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Adventures in New Ventures for our returning entrepreneurs

Dayne Myers joined McKinsey in 1991 as a consultant, left to run six companies over 25 years, and returned this year to lead our Cyber Solutions group.

– In 1988, Harvard Law School graduate Dayne Myers joined McKinsey as a consultant. In 1991, he left to follow his passion as an entrepreneur and went on to run six technology companies, including a fantasy-sports business and a cybersecurity software firm that he cofounded. Then earlier this year, a quarter century after his last day at McKinsey, Dayne rejoined the firm. Today he runs our Cyber Solutions group, which helps clients assess and improve their digital security.

Dayne is one of a growing number of experienced entrepreneurs who have returned to McKinsey to help us develop new solutions and services. “The firm has always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he says. “The difference today is that there are a lot more opportunities to build something.”

Holger Klarner
Holger Klarner is another returnee. A McKinsey consultant in Berlin from 2002 to 2009, he went on to run a clean-energy start-up and several business units at a major utility before rejoining in January to help lead our Growth Tech Practice. The practice, which started as an experiment, serves fast-growing technology companies by combining short, high-impact consulting projects with insights drawn from proprietary assets such as the SaaSRadar benchmarking database. “The firm changed dramatically even in the 6 years I was away,” says Holger.

Michelle Koh Potts
Michelle Koh Potts echoes this sentiment: “People are working on cool products that didn’t even exist 6 years ago.” Michelle was a McKinsey consultant in Miami and San Francisco for 4 years until 2010, when she joined Zynga, the gaming company best known for social-media blockbuster FarmVille. She also worked with a variety of start-ups before rejoining us in June as a solutions leader, working to develop data and software-based solutions for fast-growing tech clients.

To help foster these innovations, earlier this year we created New Ventures, which comprises more than 1,000 professionals (including over 800 analysts and data scientists) working on a broad portfolio of new ways to serve clients. Also new this year: a New Ventures competition, which gives entrepreneurs across the firm the chance to compete for funding, coaching, and an opportunity to launch their idea as a start-up within McKinsey. Winners are announced every 4 months.

“The competition gives us a new way to quickly line up firm energy and resources behind the best ideas,” says Daniel Pacthod, a senior partner who leads New Ventures. “Great ideas can come from anywhere. The danger is that they remain only ideas.”

Dayne remembers laughing aloud when the co-founder of his cyber software company suggested that McKinsey was particularly well positioned to have a significant impact in cybersecurity. “At the time, I scoffed at the idea that McKinsey would ever do cybersecurity. Now here I am helping to lead the very idea I scoffed at.”