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Jacob Bryant

Partner, Seattle
Jake helps education organizations improve learner outcomes, strengthen their financial sustainability, and better harness technology.

About Jake

Jake’s client service and research focuses on improving the performance of education institutions and systems, with a particular emphasis on improving access, persistence, and learning outcomes for historically disadvantaged and underserved students. Over the course of his career, he has worked with over 300 education organizations in 35 countries and 30 US states, including many of the leading public and private universities, school districts, technology companies, non-profit organizations, philanthropists, and investors.

Examples of Jake’s recent work include the following:

  • In PK-12, he has focused on helping systems, teachers, and students transition successfully to remote and online learning environments during COVID-19, plan for the safe reopening of schools, and better attract, retain, and develop teachers and leaders.


  • In higher education, he has focused on helping institutions navigate the COVID-19 crisis, improve the learning and employment outcomes of their students, launch or reinvigorate online and blended degree and certificate programs, and transform their financial sustainability.


  • In adult learning, Jake has worked with several large employers and their training providers to build workforce development strategies, with an emphasis on helping workers upskill or reskill for emerging needs in IT, healthcare, and frontline management.


  • Jake has worked extensively with curriculum and technology providers and investors, ranging from philanthropy to private equity to double bottom line mandates, including developing investment strategies for school operators and curriculum and technology providers, developing applications to relieve the administrative burden of faculty and administrators, and in reskilling and upskilling solutions for working adults.

Prior to returning to McKinsey in 2013, Jake served as a program officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he launched and led an investment portfolio in their US education division. He began his career as a middle school teacher, first in Yokohama and later in Los Angeles. He holds a Bachelor’s from Harvard College and lives in Seattle with his wife and two kids.



Safely back to school after coronavirus closures,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020 (with corresponding webinar)

School system priorities in the age of coronavirus,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020 (with corresponding webinar) and system leader toolkit developed with UNESCO


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

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

Coronavirus: How should US higher education plan for an uncertain future?” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

How artificial intelligence will impact K-12 teachers,” McKinsey & Company, January 2020

Drivers of student performance: Insights from North America,” McKinsey & Company, December 2017

The High Performing Ed Tech Sales Rep,” FUEL by McKinsey, April 2017 

Three more reasons why US education is ready for investment,”  McKinsey & Company, November 2016

Why US education is ready for investment,” McKinsey on Investing, Number 2, Summer 2015

Past Experience

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Program Officer, Education

Social Studies & Literacy Teacher