A McKinsey Associate’s Life After Consulting
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 PE is also a possibility.
This is a key step for Daniel to join the C-Suite over time. The challenges he faces are quite common to our clients.
We intend to teach Daniel those crucial partner soft and hard skills that an associate would not have acquired, which are essential to lead teams, build businesses, generate insights and operate as an executive. You will see that the skills of a strategy partner can be applied to any industry, even within the internal strategy unit of an investment bank.
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We document everything done to build Daniel’s career.
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.
They fail to break the analytics ceiling.
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 them 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.
The series begins a few days before Daniel takes up his new role as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Development in Shanghai. As Daniel navigates the new corporate culture at the Chinese bank, we need to ensure he is excelling at his current role, laying the foundation for an accelerated career and strategically selecting tasks that move him forward at the fastest possible pace with the least possible effort.
Chinese banks are on the cusp of both growing internationally and driving some of the largest IPOs in the world. This series will offer critical insights into this closely watched market.
As you will see with Daniel, the skills to break the analytics barrier are typically soft in nature. In fact, being good at the soft skills will actually improve Daniel’s ability to generate quantitative insights.
Daniel needs to be good enough at analytics, storyboards, 3rd order thinking etc., but once he proves himself here he needs to demonstrate other skills.
As you will see in this series, there is a vast gap between the skills of a partner and associate. Michael works with Daniel to overlay these skills and teach Daniel the tactics, strategies, battle plans, and crucial people and communications skills to move far ahead of his peers.
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The Promotion is an original Firmsconsulting program which teaches you how to apply all the skills a McKinsey, BCG et al. partner would use to fast-track a career in corporate, launch a start-up from a zero base or build a profitable business.
In Season I of The Promotion, How to Sell Multi-Million Dollar Consulting Engagements, you can follow us as we help Andrew, a senior manager / associate principal at a major international professional services firm, become an equity partner in 3 years by following a highly unconventional path: by re-building the firm’s failed innovation practice.
Starting with a total budget of just $150K, and signing authority of < $5,000, we take you through every meeting, dinner, coffee chat, obstacle, plan, tactic, pilot, proposal, marital problem, client push-back, strategy, success, failure etc. to achieve total revenue of >$30MM within 3 years.
Life After McKinsey is Season II of The Promotion.
Season III is split into two programs. In the first, McKinsey to Private Equity, we detail follow the tough journey Lisa took to move into private equity. The other program, USA vs CA/AU/UK Residency/Citizenship, explains the unusual strategy we used to help Lisa obtain her green card in about 1 year 4 months.
In Season IV, The Start-up: Building a Luxury Brand, we will help Tatiana, a Wharton MBA graduate and scion of a prominent Asian family, build an ultra-luxury brand from literally nothing.
In Season V, The Start-up: Building an Electric Car Start-Up, we help Richard, ex McKinsey associate, launch an electric car business in China.
In Season VI, The Start-up: Building a Cosmetics Startup, we help Amy, senior legal counsel at a major tech company, prepare to leave her full time job as she launches a major cosmetics brand.
Due to client confidentiality, as always, we have altered some of the details.
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