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Short, clear introduction into management consultancy
on 29 December 2002
McKinsey & Company is a world-famous strategic consulting company, also known as "The Firm". Ethan Rasiel worked at McKinsey & Co. for several years and provides a quick, clear introduction into management consulting firm's problem solving methods. "I wrote this book with the goal of communicating new and useful skills to everyone who wants to be more efficient and effective in business. ... In addition, this book will give any executive woho works with management consultants, whether McKinsey or elsewhere, some insight into how these strange beings think."
The book is split up into five parts. In Part I, Ethan Rasiel explains the McKinsey-way of thinking about business problems. The author explains that the solution of the problem needs to be fact-based (facts are friendly), rigidly structured (MECE = mutually exclusive), and hypothesis-driven (solve the problem at the first meeting - the initial hypothesis). In addition, the author explains how McKinsey-ites approach business problems and apply the McKinsey problem-solving process to maximum effect. There is also a short introduction into a number of rules which McKinsey-consultants use for problem-solving purposes: the 80/20-rule, find the key drivers, the elevator test - sell in 30 seconds, make a chart every day, look at the big picture, say "I don't know", and don't accept "I have no idea".
In Part II, the author introduces the McKinsey-way of working to solve business problems. The author explains the selling process at McKinsey (the Firm does not sell, it markets), how to structure an engagement, and assembling of a team. Then the author comes to the most important part of the book, doing research, conducting interviews (the author insists on reading Chapter 8 - Conducting Interviews - "If you read no other chapter of the book from start to finish, read this one."), and brainstorming.
In Part III, the author, and the McKinsey-way of selling solutions. This part discusses the way McKinsey makes presentations, which is one of the strongest parts of McKinsey according to the author, displays data with charts (read Gene Zelazny (1985), 'Say it with Charts'), and the way to work with clients.
In Part IV, Rasiel gives some lessons how "McKinsey-ites" have learned for coping with the stresses of life at the Firm, and in Part V, the author recounts the lessons he learned at McKinsey and shares memories of various ex-McKinsey-ites. Both Part IV and V are 'a waste of paper' in comparison to the first three parts, but gives a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes at McKinsey & Co.
Yes, I can understand that some readers are disappointed by this book as it gives just an introduction into management consultancy (and McKinsey & Co). The author introduces the various problem-solving methods and tools, but does not discuss them in great detail. For more details on these methods and tools you will have to read some other literature. The book uses simple US-English.