About Li-Kai

Li-Kai Chen is a partner in McKinsey’s Kuala Lumpur office. He leads our global Education Practice in Asia, and works extensively with public- and private-sector clients in education and other sectors on large-scale transformations and other strategic challenges.

In education, Li-Kai serves governments, agencies, ministries, and school systems on topics including school system reform, private-education strategy, educational investments, public-private partnerships, and public-sector delivery. His recent projects have included:

  • supporting the ministry of education of an Asian country in developing a blueprint and delivery unit to transform the national education system, raise standards, and close achievement gaps
  • advising on a national 5-year plan to broaden access to vocational, technical, and skills training, including initiatives to improve enrollment rates, establish dual-pathway systems, and revamp student funding
  • helping to design a national framework for public-private partnerships in schools, including setting up performance contracts, facilitating stakeholder engagement, and supporting the selection and evaluation of school operators

Li-Kai also works with private-sector clients in Asia, the Middle East, and the United States on large-scale organizational transformations, corporate finance and investment, and regulatory management. He has:

  • supported two leading Southeast Asian insurers with post merger management, including developing a merger master plan, setting targets for value creation, building capabilities, and reconfiguring retail branch networks and multichannel operations
  • helped a leading Southeast Asian bank to turn around and transform its SME banking business, develop an enhanced operating model, and revamp its risk-managment systems

In his spare time, Li-Kai serves on the board of trustees of Teach for Malaysia, an organization committed to ending educational inequity. Before joining McKinsey, he worked in investment banking with Barclays Capital and as a quantity surveyor with Balfour Beatty.

Published work

Partnering for outcomes: Public-private partnership for school education in Asia,” McKinsey & Company, October 2014

The $250 billion question: Can China close the skills gap?,” McKinsey & Company, June 2013

Past experience

Barclays Capital

Balfour Beatty
Quantity surveyor and cost engineer


Harvard Business School
MBA, business administration

University of Reading
MSc, risk management

University of Central England
BSc, quantity surveying