McKinsey & Company (IT Consulting)

THE SCOOP

What'd you expect?

Though not as universally known for its business technology expertise, McKinsey is nonetheless a powerful force in the technology consulting field. The firm's tech practice, created in 1997, is known as the Business Technology Office. The structure of projects undertaken by the practice is similar to those of the management consulting practices in that the consultants work in teams, but they may be drawn from any McKinsey office. Additionally, the client's experts tend to work alongside the team as part- or even full-time members. Services include near-shoring and offshoring of end-to-end operational processes; IT architecture; IT cost assessment; IT governance and organization; and IT in operations, such as enterprise resource planning and software configuration management. Among the industries targeted are banking, insurance, telecom, information services and software, media and entertainment, healthcare, and the public and retail sectors.

The firm's other practices include corporate finance, marketing and sales, operations, organization and strategy, and serve most of the same industries as BTO. Clients and engagements are protected by strict confidentiality agreements, but it's still well known that the firm has worked with some of the world's biggest and most powerful organizations. In all, it fields more than 16,000 consultants, and has 90 offices in more than 50 countries.

No free pass for techies

The firm was founded in Chicago in 1926 by James O. McKinsey, a professor at the University of Chicago, though he would be little more than a namesake, leaving the company in the 1930s and having had little influence on what it would ultimately become. Then again, his departure did pave the way for Marvin Bower, who became managing director in 1950 and started McKinsey on its path to iconic status. Bower believed there was a strict standard involved in doing business. He drew up a code of conduct for the firm, still used today, that states: Client interests must take precedence over company interest; the end value of a project for a client should always exceed the cost of that project; only active partners can be owners of the firm; and staff must be loyal and capable of superior work. Business technology consultants are no exception; they take on the code of conduct the moment they take on the mantle of McKinseyite.

In good company

Engineers and computer experts feeling especially pressured by the code of conduct can take comfort in knowing they're part of an elite group. McKinsey is known for bringing in the best of the best, whether it's raw, malleable talent or decorated veterans. Rhodes Scholars, law review editors, PhDs and even nuclear physicists are all on the payroll. From this high-brow talent pool, managing directors of the firm are elected by senior partners, in a process that has been likened in some media outlets to electing a new Pope. White smoke aside, one crucial difference between the McKinsey MD and the Pontiff is the notion of term limits; McKinsey elections are held every three years, with the incumbent eligible for no more than three consecutive terms. Having first been elected in 2003, the phrase "current head Ian Davis" changed to "outgoing head Ian Davis" in February 2009 when Dominic Barton was named as Davis' successor -- an appointment effective July 2009. A U.K. native, Davis has been with McKinsey for nearly 30 years. His replacement, meanwhile, is a native of Canada, one of the aforementioned Rhodes Scholars at the firm (he, like Davis, attended Oxford University), and has been with the firm since 1986. He is also an expert on Asia, having spent 11 years working for McKinsey in the region -- a period that includes five years heading the firm's Seoul office, and five in Shanghai as leader of the overall Asian operation.

A February 2009 Financial Times article announcing Barton's election alluded to some clues as to what to expect from him during the present economic uncertainty. "A clue may be found," the reporter notes, "in an article titled How to win in a financial crisis that Mr. Barton co-wrote in 2002: 'For executives willing to make bold moves, a crisis can be a burning platform that creates an opportunity to change corporate culture and operations drastically,' it said."



McKinsey & Company (IT Consulting)


55 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 446-7000
Fax: (212) 446-8575
www.mckinsey.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Director: Dominic Barton
  • 2010 Employees: 15,000

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY

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