Living your best life

At McKinsey we work hard and play hard. This isn’t a 9am-5pm job, and we travel to spend meaningful time in-person with our clients. That’s how we make such a big difference and how we build strong relationships with senior leaders, work on challenges that matter, and learn new skills to be at our best.


As a firm, we are committed to making sure our colleagues lead balanced, healthy lives. We hire people who are well–rounded, interesting, passionate individuals and the last thing we want to do is turn them into people who work and only work. We also realize that a full life means different things to different people. For some, it’s keeping weekends free. For others it’s taking a few months a year to volunteer in a foreign country, write a book, or travel.

Colleagues at the Developers' Conference in Brazil

We provide lots of resources to help our colleagues live the lives of their dreams. For example:

  • Team learnings– every engagement kicks off with a team learning. Every member of the team – from the newest business analyst to the most senior partner and sometimes clients – joins to talk about how they work best. We share strengths and development goals and discuss our individual and collective needs.
  • Bi-weekly barometer survey – every other week, our client service teams fill out an anonymous survey to take a pulse on the engagement. Are we adhering to the norms we set in the team learning? Are we living our values? Are we making a big enough difference for our clients? Are our leaders inspiring the team? Of course, we encourage and prefer regular upward and downward feedback sessions and we’ve found this is a great tool to help flag issues teammates may be hesitant to share directly. Results and next steps are discussed as a team, sometimes with the support of professional development managers and senior leaders from outside the project.
  • Mindful travel – our traditional working model used to include travel to the client site Monday through Thursday. Many clients have told us this model is difficult for them to support. Many consultants, like Tarra and Jo, agree.
    Jo inline
    Jo inline
    All our teams now evaluate the best working model for their engagement before beginning work. Sometime consultants spend only two days a week on-site. Sometimes they alternate weeks. There’s no standard model anymore, only customized solutions that work for our clients and our teams.
  • Mobility – many colleagues want to use McKinsey to explore the world, like Vanessa, Dawn and William.We wholeheartedly support this and offer lots of options, like temporary assignments and short and long-term transfers.
  • Dawn inline
    Dawn inline
  • Benefits – McKinsey is known for providing excellent benefits. Specifics vary by country, here are a few highlights:
    • Healthcare &wellness – we provide amazing support for healthcare, vision, dental, mental health support, dependent care and more. We offer gym membership subsidies and other proactive wellness programs.
    • Jill
      Jill, founder of the Dual Career Initiative, and her family
    • Our commitment to parents includes extensive leave benefits for mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents; coaching and support from a dedicated mothers’ network manager; and, a phase back option that helps consultants transition back to work after maternity leave. Our new dual career initiative has become popular in the US and beyond. Fertility support, breast milk shipping, and nursing rooms also make a big difference when they’re needed.
    • Educational support – for anyone who does not have an advanced degree – such as a MBA, JD, or PhD – and wants to earn one, McKinsey offers options for financial support and prearranged offers to return. Case in point, Anna is off to INSEAD. And did we mention our world-class training programs? We invest more than $200M per year so the learning never stops.

For colleagues who need more time away at certain periods in their lives, we provide part-time options. Flexible programs have been a part of our culture for more than 25 years. They’re available to consultants at all tenures and more than 80% of those working part-time are associates and engagement managers. They’re used about equally by men and women. Here are examples of ways our colleagues have used them. Since everyone manages their life differently, we’re open to different models that might suit your situation better; just bring us your ideas:

  • Fiona used a part-time client service model to better meet her client’s needs and continue in her efforts to develop internal knowledge for the firm.
  • Andrea traveled with her newborn for a little while. She went on to take internal roles before returning to client service.
  • Sara and Andrea
    Andrea and Sara
    Sara and Andrea
  • Dawn and many men and women at all tenures have used more traditional part-time models, ranging from 50-90%.
  • Inline
  • Hundreds of consultants have used Take Time, a program that provides an extra 5 to 10 weeks of unpaid time off between engagements. Joelle used her time to pursue theater; Jackie covered competitive figure skating; Alex travelled and relaxed with family; Rahul volunteered in Nepal. Learn to fly, write a book, binge watch Game of Thrones – the time is yours.
  • Ramp off, ramp on – this is a program originally designed to help expectant mothers transition seamlessly out of and back into client work.
  • PACE – this program enables consultants to stay in their current roles longer than normal to reduce the pressure they sometimes feel to fulfill requirements for advancement.
Colleagues volunteering with Habitat for Humanity

If nothing else, we hope these examples inspire you to give consulting and McKinsey a try. It is possible to be a consultant and make your whole life work. If you’d like to learn more, please explore our careers website and apply for an open role to start the process of connecting with us today.

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