The McKinsey Way

I finished reading The McKinsey Way – Using the Techniques of the World’s Top Strategic Consultants to Help You and Your Business (Ethan M. Rasiel, 1998, 187 pages), and I think it was an enriching experience.

To start with, my motivation to finding and buying this book lays on the fact that I have always admired strategic consultants, since I discovered they existed during my years at the university, where I followed some of their recruiting sessions. I actually went further in the hiring process for BCG, but ended up not getting a job offer there.

Fast-forward a decade and a half, and I got the chance to work closely with some ex-consultants, when I just got remembered how good these guys are at organizing and presenting their business ideas. Hence, my interest in finding a book to read further about the way they work.

And I think this book delivered on my expectations. The concept of MECE (“pronounced mee-see”), for example, is one that I had read about before, but not got a deeper appreciation for until now. It stands for Mutually Exclusive, Collective Exhaustive. Meaning that basically any problem or topic can be divided into individual components that are independent of each other and, together, they cover all that is to say about the issue. The idea behind is giving clarity of thinking and communicating, since non-related ideas are not mixed.

Waterfall chart is another example of something very typical of business consultancy, which is also covered in details in the book.

So, I’m quite happy and recommend this book as a way of understanding how top consultants work. The only remark I have is that the book is a bit dated, and I would not be surprised if some of the ideas are not representative anymore of the reality as it is today. McKinsey is a very traditional firm, and probably its culture persists. But I would be amazed if the new technologies from the last two decades, and other societal changes, would not have impacted on some of the practices the book described. Good reading!

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