THE BLOG
01/16/2014 08:58 am ET | Updated Mar 18, 2014

McKinsey Junior -- The Jump 'Outside the Box' (Part 2)

Continued from McKinsey Junior - The Jump 'Outside the Box' (Part 1)

It is difficult to think 'Outside the Box' if you are in the box.

That is true for all companies and it is also true for management consulting firms.

It is not likely that McKinsey has not tried to adapt its business model. One successful example is the previously mentioned McKinsey Solutions, which works without the active involvement of a McKinsey team, an idea which originally caused quite some uproar within the McKinsey ranks. And the other very successful example is McKinsey's BTO.

Why is it so difficult for consulting firms to reinvent themselves?

It might be that the success of a business model makes it more difficult to change what worked so far so well. Or maybe it is the know-how which McKinsey has collected over all this years and has passed on so successfully to their young talent pool like a doctrine, that makes it harder to break out of the existing business model. Any such idea might feel like blasphemy, which associates who want so much what the McKinsey partners have, will likely try to avoid committing.

Some solutions just cannot be found from within an organization.

The greatest strength is also the greatest weakness.

Even when a company is on the top of the game, it should dare to change the way to play the game going forward.

One has to look no further than to Tiger Woods, the world's No 1 golfer. He committed twice to an overhaul of his swing and both times after an historic feat. First after winning the Masters 1997 by 12 strokes and after winning seven of eleven majors in a run that ended 2002. Woods had never regretted his decision.

As Woods explained it "People thought it was asinine for me to change my swing after I won the Masters by 12 shots, like, 'Why would you want to change that?' " he said. "Well, I thought I could become better. I've always taken risks to try to become a better golfer, and that's one of the things that has gotten me this far."

Obviously one thing that McKinsey has plenty of is talent. But maybe it is a talent pool which is more attracted to McKinsey's world than to Apple's, Amazon's or Google's world.

Therefore one can only assume that if you do not fit in the traditional McKinsey world, it might be implied that candidates should not apply. What a shame.

You might find some McKinsey Junior talent also within other consulting firms, but it is not unlike cooking, where one recipe not necessarily produces the same desired result when prepared by different cooks, and actually often quite the opposite.

Some key qualifications one needs to work for McKinsey Junior are: exceptional technology or science talent, passion, out of the box thinking, doer mentality, determination, entrepreneurial, and strong customer focus.

A legitimate question would be why should someone want to work for McKinsey Junior, if the same talent is very much in demand at the same technology companies McKinsey Junior wants to attract as clients?

The answer might lie in the fact that there are enough people out there, who would prefer not to advise or work for one giant technology company but rather for many. It would make their work so much more interesting.

What should not be underestimated is the attractiveness of a high-energy work environment, working together with the smartest people and the non-traditional corporate lifestyle for top talent to join McKinsey Junior.

Besides the McKinsey Junior employee can always decide to take up later an offer from one of the technology companies, which would not hurt McKinsey Junior or McKinsey but make it actually stronger. It is very well-known that McKinsey alumni hire their old firm when they need help, so one can assume the same for McKinsey Junior alumni.

McKinsey Junior is basically a company which might be not very different from what one would expect finding in Silicon Valley.

It was Marvin Bower (1903-2003), who is considered the father of modern management consulting who shaped McKinsey with his personal and business values. Bower had also defined the McKinsey dress code: dark suits, hats, and garters.

It took Bower three years after the fact, that John F. Kennedy did not wear a hat at his inauguration in 1961, to come to the office without a hat and therefore change his defined McKinsey dress code.

One can only guess what Bower would have thought of the McKinsey Junior casual dress code.

Bower's original McKinsey dress code was supposed to build confidence and an identity with its clients. The new casual dress code of McKinsey Junior does exactly that, it builds confidence and a new identity with the Internet companies it wants so much to win over.

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McKinsey Junior Advantages

1) Internet and technology companies will be attracted to the unique pool of talent.

2) Newly acquired clients will also be the clients of the future.

3) Top talents who do not want to work in a traditional corporate environment will be attracted.

4) The McKinsey reputation will be strengthened.

5) McKinsey will be able to serve an even broader spectrum of client needs and this is more credible.

6) The McKinsey Junior halo effect will have a positive impact on McKinsey's top and bottom-line growth.

One can say many bad or good things about McKinsey, but it is clear that they will stay relevant in the consulting world for the big companies for years to come, but maybe not for all big companies and maybe not for the giants of the Internet economy.

McKinsey Junior is a small step for the firm, but maybe a huge step for McKinsey's future.

The biggest risk is not taking any risk."

-- Mark Zuckerberg (1984), founder, Chairman & CEO of Facebook Inc.

Back to McKinsey Junior - The Jump 'Outside the Box' (Part 1)