McKinsey is opening doors for students facing disadvantage in the UK

Today marks Social Mobility Day, dedicated to promoting and championing equal employment opportunities for all. It’s also when we reinforce our firm’s commitment to social mobility and socioeconomic diversity for the year ahead.

As part of this commitment, we began hosting Student Insight Days in our London office in 2021, in partnership with education charity IntoUniversity. These events are more than just office tours; we invite local secondary-school students to step into the world of consulting. This offers underrepresented students the opportunity to explore potential careers and the core skills they require, helping them to make informed choices about how to shape their educational path.

United Kingdom

McKinsey in the United Kingdom

Explore McKinsey’s London office, meet our team of expert consultants, and learn about how we serve leaders in the United Kingdom’s most dynamic sectors.

During one of our recent Student Insight Days, we hosted 30 secondary students from North London. They met with our consultants, including the London office managing partner Tunde Olanrewaju, and took part in an innovation challenge to design a robot that benefits society.

“Social mobility is central to our firm’s values, reflecting our commitment to being diverse and inclusive. We want everyone with the talent to join McKinsey to feel like they have the opportunity to succeed here, irrespective of their background,” says Philip Barber, a partner at McKinsey. “Almost every time we host these events, students tell us ‘This is a part of McKinsey I didn’t know existed.’ Just having them in the office is eye-opening both for us and them.”

We hosted the event with our partner IntoUniversity, a UK-based charity that provides education programs for students facing disadvantage and barriers to progressing into higher education. Dr. Rachel Carr founded IntoUniversity when she was working with young people at a community center. “I started thinking about what I could do to support them. They’re amazing students—bright, smart, and capable—who just need a little bit of extra help to achieve their fantastic potential.”

McKinsey is opening doors for disadvantaged students in the UK
An IntoUniversity meeting for students
McKinsey is opening doors for disadvantaged students in the UK

What began as a small project with 75 students has grown into a UK-wide organization that works with over 50,000 young people and 372 partner schools. “We’ve been very strategic about going where we are most needed,” Rachel states . “Our centers are based right where young people are— in coastal areas, post-industrial towns, as well as urban locations—basically wherever there’s a need.”

These efforts are facilitated by Prism (Progressing Representation and Inclusion in Social Mobility), McKinsey’s internal community of colleagues passionate about the topic. It was formed in 2019 in the UK and is now active throughout Europe and beyond. Prism is open to all colleagues, and members come from a variety of backgrounds—including colleagues who are the first generation in their family to attend university, those who grew up in low-income or financially insecure households, and allies.


We want McKinsey to feel like home for anyone. The Prism community (‘Progressing Representation and Inclusion in Social Mobility’) is for colleagues interested in social mobility and broadening others’ access to our firm.

Prism members build connections through speaker and community events and volunteer their time to support our recruitment, retention, and outreach activities. In the London office, Prism also hosts events, including with schools, and through client roundtables, to engage leaders on their thinking in the social mobility space. As Peter Cooper, an associate partner at McKinsey says, “Every single year we grow in size, passion, and commitment. I don’t think there’s been a moment in the past five years where it’s felt like we’re slowing down.”

As for what’s next in our work on social mobility, we’re planning to bring more insights to clients on economic diversity and how they can foster more inclusive organizations—including a report on social mobility for employers.

“If young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are not able to access certain careers or industries, then frankly we’re missing a huge amount of talent and not doing all we should be doing for society,” says Philip. “That’s why we’re so excited to continue bringing young people in to learn about our firm and profession.”

Never miss a story

Stay updated about McKinsey news as it happens