Life after McKinsey

Life after McKinsey

We help Daniel, an ex-McKinsey associate, build his career as a Strategy Senior Vice-President within the internal strategy unit of a major Chinese investment bank. We focus on breaking the lesser known, but very real, analytics ceiling.

Daniel will be joining a part of the bank staffed with numerous high performing ex-BCG and ex-McKinsey colleagues and must find a way to differentiate himself. Our goal is for his career to thrive within strategy and very quickly move him into a P&L role where he can run a line unit. A future career in private equity is also a possibility. This is a key step for Daniel to join the C-Suite over time.

Daniel is a McKinsey associate with a bachelors and masters degree in the sciences, from both a major emerging economy and the USA, and an arts degree from Europe. Prior to McKinsey he worked in investment banking and after McKinsey he worked as an internal consultant at another major Asian investment bank.

Daniel faces a problem all ex-McKinsey, BCG, Bain et al consultants must eventually face. What comes next after “McKinsey”?

Initially the transition is easy and things look like they are on track. In fact, things look too easy because everyone tells you how great the road ahead will be. The easiest next step is to take an internal strategy role. Like Daniel, this is what the majority will do. Things get much harder at this point. The competition is stiff and the path out and upwards is not clear. What comes next after the internal strategy role? Most ex-consultants either bounce around internal strategy roles or transition into business development roles. Why does this happen?

They fail to break the analytics ceiling. That is all they can do.

To break this ceiling an ex-consultant needs to show they can manage peers, motivate colleagues and manage a non-analytic initiative. In other words, they need to get things done and lead implementation of the insight their analysis identified. They need to move beyond analysis to getting results. The analytics ceiling is the most significant barrier facing ex-consultants.

How does one accelerate one’s career in corporate given the incredible number of McKinsey/BCG alums against whom they are competing? How should an internal strategy role be managed to eventually join a client facing part of the business and manage a P&L? How does one compete when one’s main point of competition, their McKinsey background and analytic skills, are a common background? How does one learn the communication, political, planning and organizational skills to break into corporate management when one’s associate training primarily equips one for analyses?

Daniel faces the very real danger of becoming an ex-McKinsey associate who will float from pseudo-analyses role to pseudo-strategy role but never makes that leap to an operating role: the holy grail for all ex-consultants in industry because this is the only power base within corporate. And the clock is running down for him. Being in one’s mid-thirties leaves little runway to execute the change.

Daniel will also face personal pressures. He is at that inflection point where he either succeeds in his career or gives up and decides it is better to dial back his hours to commit more time to his young family. We believe he can have both and he deserves it.

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Life after McKinsey