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McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm

 
#1 McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
13/01/2009 17:41

anonymous

How amazing is this. McKinsey has this reputation but it's all smoke and "translucent green mirrors" - a popular decor in their offices. While interviewing, I could hear the interviewers exchange jokes about me and other candidates right outside my interviewing room. Did they think I couldn't hear. I guess this is what they mean when they say they have a "fun" culture.

To be honest I wasn't too impressed with their consultants. While explaining to them my mathematical reasons for one of my answers, the interviewer, a partner I believe, seemed dumb-founded. Perhaps a little above his head. They later said that I didn't have the mathematical skills for the job. Oh McKinsey, please tell my Columbia math professors who I think would whole-heartedly disagree.

I give a solid "A" to their marketing department for creating this reputation of theirs. Probably explaining how they can charge their exorbitant consulting fees - well above the mean but not indicative of their number crunching abilities - which they tout. They certainly go overboard with displaying the pedigrees of some of their consultants on their web-site. But I can say that having that pedigree, it just merely conjures up popular notions about some sort of superiority. The pedigree has some great brand equity though, which McKinsey seems to pride themselves on, and sells to the highest bidder. As I said, I guess there's one born every minute.

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#2 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
13/01/2009 18:00

Mck to anonymous (#1)

You sound like a very very very, very little angry and bitter man.

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#3 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
13/01/2009 19:30

anon. to Mck (#2)

How do you know it's a man ?

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#4 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
13/01/2009 22:24

?? to Mck (#2)

I agree with annon.

McK (presumably it's McKinsey),

1. how do you know annonymous is a man? If you're from McKinsey, I thought it always teaches it's consultant's to gather facts?

2. If you were in "anonymous", wouldn't you be pi*sed off as well? - Hearing the supposedly professional consultants making fun of you behind your back and worse, prior or after your interview?

3. And I don't think "anonymous" is bitter at all. Angry, yes maybe - wouldn't reasonable person with the right mind be?

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#5 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 11:05

you got it! to ?? (#4)

Try to see it from this perspective:

You didn´t fit in - so what? Working with these guys in your team would have make you sad and angry. Be happy, that you escaped from the rabbit hole. ;)

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#6 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 11:24

Cynic to you got it! (#5)

Why not write to their HR department, coping in the Managing Partner, to let them know how disappointed you are that the interviewers were so arrogant and unprofessional as to exchange jokes about you and the other candidates right outside your interviewing room?

To help us understand the situation better, could you share with us some of the "jokes" they were telling each other?

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#7 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 14:34

bob to Cynic (#6)

I had a similar experience but with ACN. There recruitment process was very bad. I was interviewed by HR during the entire process, and I must say they are really stupid - the dumb questions they ask?? makes you wonder who they recruit....

question - why in such a big consultancy does this happen?? I know IB's that when you get to assessment centre's etc. only managers and above are involved

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#8 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 14:53

Anon to bob (#7)

I agree about the ACN experience. I felt that the corny questions asked during their interview were more appropriate for something like an episode of Blind Date than a job interview. I practically had to reverse-engineer some of them in real-time as they were being asked in order to work out what little "keywords" they were looking for in my answer. It all felt very scripted, as if there was no room for interpretation or discretion - as if you either got the "right" answer and hence a tick in each box or you didn't. Their application forms were also a bit like that too. For instance, You got a 2.1 in Disco Studies from Plymouth Polytechnic? Great - you meet our criteria of 2.1 or above - come along for an interview! Got a 2.2 in astrophysics with advanced mathematics from Cambridge? BUZZ... sorry, only 2.1 or above accepted. It all hardly leaves people with much opportunity to show their "tiger" side in my opinion.

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#9 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 16:27

bob to Anon (#8)

Is there any use in complaining, I for one think they wouldn't care? My mate was at an ACN interview earlier this year, and the interviewee kept on receiving telephone calls, which in all politeness he answered and then quickly ran through more questions…very professional!

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#10 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 17:33

anon to bob (#9)

Which McK office was this?

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#11 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 20:11

jill to anon (#10)

A few years back, I encountered similar unprofessionalism at a deloitte tech consulting open evening. After an introductory presentation, we were invited to talk to some of their consultants to get a feel for the company. Many of their consultants were fine but with others, it felt more like they were interviewing me than the other way around. We were given slips of paper with our name on to hand to the people we talked to so that they knew who we were and could write their opinion of us down. Some of their questions were way too intrusive and aggressive for an open evening and quite arrogant at times. I was guarded in my responses and some of the employees were making fun and winking at each other over my shoulder. It was quite an unpleasant experience at the time but I wouldn’t want to work in a culture like that anyway.

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#12 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
14/01/2009 20:24

Anon to jill (#11)

I went to a PA evening like that. A couple of the people there really put me off because of their double-speak and air of superiority. I thought to myself, "if they're like this to people they're trying to impress, what on earth are they like once they've got you"

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#13 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
15/01/2009 12:36

Bolingbroke to Anon (#12)

Some people here are missing the point.

