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Emma Dorn

Senior Knowledge ExpertBay Area

Supports education donors, foundations, systems, and institutions to improve education outcomes and equity for all students, with a focus on post -COVID-19 learning recovery, and harnessing technology for student learning

Emma leads knowledge development and dissemination for McKinsey’s education work around the globe. She also serves clients across the public, private, and social sectors including school systems, higher-education institutions, technology companies, bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations, and educational not-for-profit organizations.

Emma’s areas of focus include improving access to, and quality of, education for historically underserved populations, supporting efforts to meet the sustainable development goal for education (SDG4), applying advanced analytics for social impact, and applying technology to improve teaching and learning. She has also shaped recent thinking on how school systems can respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and reimagine more equitable school systems emerging from the crisis.

Published Work

Spark & Sustain: How all of the world’s school systems can improve learning at scale,” McKinsey & Company, February 2024

What it would take for US schools to fully recover from COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, August 2023

Behind the scenes of Mississippi’s school turnaround with Carey Wright,” McKinsey & Company, August 2023

Lessons in leadership: Transforming struggling US K–12 schools,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

COVID-19 learning delay and recovery: Where do US states stand?,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Halftime for the K–12 stimulus: How are districts faring?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

How COVID-19 caused a global learning crisis,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

COVID-19 and education: An emerging K-shaped recovery,” McKinsey & Company, December 2021

COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

The growing opportunity gap & the breakthrough model: An integrated intervention for student support and a teacher pipeline beyond the pandemic,” Breakthrough Collaborative, April 2021 

Teacher survey: Learning loss is global—and significant,” McKinsey & Company, March 2021

Estimating Covid learning loss,” American Enterprise Institute, January 2021

From Predicting to Preventing—Avoid Learning and Economic Losses from Becoming Reality,” ExcelinEd, December 2020

COVID-19 and learning loss—disparities grow and students need help,” McKinsey & Company, December 2020

Higher education enrollment: Inevitable decline or online opportunity?” McKinsey & Company,” November 2020

Reimagining a more equitable and resilient K–12 education system,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Back to school: A framework for remote and hybrid learning amid COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

New global data reveal education technology’s impact on learning,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

Safely back to school after coronavirus closures,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

School-system priorities in the age of coronavirus,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Rising costs and stagnating completion rates: Who is bucking the trend?” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The rising toll of student debt: More than graduates can sustain?” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

The leerKRACHT foundation: Continuous improvement in Dutch education,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

An interview with former Peruvian Minister of Education Jaime Saavedra,” McKinsey & Company, September 2019

Education reform in Norway: Looking beyond politics to bring sustained change,” McKinsey & Company, June 2019

Bringing major improvements to education in Colombia,” McKinsey & Company, May 2019

Past Experience

Millennium Promise Alliance, Inc.
Interim executive director

Business development advisor


Harvard University

University of Cambridge
BA, geography