your only option would be to work extremely hard at networking with alumni, coordinate against the OCR recruiting cycle, and hope you get a shot. However, do keep in mind the opportunity cost of this approach - it's not like you are in school and have nothing to lose. Assuming you are currently employed, I might suggest it makes much more sense for you to just do better at your current job and advance through the ranks, rather than expend lots of time and effort on a low probability outcome.

Jan 5, 2012

Thanks all for your comments. Some definitely went off topic, but oh well!

To answer a few questions . my undergrad GPA was 3.5 and is from a non-US (and therefore) non-target school. And no- I didn't skip that stat on purpose :)

@ Freeloader - That was exactly my point. From what I heard (from one of my alumni and ex-McK) that since McK looks at Experienced Hires to have a specific niche skillset (functional or industry expertise), which I am honest opinion, I haven't developed yet. But again, I am open to joining as an Associate (but understand that the recruiting process is not set up that way as you pointed ou).

Regarding growing up in ranks (and to answer one of the questions), I work in Corp Fin in one of the top 10 Tech companies (without further disclosing my identity :) ) and a top MBA recruiter. However, I am doubting if Corp Fin/Strat in Tech tickles my brain as much as I initially thought. But I do enjoy problem-solving.

Again, I am not looking to get slammed on this post but rather looking for insightful perspective and inputs! Thanks all.

Jan 5, 2012

To clear up a few things here:

  1. It is absolutely absurd to think that McK makes offers to 1% of 1st round interviews. More like 4-10%, which is still pretty selective.
  2. Your non-target background is not the thing that will prevent you from getting the interview. McK is probably the most non-target friendly consulting firm, since it has (and is willing to use) resources to dig deep to find the best and brightest candidates.
  3. In my experience of working with McK, all associates I have come across did indeed come directly from top JD/MBA programs.
  4. Citadel paying 250k to fresh grads is simply false, unless you include bonus AND made the firm $10m in your first year, in which case any HF would probably pay you that much.
  5. The reason McK pays analysts "only" 80k is because it can, so why not? It knows you are not there for the short-term money, and if you are then they can easily find someone who is just as good who is willing to work for 80k. The brand name and network it offers can be seen as supplementing compensation as well.

OP - As some others have said, I think your problem will be that there simply isn't a role for you at McK, since you don't fit the fresh associate bucket, but don't qualify for the industry expert bucket either. Perhaps at ~VP level you might have sufficient industry knowledge to get some Interest, but that's really the only possibility I see, and difficult even then.

Does your company hire McK? If so, then those doing the hiring could probably get you an interview (for obvious reasons) but clearly this requires telling senior folks at your company that you would rather be elsewhere. Could probably be done after developing a good relationship though - perhaps a mentoring program that pairs you with senior execs?

Good luck!

Jan 5, 2012

Money isn't everything, but let's not pretend that it is irrelevant. It is a fact that guys in high finance get much more money than MBB consultants. I think it is unfair, honestly.

MBB consultants are very smart and talented. They deserve to be paid higher. Being aware of the fact that MBB have ridiculously high profit margins and their profit-per-partner ratio is insanely high, I am not sure why MBB refuse to pay their analysts and associates their just dessert, especially considering how Goldman IBD - a comparable employer in selectivity and prestige scale - offers to pay nearly double the amount of MBB salaries to their associates.

Where I would agree is that McKinsey's true value comes from its exit opportunities - meaning your long-term income potential after McKinsey stint. However, to get the best of exit ops, such as getting high-level corporate strategy executive job at F500, etc, you basically need to be at least engagement manager or up at McK. Those analysts or junior associates at McK don't tend to get those sick exit industry jobs after McKinsey stint anyway.

Jan 5, 2012

wrong. money is everything.

/thread

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Jan 9, 2012

Obviously the only way to find out if you can get that interview is coming up with the best possible strategy and giving it a shot. Networking has been mentioned and that IS the only way. That is, submitting your resume online with your background would give you close to zero chances of getting an interview.

How to network opens a whole other discussion, but the obvious first steps is looking for alumni from your Ugrad and MBA that work there. Even if your undergrad doesn't send people straight to McKinsey, it is possible that someone from your school took X career path, for example going to a second or third tier consulting company, and then ended up at McKinsey a few years out of college. In short, start figuring out who works at McKinsey and has some sort of affiliation to an organization that you are a member of. And don't limit yourself to schools. For example, you could see if someone that used to work for the companies you've worked for, especially if they worked in similar roles at some point, is at McKinsey. Then shoot them an email and use the common affiliation to get a coffee/phone call with them. Also try doing the same with people that play sports with you, go to the same gym, reach out to friends of distant relatives. Try everything.