Surely it is ridiculous to expect a firm like ACN, which recruits thousands of staff, not to have a standardised procedure? The point is to understand what they are looking for and nail it. If you walk in expecting them to ask you what it was like going to India on your gap year, then it's game over.

If you're put off by the fact that ACN treats you like a number, or that McKinsey has a superior air about it, then it is probably good you don't work there, as these are hallmarks of both organisations (fine as they are).

Recruitment is a window into a firm's soul. If you don't like their processes it may imply you shouldn't work there.

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#14 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
15/01/2009 14:20

bob to Bolingbroke (#13)

<Recruitment is a window into a firm's soul. If you don't like their processes it may imply you shouldn't work there.>

What a load of c***p......I worked at ACN an there interview process does not reflect at all the people you work with on projects!....the only thing it does reflect is that what is said about the recrutiment process internally and about HR is correct....they are pretty useless..

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#15 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
15/01/2009 14:37

bob to bob (#14)

"Recruitment is a window into a firm's soul. If you don't like their processes it may imply you shouldn't work there."

What a load of c***p......I worked at ACN an there interview process does not reflect at all the people you work with on projects!....the only thing it does reflect is that what is said about the recrutiment process internally and about HR is correct....they are pretty useless..

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#16 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
15/01/2009 22:13

PA Lurker to Anon (#12)

"I went to a PA evening like that. A couple of the people there really put me off because of their double-speak and air of superiority. I thought to myself, "if they're like this to people they're trying to impress, what on earth are they like once they've got you"

As a PA insider I'm sorry if you had that experience as that's honestly not been my experience of working across a good number of projects with PA Colleagues from a number of practices.

I guess all firms have people with strong personalities, and I dare say that this is no more true at PA because we tend not to have a "typical" PA person.

My own assessment is that on the whole, my colleagues are a friendly, approachable and good humoured bunch. They are also a pretty unassuming lot given some the really tangible results that our teams strive to deliver for our clients.

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#17 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
16/01/2009 09:23

Anon to PA Lurker (#16)

Hi PA Lurker,

Before I went to that event, I really thought PA was the kind of company I wanted to work for - down to earth, intelligent people who get the job done then go home to spend time with their families rather than hanging about in the office etc. Certainly not a political organisation or a jet-set dedicate-your-life-to-the-city type of place, more a supportive kind of environment where decent people are just doing honest work to earn a honest living. I still want to believe that is true of PA.

However, the recruitment evening was just dreadful. There was a distinct shortage of PA people, and when you did manage to get to speak to one, they were in demand and boy did they know it. I am an experienced consultant (10+ years experience) and encountered all of the following at their event. Other people said the same too, so it wasn't just me.

- Representatives looking over your shoulder or scanning the room as you spoke to them

- The odd bit of highly insulting double-speak (at least two of the people there obviously thought they were amazing at NLP but were, in fact, rubbish at it)

- Some people refusing to give out business cards (yes this actually happened!!) I think they had to make you pick up the generic "Apply now on PA.COM/HR!! cards instead")

- A presentation which gave a confused picture of the company. I think they were trying to be something they were not. I was quite happy to hear about what they do during run-of-the-mill 6-month projects in Basingstoke, but instead they went all "international" and even had one slide with flags of countries they work in. A real put-off.

- Several of their staff gave the distinct impression that they were job hoppers. It made it seem like an unstable, transient kind of place. Eugh.

- The refreshments were rubbish (OK they had some bubbly, but where was the food?! By 7.00pm I was starving)

- No follow-up, thank you, or 'what to do next' after the event

- I left the event knowing no more about PA than I did before (which wasn't an awful lot!), but did leave with an overall worse impression of the company than I had before.

Those are just my personal experiences and I'm sure there are many who would disagree and who thought the event was excellent. I still think PA is a good company but I personally wasn't impressed by the event I attended. Maybe I just had a bad experience, who knows. All I know is that I'll be thinking twice before applying to them in the future.

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#18 RE: McKinsey: Most Overated Consulting Firm
20/01/2009 18:18

Anon to Anon (#17)

On the initial posting, the reasons for (and truth of) McK's brand is an interesting one. For what it's worth, I would say it come from ...

- Impressive investment in though leadership and publication ... any client they've ever served will receive a constant flow of articles and ideas. Some of them are pretty good.

- C-suite access - if they can do one thing it's schmooze anyone with a "C" at the front

- Self belief (and alumni devotion). Because getting in is tough, and the experience is tough, and they have a very strong culture, it does attract a near cult-like respect in its alumni who generally go on to do well

- Good back up - their research capabilities are pretty good.

That said, in my experience they fall down on...

- Collaborative working. They can come across as rather arrogant and only build "trusted advisor" relationships at the very top; seldom in the middle management layers - hence however much they want to play in "implementation and change" they don't normally manage

- Being over ambitious - comes of never implementing anything!

- Dressing mutton as lamb. Second rate ideas, first rate powerpoint!

Based on working alongside and after them on several engagements + plenty of friends who've been through the mill.

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