Expert with best answer


100% Recommendation Rate

29 Meetings

231 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

McKinsey Hierarchy: The Different Position Levels

Anonymous A asked on Dec 24, 2017 - 5 answers


I am looking at the heraichy of positions in mckinsey london specifically, and to my knowledge (correct me if i am wrong), from bottom to top, the positions are analyst, associate, engagement manager, partners?

Is there any i am missing?

When i am looking at the career website, there are positions such as junior/senior consultant? Does this refer to associate? Where does it fit in the heraichy?

But then again, there are also specific positions on associate? Are these the same roles as the junior/senior consultant?

Thanks and regards,

5 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
updated his answer on Aug 23, 2019
Project leader BCG, Bain and A.T. Kearney / 200+ real interviews
Book a coaching with Jacopo

100% Recommendation Rate

29 Meetings

231 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching


That is correct, the traditional track at McKinsey from bottom to top is Analyst>Associate>Engagement Manager>Associate Partner>Partner. Moving from one position to the next normally takes 1 to 3 years. Each one of the previous role develops from Junior to Senior (e.g. from Junior analyst to Senior analyst).

Many consulting firms have different names for the same type of role but the biggest difference is merely in the naming. To put things in context and from junior to senior roles:

  1. Analyst (McK and ATK) / Associate (BCG and Bain): entry level consultants focus on gathering data/information, analyzing it and delivering it via presentations. They are guided by associates and managers.
  2. Associate (McK and ATK) / Consultant (BCG and Bain): apart from being promoted from analyst, associates typically join after an MBA or relevant work. They usually own a stream/functional area of a project. They independently oversee the work of analysts and develop the project deliverables of their specific stream. Depending on tenure, associates might be involved in client relationship and team’s leadership. Starting from Associate level, consultants interview candidates.
  3. Engagement manager (McK) / Case team leader (BCG) / Manager (Bain)/ Project manager (ATK): are responsible of planning, executing and delivering a consulting project. Their tasks include leading teams, coordinating with all project stakeholders (client and partners), resolving/mediating issues. Managers are also expected to participate to internal events (e.g. holding seminars/trainings for other consultants) and supporting business development opportunities with clients.
  4. Associate partner (McK) / Junior partner (Bain) / Principal (BCG and ATK): they own the project delivery (they typically manage multiple projects at once) and are expected to sell new consulting work.
  5. Partner: they are less involved in the daily execution of a project and focus more on high-level strategy (they are the key owners of project deliverables). A big part of their work is dedicated to selling new consulting assignments to both existing and new clients.

I hope this helps,



Would you know the rough % of candidates that "make it" to each round of promotions? — Ziray on Dec 16, 2018

These % are very well kept within the firms, as well as the % of candidates that make it to each step of the recruitment process. Personally, I would not trust anyone who dares to give an approximation — Clara on Oct 02, 2019

updated his answer on Dec 25, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

365 Meetings

5,412 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching


Actually, it's a bit different at McKinsey:

1) Intern - Internship for students after which you are supposed to get a full-time offer

2) Business Analyst (BA) - an entry role, well-defined, with a strict time frame of 2 years

3) Senior Business Analyst (SBA) - Usually lasts 1-1.5 years. You can get this position on the job offer if you have 1.5-2.5 years of experience prior to consulting

4) Fellow Associate - The short role that some of the candidates may get. There are two possible scenarios:

  • After the interview, if you don't have enough relevant experience for an associate role / performed not perfectly in the interview. If you have never worked in consulting this is a good starting point since you can get more experience before starting to manage projects and have more time to improve if you fail at something
  • As a promotion from SBA position if you are not getting MBA and your performance is not good enough to get a DTA (Direct to Associate promotion)

5) Associate. An associate is a very short-term role - 1-2 years

6) Junior Engagement Manager (JEM) - In a year you'll start leading a project as an Associate and after the first successful project, you'll become a JEM - junior Engagement Manager. After leading several successful projects as a JEM you'll get promoted to an Engagement Manager.

