McKinsey alumni are the first to admit that the firm is a bit of a cult. One compared it with the Freemasons, another to the Scientologists. New recruits are given Perspective on McKinsey, written by Marvin Bower, the successor to founder James O McKinsey and the man who made consulting respectable. You cannot buy the book — you have to be in the firm.
Mr. Bower’s wisdom still guides it. His “obligation to dissent” is a core principle. Staff don’t just have a right to disagree with their bosses, they must speak up if they believe that mistakes are being made.
The firm is run as a “caring meritocracy”. Staff are reviewed every six months and if they aren’t moved up they are moved out.
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