"The McKinsey Way" - 2 minute book review

The McKinsey, The Firm - I heard this name million times, in news, books, and even movies. I never quite understand what makes this consulting company stand out and succeed for almost 100 years, since 1926.

How do they do it?

The author shared a lot about the company, about internal policies, teamwork, hiring, etc. but most useful I found the first part of the book - a guide on how The Firm approaches solving problems. Solution must be:

  • Fact-bases;
  • Rigidly structure;
  • Hypothersis driven; First of all, list problems to solve, keep in mind MECE*. Identify the most critical problem to solve. Define the initial hypothesis and test it. Accumulate data to confirm or disapprove hypothesis, repeat the cycle if required. No emotion, no bias, just pure cold facts.

MECE. Mutually exclusive - items can only fit into one category at a time and collectively exhaustive – all items can fit into one of the categories.


  • Most of the problems are similar - look for help from colleagues, past researches;
  • Don’t boil an ocean - you just need enough to prove a hypothesis, not more, not less;
  • Look for low hanging fruits - solving side issues on the main quest will help to earn client trust;
  • Ask questions - Client: “How can I boost my profits?” You: “Where do your profits come from?”;

Join the Firm

Isn’t this ironic that we are hiring people for the skills in specific fields, while McKinsey - hire people with various academic and work background, and still they come and help us boost business. To join the Firm, based on the authors’ words, you need to be, first of all, invited to the interview. To get an invitation you need to graduate from a top-notch University or MBA with some relevant degree i.e. law, politics, accounting, etc. in top of the class. The interview itself would probably conduct in some super fancy restaurant, first of all to stunt and impress you. Of course, if you are top of Harward Law School - you need to be impressed. An interviewee will be looking to test your problem-solving and analytics skills. Seems that is all you need to prove to be worthy.

Based on the question example they looked to be like “brain teasers”. I’m not found it, in the IT world practice asking such questions died years ago as proved to be ineffective.


Seems working in McKinsey is not about a healthy work-life balance. The average cadence of the new employee is 2 years. And consider the great salaries in the company I would imagine that work is hell in case the best of the best could not take more than two years. Besides that, experience working for the Firm is a great career booster. Thousand of past employees are CEO, CFOs, and other executives in top-notch companies around the world.

The book is rather short, which makes it a good companion for a short trip or flight. On the other side, there is nothing eye-opening.

The McKinsey Way