This is an important podcast because it explains how a consulting career should fit into your overall career planning. Most candidates want to work at BBM because everyone says they should. They also think they know the exit opportunities but have a very weak, and sometimes fantasized, view on exit options.

It is based on numbers versus myths in the industry. It is a given that many McKinsey BCG etc. consultants go on to achieve great careers as captains of industry. Yet, not everyone does so, certainly not the majority. And for those who do, even when they leave McKinsey as a partner they need to earn their operating chops before any CEO will award them an operating role. There are exceptions of course, which merely proves this rule.

On average, if you leave McKinsey at the associate or engagement manager role you will most likely be given some analyst or internal strategy role, which you will need to leave eventually to take an operating role in a company.

Corporate power lies in the operating roles, never in the internal strategy roles. If internal strategy was really influential, McKinsey would be bankrupt since no one would hire them. In  corporate, power lies in control over a P/L statement. Cost centers like strategy, never have influence. The exceptions would be compliance cost centers like legal and internal audit.

So, be realistic about your exit opportunities and understand that you will need to slowly migrate to operating roles as you mature.

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3 responses to McKinsey, BCG etc. exit opportunities exaggerated

  1. Thanks Fei.

    Yes, many ex-MBB consultants are generally surprised when this happens to them. I like what you do. You checked the facts and it turned out to be true. Most readers only check to see if someone else is saying what we are saying. Since our views are those of former partners they tend to be distrinctive. Always check the facts.

    The fact that you are always going to the facts (versus other viewpoints) and checking for yourself is a very good sign. This is set you apart from your peers in the future and will lead to success.


  2. Hi Michael,

    This is a really useful podcast, thank you! I recently looked up a handful of Fortune 500 CEO’s as MBB alumni and realized similar trends – the exit opportunities are not as great as what’s generally seen in the public, which what you explained in this podcast.

  3. …sounds German…

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