Families and McKinsey

Succeeding as a Management Consultant Families and McKinsey


No one will say this, but you should not be planning a family in the formative/early years of McKinsey or BCG. While firms go to great lengths to extol the virtues of their family friendly cultures, at the end of the day, the numbers say otherwise. It is very difficult to balance family demands and the pressures of a McKinsey engagement. It is best to select phases in your life, and early in you career, focus on career building.

The reality is that something will have to give. We touch on the impact on your career, the best time (in our opinion only) when to have children and the trade-offs you will be forced to make. We also point out some important data to collect from firms which purport to have “family friendly” policies.

Life is about choices and consequences. If you make the choice to start a family, then their will be positive and negative consequences. You need to weigh these up and be content with the net effect.

The main piece of advice is to never ever trust pithy HR statements about respecting families etc. The reality is that you are only as good as the distance between you and the best consultant. It is a curve. Never fall far behind and any distractions invariably force you to fall far behind.

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2 responses to Families and McKinsey

  1. Hello AD,

    The advice would be roughly the same with some caveats. In some ways it is harder for men. You would need to work the same hours, there is rarely maternity leave and the extra costs means you probably have to work harder, which implies you have less time for your family.

    You would need to be extremely efficient to create time for everything and also good at compartmentalizing the stress from the office so you do not bring it home with you.

    That said, I could give the same advice to someone working 3 jobs on minimum wage! So my advice is to have a family if that is what you want. You are in a rare position to give your family a good life and there is something to be said for that.

    On the other hand, if you want to work more, do that. The key is to ensure your partner is in agreement. That is usually the hardest part.


  2. Michael,

    Thanks for the podcast. I understand that this podcast is mostly for female thinking to start a family whilst starting the formative years at elite consulting firms.

    Do you have any specific considerations/advice that is recommended to think over/do for males trying to start a family whilst at the same time starting the career in elite consulting firm?

    Thanks as always Michael,

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