McKinsey short term office exchange

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New answer on Jan 04, 2022
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 04, 2022

Does anyone know if McKinsey offers short term office exchanges if I want to live in a different location for 3-12months? 

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Moritz
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updated an answer on Jan 04, 2022
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It´s technically possible and often done, though it may not always be advisable. There´s generally 2 ways:

  1. >12 months: Some offices offer a program for BAs up to EMs to experience another location, which is typically 12-24 months. This scheme follows a certain cycle/timing and isn´t always available (especially during COVID this has been limited)
  2. <12 months: For anything below 12 months you should get in touch with PD from your home and host location to inquire about getting staffed on projects. This is by far the simplest solution

However, note that "turning your back" on your home location can be harmful in some cases. Especially when you go for projects that are completely disconnected from your office regarding people, content, clients, etc. The opportunity cost here is high since you miss out on building relationships where it really matters - your home location.

 

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Anonymous A on Jan 04, 2022

Thank you! I’ll be joining the London office as a BA - does that mean the international projects I’ll be staffed on will be mostly in EMEA? I’m hoping to live in Asia (Japan or Singapore) for a few months through work. Also, will you be staffed on projects in countries with a language barrier (eg Germany if I can’t speak German)?

Moritz on Jan 06, 2022

Are you joining a particular practice or as a generalist? Generalists typically don’t stray away too much from their home office. From London to Asia is a bit of a stretch but not impossible. However, you have to build your network first and create a strong enough connection to your home base, so that leaving for a while won’t hurt you. As for projects in Germany - depends on the client and your role. If the client generally speaks German (and all documents are in German) you will not get staffed if you don’t speak the language (unless you come in for a few meetings only as an expert). However, there’s plenty of international companies and Germany isn’t too far from London so it’s entirely doable. However, nothing is guaranteed! They say “make your own McKinsey” but you’ll always need support and it’s not just down to you.

Florian
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replied on Jan 04, 2022
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Hey there,

There are 3 possibilities:

1. Staffing: McKinsey has a global staffing model and you have a lot of influence on where you are getting staffed. I was part of the German office and only did one engagement in Germany. That is the easiest way to be somewhere else and can be achieved by networking with EM, APs, and Partners.

2. Short-term move: When I left, they were pushing the opportunities to go for a temporary office transfer between 6 months and 1 year, I believe. This should be discussed with your PD and they will be able to point you in the right direction. Often, such opportunities materialize after being staffed abroad.

3. Long-term move: If you want to fully transfer offices, you need a lot of pull from the target office. It's possible but not as easy and based on your question not what you are looking for anyway. :-)

Cheers,

Florian

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Anonymous A on Jan 04, 2022

Thank you for replying! I’ll be joining the London office as a BA - does that mean the international projects I’ll be staffed on will be mostly in EMEA? I’m hoping to live in Asia (Japan or Singapore) for a few months through work. Also, will you be staffed on projects in countries with a language barrier (eg Germany if I can’t speak German)?

Florian on Jan 04, 2022

It's up to you. It's easier to get staffed in EMEA but it's also possible to be staffed in whatever country you want to be staffed in, provided that the project is in English. In Germany, even though most projects use English as the language, German is mostly required though.

Hagen
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replied on Jan 04, 2022
Current Bain & Company Project Leader and interviewer | 250+ interviews conducted | 6+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • Yes, especially for short-term office exchanges, this can be most easily done project-based, i.e. you will seek out and discuss staffing opportunities of the desired office.
  • However, if you plan on changing office for a longer period of time, I would advise you to first contact both your mentor and HR to address the situation who will know best how to pursue the office exchange.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare your short-term office exchange, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,

Hagen

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Pedro
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replied on Jan 04, 2022
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This is very easy if you get staffed on a project in a foreign country, so this should be your priority. And it's much easier than a short term office chance. 

The reason is simple: for staffing you can apply to any foreign project that needs someone at that point in time. 

For short term office change, you will be applying to a specific office, and they may or may not need additional consultants at that point in time and expect a shortage of staff for a longer period of time. It may also require work permits, etc. While short term permits are easier than long term… it's still more complicated than just being staffed.

So you should focus on staffing. Then, once you do a project there, you can try to get additional staffing in that same office if you are enjoying the experience, or may be lucky enough that the projects gets an extension.

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Udayan
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replied on Jan 04, 2022
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Typically this is done by working on a project based out of that country, which takes some time but is quite doable.  Most transfers are 1 year minimum 

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Ian
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replied on Jan 04, 2022
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Yes! Furthermore, this doesn't even have to be with an office exchange (though that's one way to do it). You can also simply join a 3-12 month project that is internationally staffed.

Best way to make this happen is to do well on the job in your first couple of years. Then, speak to your manager (and network within the firm) to find out your options.

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Clara
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replied on Jan 04, 2022
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Hello!

Yes, feel free to PM me about the topic since I am very familiar with it. 

Cheers, 

Clara

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Moritz

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