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Tim Koller


Tim Koller


Combines broad cross-sector experience with decades of service to clients in value creation, corporate strategy, capital-markets issues, and M&A transactions

Tim is a core leader of the Corporate Finance Practice. During his more than 28 years of consulting, Tim has served clients globally on value creation, corporate strategy, capital-markets issues, and M&A transactions.

Tim is the lead author of Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies. This book—now in its seventh edition—has sold more than 800,000 copies; it is used as a textbook at top business schools such as Wharton School, University of Chicago, MIT, INSEAD, Tuck School of Business, and Northwestern University. Tim is also the lead author of Value: The Four Cornerstones of Corporate Finance, which aims to help senior executives, board members, and nonfinancial executives to understand the linkages between strategic decisions and value creation, as well as to have the courage to focus on true value creation rather than the latest fads and misconceptions.

Examples of his work:

  • corporate strategy: global chemical company, leading diversified industrial company, global agricultural-products company, leading European transportation company, leading specialty pharmaceutical company, European oil and gas company
  • acquisitions/divestitures: global consumer packaged goods, global technology company, leading medical-device company, global chemical company, leading US media company
  • capital structure/share repurchase: global diversified industrial company, global insurance-services company, global information provider
  • investor strategy/communications: global chemical company, European oil and gas company
  • risk management: European energy company, US energy-services company

Tim leads McKinsey's Strategy & Trend Analysis Center, our firm's hub for financial and capital-market analysis and valuation. The group helps clients identify and prioritize value-creating corporate strategies and understand how their shares are valued by the stock market. He also leads our corporate-finance and capital-markets research, including the development and maintenance of our corporate-performance database.

Additionally, Tim is the founder of McKinsey on Finance, our quarterly publication of McKinsey's research on corporate finance. He has written extensively on valuation and capital-markets issues, including articles for the Harvard Business Review and other publications.

Before joining McKinsey, Tim was a vice president at Stern Stewart & Company, a leading value-based management-advisory firm, where he helped develop key financial-analytical tools and software. He has also lectured at business schools, such as the University of Chicago, Northwestern, Tuck, Yale, and INSEAD.

Tim serves as chairman of the board of Pathways to College and is a trustee of Hampshire College.


Creating value: An interactive tutorial,” McKinsey & Company, November 2010

Published work

Keep calm and allocate capital: Six process improvements,” McKinsey & Company, June 2024

Bias Busters: Next in line? A structured approach to succession planning,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2024

The myth of an enduring index premium,” McKinsey & Company, May 2024

Tying short-term decisions to long-term strategy,” McKinsey & Company, May 2024

Bias Busters: Motivations under the microscope,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

Do big companies cut dividends to grow?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

How CFOs can adopt a VC mindset: Staircase Ventures’ Janet Bannister,” McKinsey & Company, October 2023

Five paths to TSR outperformance,” McKinsey & Company, October 2023

Prime Numbers: Successful companies don’t short-change investment in the future,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, September 2023

Capital allocation starts with governance—and should be led by the CEO” McKinsey & Company, June 2023

A word of caution about internal rate of return and sell-downs,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, May 2023

The true value of share repurchases,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, May 2023

The future of mobility,” McKinsey & Company, April 2023

Bias Busters: The perils of executive typecasting,” McKinsey & Company, March 2023

How you finance M&A won’t affect overall value creation,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, March 2023

Stop obsessing about earnings accretion,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, March 2023

Markets versus textbooks: Calculating today’s cost of equity,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Don’t use multiples to measure M&A success, please,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, January 2023

Tim Koller on the timeless truths of corporate finance,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

Rethink performance metrics when inflation is high,” blog entry, McKinsey & Company, October 2022

Looking back: What does the ‘long term’ really mean?,” McKinsey & Company, September 2022

Bias busters: When good intentions get derailed,” McKinsey & Company, August 2022

Understanding the SEC’s proposed climate risk disclosure rule,” McKinsey & Company, June 2022

Reflections on 20 years of McKinsey on Finance—and three challenges ahead,” McKinsey Quarterly, June 2022

Bias Busters: When the crowd isn’t necessarily wise,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

Bias busters: A better way to brainstorm,” McKinsey & Company, January 2022

When bigger isn’t always better,” McKinsey Quarterly, December 2021

Reports of corporates’ demise have been greatly exaggerated,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

Which metrics really drive total returns to shareholders?,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

How executives can help sustain value creation for the long term,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

Don’t overthink your approach to valuation in emerging markets,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

In conversation: The impact of COVID-19 on capital markets,” McKinsey & Company, June 2021

Should you start issuing EPS guidance again?,” McKinsey & Company, March 2021

Four regions, four stories of recovery and resilience,” McKinsey & Company, March 2021

Accounting for values and valuation,” McKinsey & Company, March 2021

How capital markets keep us connected,” McKinsey & Company, February 2021

Are scenarios limiting your pandemic recovery strategy?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Why ‘digital’ is no different when it comes to valuation,” McKinsey & Company, October 2020

Wall Street versus Main Street: Why the disconnect?,” McKinsey & Company, October 2020

Navigating COVID-19: Advice from long-term investors,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Bias busters: War games? Here’s what they’re good for,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

When investors call: How your business should talk about coronavirus,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

Bias busters: Seeing strategy alternatives in the momentum case,” McKinsey Quarterly, March 2020

Five ways that ESG creates value,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2019

Bias busters: Avoiding snap judgments,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2019

Bias busters: Getting both sides of the story,” McKinsey Quarterly, September 2019

Bias busters: Knowing when to kill a project,” McKinsey Quarterly, July 2019

Bias busters: Premortems: Being smart at the start,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2019

Bias busters: Up-front contingency planning,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2019

Bias busters: Pruning projects proactively,” McKinsey Quarterly, February 2019

Bias busters: Being objective about budgets,” McKinsey Quarterly, September 2018

Bias busters: Taking the ‘outside view,’McKinsey Quarterly, September 2018

Debiasing the corporation: An interview with Nobel laureate Richard Thaler,” McKinsey & Company, May 2018

How to know when better profit margins aren’t better for your company,” McKinsey & Company, January 2018

"Should assessing financial similarity be part of your corporate portfolio strategy?," McKinsey & Company, November 2017

"Look out below: Why returns are headed lower, and what to do about it," McKinsey & Company, November 2016

"Bracing for a new era of lower investment returns," McKinsey & Company, July 2016

"Are share buybacks jeopardizing future growth?," McKinsey & Company, October 2015

"The new global competition for corporate profits," McKinsey Global Institute, September 2015

Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, John Wiley & Sons, August 2015

"Getting a better handle on currency risk," McKinsey & Company, July 2015

"A hidden roadblock in public-infrastructure projects," McKinsey & Company, June 2015

"The real business of business," McKinsey & Company, March 2015

"Are you getting all you can from your board of directors?," McKinsey & Company, November 2014

"What's behind this year's buoyant market?," McKinsey & Company, October 2014

"Goodwill shunting: How to better manage write-downs," McKinsey & Company, June 2014

"Building a better income statement," McKinsey & Company, November 2013

Value: The Four Cornerstones of Corporate Finance, John Wiley & Sons, November 2010

Past experience

Stern Stewart & Company
Vice president


University of Chicago

Loyola Marymount University
BS, economics and accounting