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Do you need to go to Business School as a McKinsey Consultant?

Anonymous A asked on Jun 08, 2018 - 3 answers

I believe that at McKinsey you don't necessarily need to do an MBA anymore to get promoted, so why would someone leave McKinsey to go to B school?

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replied on Jun 08, 2018
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Hi there,

Firstly, this varies by geography, still. In London, you are 100% right and doing an MBA is not expected. However, in the US, there remains an expectation that you will do an MBA - only the best candidates get promoted "straight to associate".

If we assume that an MBA won't help your career path at McKinsey/Bain/BCG, there are still various reasons why you might do this:

1) Firstly, the firm will pay! The package MBB offers for MBAs is very generous and has a six figure value, and you have to return for ~2 years to "pay it back". So all other items on this list come with th efact that you are offered a terrific deal. If you leave early, you have to pay it back - but most people that leave early/don't come back are heading to amazing opportunities anyways.

2) You truly value what an MBA will give you in terms of skills/knowledge - this can be especially true with people with non-business/finance backgrounds who went into consulting and want to solidify their knowledge.

3) You value the signalling value of a top tier MBA, or the even broader network it brings - i.e. the future potential opportunities it opens. While someone who has worked at McKinsey has less to worry about on this front (they already have a great network and brand), a top tier MBA can still help with people who have ambitions to become F500 CEOs

4) An MBA in the US, for non-US citizens, can be a foot in the door into getting a job in the US - either directly by applying while at MBA, or indirectly by building a network there which can come useful down the line.

5) Other motivations: Many reasons why someone might enjoy taking 2 years off work to go back to University: time to "think about life", take extra free time to work on a skill (e.g. language, coding), explore a new part of the world, etc.

Hope that's all clear!

replied on Jun 09, 2018
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Agreed with all reasons other mentioned, one more reason is that:

  • It gives people time to mature and refine their soft skills: while promotion from BA to A or from A to C is straightforward because job role is very similar (but level of responsibility different), promotion to PL is not as much because set of skills required is different. People promoted directly without a break sometimes do not have the time or the different context that gives them the opportunity to proper develop those
  • It gives people the opportunity to expand their peer network across industries, functions, geographies

Hope it helps,


replied on Jun 08, 2018
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In McKinsey you have a DTA - Direct To Associate trek when you can skip an MBA and be promoted directly in case of an exceptional performance

In some countries, you also have a Direct to Fellow Associate, when you need to have an above average performance to get a promotion and skip the MBA. You can become a full associate after one year of being a fellow

In other cases you have to do an MBA


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