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How to advance through McKinsey?

BCG BCG McKinsey and Bain Digital McKinsey McKinsey
Recent activity on May 26, 2020
4 Answers
3.8 k Views
Anonymous A asked on May 16, 2020


In light of the COVID-19 employment scare, I have been thinking about how I can advance through McKinsey as confidently and fast as possible. Do you have any advice or links for websites that can help me upskill? What makes one person become promoted rather than another?

I have recently gotten a full-time offer to work at McKinsey London as a Business Analyst out of grad school. I am also looking to try to do a McKinsey sponsored MBA (not sure when this is done through the career progression yet).

Any help would be much appreciated.

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Anonymous replied on May 16, 2020


Your opportunities for career advancement depend upon building the right skill set at each stage of your career.

Business Analyst level - you need to focus mainly on hard skills (Excel, Power Point), be very strong at adopting your way of working, based on feedback from your peers. Your key KPI - decrease number of repeated mistakes on your slides, etc. Also invest your effort in socializing across the firm.

Senior business analyst - you have to focus on your personal efficiency and stream management skills. This includes developing soft skills and multitasking. To be a star at this level you need to demonstrate potential to execute your stream without senior colleagues involvement.

Associate - you need to develop soft skills set stronger as you would have to manage client and EM expectations and coach junior colleagues.

Engagement manager - to excel as engagement manager you need to manage multiple senior stakeholders, develop strong leadership potential to lead the whole team and start managing the budget of the project. The best engagement managers are the ones who develop strong client relationships without much partner time investment.



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Anonymous B on Jan 24, 2022

This was really helpful

Content Creator
updated an answer on May 26, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

There's a few ways to break this down.

First: Read the 25 tips in my consulting handbook here:


Second: In terms of things you can learn/do to prepare beforehand:

1) Daily Reading

  • The Economist, The Financial Times, BCG/Mskinsey Insights

2) Industry deep-dives

  • Learn, in-depth, how the industries/companies your office advises, work. (PM me for an industry overview template)

3) Analytics tools

  • Alteryx, Tableau, etc.

4) Excel

5) Powerpoint

  • Best practices/standards
  • Different layouts
  • Quickly editing/updating slides
  • Thinking in PowerPoint

6) Presentation skills / sharp communication

  • There are some online/virtual classes for this


Third: In terms of doing well in your role when you're there:

1) Understand the context/prompt (what role are you in, what company, who's watching, etc.)

2) Understand the objective (what, specifically, is expected from you...both day to day, and in your overall career progression)

3) Quickly process information, and focus on what's important - Take a lot of information and the unknown, find the most logical path, and focus on that.

4) Be comfortable with the unknown, and learn to brainstorm - think/speak like an expert without being one

In summary, there will always be a flood of information, expectations, competition etc. and not enough time. Find out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

Fourth: Here are some great prior Q&As for you!

Finally, if anyone interested in trying out cases that deal with other impacts of COVID-19, check out these two cases:


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Content Creator
replied on May 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


On top of McKie, see here for other MBBs.

For me it´s always been confusing!


  • Analyst
  • Associate
  • Engagement Manager
  • Associate Partner
  • Partner


  • Associate
  • Consultant
  • Project Leader
  • Principal
  • Partner


  • Associate Consultant
  • Consultant
  • Case Team Leader/Manager
  • Principal
  • Partner

Hope it helps!



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Anonymous replied on May 18, 2020

Dear A,

First, accept my congratulation to your offers with McKinsey London! Absolutely well-done! Given that this is the most competitive office in the world.

For candidates like you, who have already secured the offer with a leading consulting firm, I have designed my program "Get ready for the first 100 days " as well as long-term career planning. This program touches all the important aspects: the mindset, the skills, knowledge, networking and ,managing yourself as well, your bosses and clients - everything that is important in your successful career.

In fact, I'm sharing my knowledge of 6 years career experience in consulting, where I was able to land on the fast track promotion and to be promoted from consultant to a project manager just within 3 years, which is extremely fast.

Happy to share these insights with you, feel free to reach out directly to me.

Good luck,


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