7) Engagement Manager (EM) - basically leading the projects for 2-3 years

8) Associate principal - Leading multiple projects, guiding EMs. 2-3 years

9) Partner

10) Director



Hi, this seems very much aligned with my previous answer. Please note that at McKinsey there are minor differences in naming depending on your office e.g., Business Analysts are called Fellows in some European offices; hence I would suggest to stick to the main roles (e.g. analyst, associate,…) to avoid confusion depending on geographies. B.R. — Jacopo on Dec 25, 2017 (edited)

It’s not a fellow = ba in These European countries but rather ba roles don’t exist at all since the salary levels for fellows are close to ASC and more or less aligned everywhere (except Africa, India, etc) — Vlad on Dec 26, 2017

Would you have % of candidates that "make it" to each round of promotion? i.e. what % of business analysts make it to SBA, then to Associate, then to JEM, then to EM... Thanks! — Ziray on Dec 16, 2018

replied on Oct 02, 2019
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management IE (ranked 3 FT 2017) | MBA candidate at MIT
Book a coaching with Clara

1 Meetings

115 Q&A Upvotes

USD 109 / Coaching


To add a bit more flavour to prior answers: the "know" and "normal" path is Business Analyst > Associate Consultant > Engagement Manager > Associate Partner > Partner (see in other comments the definition of each, since they are pretty well ellaborated)

However, we also need to take into consideration the "internships":

- Summer Business Analyst: 2-6 months summer contracts for people about to finish education

-Summer Asociate Consultant: 2-3 months summer contracts for people during the summer of their MBAs

Furthermore, there are some "intermediate" steps:

- Junior Associate Consultant: people with some previous experience that don´t enter as Business Analyst, but don´t have an MBA

- Junior Engagement Manager: associates transitioning to the new role, normally for 1-2 engagements

Finally, after partner, there is the Senior Partner role.

We also have to take into consideration tht McKinsey is currently offering more paths (e.g., Expert role path, Advance Analytics paths...) that are not exactly like those ones.

Hope it helps!

replied on Sep 23, 2019
Top1 Coach with 100% satisfaction rate | My 30+ mentees already got 50+ offers | Ex Recruiter & PM @ Roland Berger
Book a coaching with Andre

100% Recommendation Rate

18 Meetings

57 Q&A Upvotes

USD 179 / Coaching


further I would say that over the last time companies also tend to introduce additional internal chierarchies which are not always visible to extern.

In order to keep promotion cycles relatively short (12-18 months) companies have started to split existing career levels into informal 1 & 2 sublevels.

I can give you an example how this logic was applied at Roland Berger, but I know that other tier-1 also started to look at this approach.

Previous and current career grades:

Junior Consultant Assistent (Intern) -> Junior Consultant Assistent (Intern) and Masterand (intern in Master's semi final year); The company has started to differentiate the pay for bachelor's and master's intern, while in general significantly increased the salary for interns;

Business/Consulting Analyst -> Business/Consulting Analyst 1 and Business/Consulting Analyst 2. This is an entry position for bachelor graduates. A quick promotion from 1 to 2 is possible after 6 or 12 months depending on your development speed.

Junior Consultant -> Junior Consultant 1 and Junior Consultant 2. This is an entry position for master graduates. A quick promotion from 1 to 2 is possible after 6 or 12 months depending on your development speed.

Consultant -> Consultant 1 and Consultant 2. This is an entry position for PhDs or young professionals with up to 3 years of experience. A quick promotion from 1 to 2 is possible after 6, 12 or 18 months depending on your development speed.

Senior Consultant -> Senior Consultant 1 and Senior Consultant 2. This could also an entry position for PhDs or young professionals with 3-5 years of experience, if they performed very well during the interview. A promotion cycle between 1 and 2 could be 12, 18 or 24 months depending on your development speed. Normally it takes 4-6 years to get from the junior position to the Project Manager (PM) depending on your performance and luck.

Project Manager -> PM 1 and PM 2. Promotion between 12 and 24 months depending on performance. It usually takes another 12-36 months to be promoted from PM2 to Principle depending on your ability to sell projects and sell yourself in front of the partners.

Principle - is the only career level which has not yet been splitted furhter. You need to reach minimum turnover in order to be promoted to the Partner level.

Partner -> P1, P2 and P3. Even on the Partner level there is a huge differentiation. Partner P1 is a newly promoted partner who sells projects for less than 4m Euro/USD. Senior Partner P2 is a more experienced colleague, who is able to sell annually more than 4m Euro/USD. Senior Partner P3 is either a Regional Director or Member of the Management or Supervisory board of the company.

Even though this logic comes from RB, it also applies to McKinsey and other MBB/Tier-1 companies. They only call the career levels differently.

Hope it brings you furhter clarity.



Anonymous replied on Feb 24, 2018

Hey anonymous,

Let me just add to this conversation that McKinsey doesn't have Directors any longer. Since last year, the role was rebranded as Senior Partners (then for the remaining roles/positions, naming conventions may change as referred by Vlad).



Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 33.3k times
4.5 5 835
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you a ... Open whole case