While we say you can “Make Your Own McKinsey”—which means you can create new paths outside of our current structure—it helps to understand how we're built right now. Broadly speaking, there are those who work in consultant roles, and the many people who enable our consultants to succeed by delivering different levels of support and assistance.
Types of consultants at McKinsey
General and practice-based consultant positions
These consultants deliver the innovative thinking and business-changing recommendations that are at the core of our client work. They work in small, flexible teams—which typically include client representatives—for the duration of an engagement. Some are generalists and move fluidly from metallurgy to marketing; others stay focused on a practice. Either way, most join us as business analysts or associates, and are promoted based on their contributions.
These are people who’ve worked in a particular industry or function long enough to acquire significant expertise, and choose to focus primarily in that area. They’re the go-to-people who join McKinsey for the opportunity to apply their experience in compelling and challenging new ways. Here, they become consultants associated with a specific practice area, working across a number of client teams to problem-solve in their area of strength and passion. Most subject matter experts join us as specialists or experts, and they advance based on the strength and impact of their contributions.
Non-consulting roles at McKinsey
Knowledge and research positions
McKinsey’s Knowledge Network is unique among consulting firms. Our 1,500-plus knowledge professionals help consultants do what they do best—solve clients’ most important problems—by providing rapid access to specialized expertise and research. With the option of working in more than 70 locations around the world, our knowledge professionals thrive in highly stimulating work environments. They deliver invaluable knowledge and support to client teams, and have the satisfaction of seeing their efforts turn into both recommendations and implementations.