“Upper management” is not around a whole lot—the teams are led by them, but they check in perhaps once a week. There is an incredible amount of support for professional development from the company. If you need to learn something for a study, they will spare no expense to train you.
Former Summer Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company
almost 3 years ago
I received more support than I ever expected! You'll be assigned a "DGL" (essentially a mentor at the Associate Partner or Partner level) that will usually check in with you every week. Also, as a "summer," just about any partner/senior partner/etc you reach out to will be happy to talk with you and help you learn more about their work/industry/etc. Don't be afraid to reach out and take advantage of that! McKinsey is very non hierarchical. My co-workers on my studies while there were especially important and helpful for supporting me through the transition/learning, connecting me to others, and general career and Firm advice.
McKinsey, or any consulting company as three basic levels: analysts, managers and partners. Then many other levels and sublevels are added to keep people engaged in their career but these are the core levels.
Analysts do the work, under the supervision of the project manager, for a project sold by a partner.
Your success is measured always by how good was your last project. Did the client, manager and partner like it? You are continuously expected to perform at the top of the skills needed for your level, but show traits for the next level. For example, an analyst is supposed to do the analysis that the manager asks for. But some one that knows how to operate independently is valued.
A good analyst brainstorms with the manager on what are the key deliverables (what would our recommendations be if the project finished today?) and how they can be attained (who to talk, what data to gather, how to analyze it) and presented (key insights, right level of detail, cross-checks, validation meetings….). This means that a person needs to be very organized from they one to be able to talk with the manager in a structured way from day one when you have no data and a “vague definition of scope”.
To be fair to a partner, if the scope is too specific the risk of failure actually increases. A huge laundry list of deliverables gives no insights and a tone of information. McKinsey works with senior management, they don’t want to be overwhelmed with unneeded detail. They just want to know the three things that they need to do over the next few weeks to ensure that that complexity is correctly handled at the right level of the organization.