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History of our firm




McKinsey founded Generation, a nonprofit focused on tackling global youth unemployment, in 2014. By the end of 2017, it had trained and graduated 16,000+ students across five countries - and placed 82% of them in jobs.

Design thinking

With the acquisition of Lunar (late 2015), followed by Veryday and Carbon12 in 2016, McKinsey Design grows to 350 colleagues across 14 global studios. Our designers and experts work with clients to create groundbreaking products, services and experiences.

McKinsey in Africa

McKinsey opens an office in Nairobi, Kenya, its seventh in Africa, serving clients across public and private sectors. With a focus on hiring locally and an outreach to African universities, McKinsey works to develop the next generation of leaders.

“Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption”

In a Harvard Business Review article, Professor Clayton Christensen concludes that a thriving McKinsey is consciously "disrupting itself" by innovating to meet the rapidly evolving needs of clients.

Digital Labs

Starting as an informal IT service to help clients and McKinsey teams create proofs of concept, Digital Labs grows into a thriving technology provider with more than 250 technologists. This capability helps clients put McKinsey recommendations into practice quickly by using agile development and rapid prototyping to build apps and other custom software.

Model factories

The 11th model factory is added to the McKinsey Operations Practice suite of assets. From the Lean Experience factory outside Venice, Italy to the Green Campus in Singapore (which is dedicated to energy efficiency), these workplaces offer client teams hands-on opportunities to experiment and learn.

Scaling up analytics

With a problem-solving approach grounded in fact-based analysis, McKinsey has always had strong analytic capabilities. The creation of McKinsey Analytics builds on this foundation to provide clients with deep support in designing, creating, interrogating, and maintaining big data models to inform critical business decisions. The team comprises more than 200 experts, including analysts, data scientists, and data architects.




RTS is established to provide restructuring and turnaround support, including interim managers to take the reins at distressed or underperforming companies.

Climate change

McKinsey informs the climate-change debate by publishing the first global greenhouse-gas cost curve to rigorously compare the costs and abatement potential of hundreds of possible actions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. This becomes part of a broader effort in which McKinsey publishes research and advises clients across a variety of Sustainability & Resource Productivity topics.

Tools and solutions

McKinsey Solutions is created as an umbrella for a growing portfolio of web-based tools that provide clients with new ways to access McKinsey knowledge and expertise. Over the following years, its portfolio will grow to encompass more than a dozen solutions, including Energy Insights, Periscope, Organizational Health Index, Horizon 360, Finalta, and Wave.



The third sector

McKinsey embraces the growing importance of not for profits, foundations, and other nongovernmental organizations by creating a practice dedicated to serving them. The Public & Social Sector Practice will come to focus on four areas: economic development, education, global public health, and social innovation.

McKinsey Knowledge Center, India

Knowledge professionals at McKinsey provide consulting teams with rapid access to specialized expertise and business information. Today, the McKinsey Knowledge Network comprises more than 1,500 analysts and experts based in 70 locations globally.

Made in China

McKinsey opens offices in Shanghai and Beijing, cultivating Chinese clients and committing to the development of the country. An early client is a bottled-water company founded by four farmers; within a few years, it will be valued at $200 million. McKinsey's presence in China will grow over the following decade from just a handful of people to more than 300 consultants.

McKinsey women

At a time when only 2 out of 100 US senators are women, McKinsey establishes a global initiative aimed at creating career paths, support, and working environments to help women succeed. McKinsey Women will go on to become a thriving global network and powerful resource that provides formal and informal mentoring, training, and relationship-building opportunities.



Think tank

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) is established as an independent think tank to improve understanding of fundamental economic issues facing organizations globally. By 2015, MGI's research agenda covers competitiveness, financial markets, growth, innovation, labor markets, natural resources, productivity, technology, and urbanization.

A global organization

By the early 1980s, more than half of all McKinsey consultants carry non-US passports. Two years later, the majority of the firm's partners—who jointly own and govern McKinsey—hail from outside the United States.



Beyond geography

Under managing director Ron Daniel, the firm adds individual practices that span geographic boundaries, and each practice focuses on a specific industry. The new industry-focused partners become the firm's first true global experts.


McKinsey opens in Tokyo, Japan—its first office in Asia. This is the starting point from which McKinsey will expand to serve clients across the region from offices in more than ten Asian countries.

Creation of the Universal Product Code

Working with the Uniform Grocery Product Code Council and with manufacturers and retailers of all sizes, McKinsey conceives of a system that assigns a unique code to every product sold in the United States. The development of the agreed-upon scannable linear code is put out to bid, and IBM wins the contract.

Spreading knowledge

The McKinsey Quarterly launches as a vehicle for reprints of articles by McKinsey consultants and external thought leaders. Soon the Quarterly starts to publish original articles and gains an international reputation.

First women MBAs join the firm

In 1963, eight women became the first female students enrolled in Harvard Business School's prestigious MBA program. Three of the women in that class—Jane Glick, Jacqueline Browne, and Joan E. Griewank—join McKinsey as associates.



Crossing the Atlantic

Less than a year after the first generation of jet airliners dramatically reduces transatlantic travel time, McKinsey opens an office in London—its first outside the United States. Within ten years, the firm will have offices in eight countries on three continents.

Toward social impact

With fewer than 100 consultants, McKinsey's partners vote to undertake pro bono work for the Red Cross and other not for profits, establishing a firm-wide commitment to civil society that will continue throughout the firm's history.



Committing to a single firm

With the opening of a San Francisco office (the third, after Chicago and New York), the notion of building a loose network of geographic offices is permanently rejected in favor of a commitment to a single firm with a shared mission and shared resources.

"An Obligation to Dissent"

Marvin Bower, who joined the firm in 1933 and later served as managing director, first articulates the consultant's obligation to advocate for what he or she believes to be true. After helping establish this obligation as part of the firm's core values, Bower will later express it clearly in his 1979 book, Perspective on McKinsey: "When discharged in a client situation, this responsibility [to dissent] is one of our most important controls of quality. When discharged within the firm—and it frequently is—it can strengthen our management substantially."

Invention of management consulting

James O. McKinsey, a University of Chicago professor and expert on management accounting, establishes his eponymous consulting firm. He sets an enduring tone of independence and establishes a commitment to rigorous research and training.