So the process would go like this: 1) find alumni of your schools, companies, etc. and get a meeting to talk about their careers (and how you could follow on their steps) 2) convince them that you are a great candidate. This is the only way that they would vouch for you. At this point you will have an interview 3) Ace the interview. This includes the case questions, the fit ones, your overall level of confidence, etc.

As another poster mentioned, this process is long, exhausting, and the probabilities of success are not that high. That does not mean you should not try, it only means that you have to decide if you are willing to put that type of investment given the chances. A good question to ask is "will I end up being all bitter and angry at these firms if they don't hire me and jeopardize my current career in the process?"

I know the question is whether you could get an interview with McKinsey, but you could also widen your search. First to the BBs and then to other 1.5, 2nd, and 3rd tier firms, or however you want to divide them up. Moving from those might be easier than sticking with your current company. But don't take this path if you don't think you could be happy at those firms if you are not able to successfully transfer to M or the BBs. Also, I agree with what DR Joe said, McKinsey is pretty non-target friendly and so might also be the BBs. This is in relative terms of course. Part of it is the resources, as DRJ pointed out. Another aspect of that is the prestige these firms already enjoy. Less well known firms need the brand names in their employees' resumes in order to look competent in the eyes of clients. If an MBB hired you, no client is likely to be picky about you working on their project.

I'm very reluctant to give out personal info, but when I recruited for consulting almost all of the top 6 firms (I don't want to start a discussion about who are the top 6 though) and one 3rd tier gave me first rounds. My background is pretty solid and has prestigious names, but it was non-traditional. One way of interpreting this is that the 2nd and 3rd tier firms feel less comfortable having these non-traditional people in their ranks. I got some of these interviews by submitting my online application, but for the bigger fish I had people with whom I shared a past affiliation pushing very strongly for me, or at least allowing me to mention them in my cover letter, etc.

Finally, there are many good jobs other than McKinsey or the BBs.

Best of luck in your search!

P.S. It is silly to take the examples of current employees from the McKinsey website and assume that most people have that background. Sure McKinsey is very selective etc. but comparing the OP's profile with an HBS MBA-Yale Law school grad is not useful. A better use of peoples' energy is giving constructive advice.

Jan 7, 2012

Wow, is there fucking nobody left on this board who actually has a job? The first lengthy response on this thread answered the question by going to mckinsey.com and flipping through profiles there, which is as close to saying "I have no fucking idea what I'm talking about" as you can get. Yeah, McK profiles the people with the snazziest degrees on their site. That doesn't mean that everyone there is a Harvard MD/MBA.

And for the people who are bitching about the <1% selection rate - that's not the percentage of first-round interviewees who get offers, it's the percentage of APPLICANTS who get offers. So the kid with a 3.4 and no work experience who didn't get a first round interview - he's included in the calculation of that percentage.

Newflyer's comment about the money being adequate is also right, to a point, though I'm well aware that I'm working just as hard as a first-year capital markets analyst who makes 150% of what I do, and I won't forget that when my analyst stint ends. I, and most of my peers, think of it as forksaking current income for future income, plus a degree of current and future job security that far exceeds what most guys in finance get.

Having dealt with the bullshit, on to the OP's question: your chances are not good. I don't have my hands in experienced-hire recruiting, but I've only met a couple of people with MBAs from schools that are under-represented at my MBB (and the most non-target among them that I can think of right now are UVA and UNC), and all of them got their offers right out of business school. As a non-target who's already working in industry, I don't see a clear path in for you.

That said, if you're really set on being a consultant, you should obviously do some networking and talk to alumni and see where that gets you. You also mentioned an expert role, which you could go for if you want to come over in a couple of years, but that's not a position with a great career trajectory, and it might not be better than just working your way up the ladder at an F500.

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Jan 8, 2012

Thanks Ash_Nash and 2x2Matrix... very useful tips and kind of what I was expecting. I guess I just needed to hear from someone :)

Jan 10, 2012

I'm pretty sure you got my point, but I still want to make sure. I'm not saying not to try, rather I'm saying that you need to weigh it carefully. You need to be realistic about the chances and think through a good strategy before embarking in the process.

In my case I got the offer that I wanted in spite of my non-traditional background; however, I realize that this was partly due to luck. You can only do your best in the areas under your control and let go.

Jan 10, 2012
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Jul 27, 2013