McKinsey Ups Hires At Wharton, Tuck, Darden

For many MBA students, the dream job is a stint with McKinsey & Co., the preeminent global consulting firm and the largest single employer of MBA talent in the world. Even this year’s conviction of McKinsey’s former managing director, Rajat Gupta, for insider trading didn’t dull the desire of MBA grads to work for The Firm.

After all, McKinsey typically pays among the highest salaries and bonuses to MBA grads, and the jobs give graduates a broad overview of a lot of different companies and industries. What’s more, the prestigious management consulting firm has been a top destination for MBAs for almost 80 years. A survey of this year’s MBA students shows that McKinsey is the second most desirable employer for MBAs after only Google.

If it’s something of a coup for an MBA to land a job with McKinsey, it also provides schools that place a fair number of their grads with The Firm a good deal of prestige. Successful hires endure a long round of interviews, along with a 26-question problem solving exam that essentially tests students’ ability to think through the types of business problems McKinsey consultants face.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the business school which turned out more McKinsey consultants than any other is INSEAD. A whopping 107 MBAs, or roughly 22% of INSEAD’s entire graduating class, went to work for the elite consulting firm.

INSEAD’s big McKinsey play is partly a result of its one-year MBA program that allows McKinsey employees to go to the school to get their MBA ticket punched. Almost half of the MBAs going to McKinsey from INSEAD, for example, had worked for McKinsey before going back to business school.


Bloomberg BusinessWeek said that among the more than 100 schools participating in its ranking this year, McKinsey hired 387 MBA graduates, making it the biggest employer of MBAs in the world. Many schools have yet to release their full 2012 employment reports, but BusinessWeek has collected this information from surveys for its forthcoming ranking on Nov. 15. So the data is an early peek at McKinsey’s hiring at top business schools.

In some cases, the data may be somewhat incomplete or a mix of apples and oranges.  Last year, Columbia Business School, for example, reported that McKinsey hired 68 of its MBAs, though 29 were sponsored by McKinsey and obviously returned to the firm after graduation. BusinessWeek’s reported number for the school this year no doubt subtract sponsored employees which are included in the INSEAD figures.

When you add Poets&Quants’ estimates for McKinsey’s hires at Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, MIT Sloan, London Business School, and New York University’s Stern School, which do not or have not yet disclosed their top employers this year, the total comes to some 517 MBA hires by McKinsey in 2012.


Schools that significantly increased the number of MBA grads into McKinsey this year were the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, and the University of Virginia’s Darden School. At Wharton, McKinsey upped its hiring of MBAs by 39.5% to 53 graduates from just 38 a year earlier.  At Tuck, some 20 MBAs took McKinsey up on its job offers, up 42.9% from the 14 Tuckies the firm hired last year. And at the Darden School, McKinsey brought aboard 14 MBAs this year, up 50% from the seven it hired a year earlier.

On the other hand, schools that saw their McKinsey hires fall this year include Columbia  Business School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and the University of Michigan’s Ross School.

It is somewhat ironic that McKinsey hires at Kellogg fell by 30% this year to 37 from 53 hires last year. That’s because a year ago Kellogg hired former McKinsey partner Betsy Ziegler as its new associate dean of MBA programs and dean of students and more recently named another former McKinsey partner, Will Garrett, as its new associate dean for executive education.

  • Joey

    It would have been more insightful if there was another column showing % of total class. It is difficult to assess with such huge deviations in class size.

  • Caricouture

    We’d have to wait and see how much H/S/W would charge for their 1yr MBA first before determining whether the competitive advantage remains or not.

    The US schools also cannot rival INSEAD in terms of European alumni network, so candidates wishing to remain in Europe may still prefer INSEAD.

    Stanford and MIT both offer 1yr Sloan programs, as does London Business School and you’ll see geography & network do play a role in program choice.

  • Caricouture

    Regarding name recognition, the opposite is also true. One of my best friends is a Wharton alum. He is very disappointed with the level of name recognition Wharton has in Europe and told me that he wishes he had gone to INSEAD. He said the European Wharton alum network was also quite poor in his view.

    There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all “best” MBA. As you say, what good is the “best” MBA education if you cannot find a job at the end of it all?

    The moral of the story is that the “best” school choice will vary depending on where the candidate is from, where they want to work and in what field.

  • Caricouture

    MBB have offices all around the globe and need recruits with local language skills for continental Europe and Asia. INSEAD has a campus in Singapore also and the large, international class make the school a one stop shop for global recruiters like MBB.

  • Paramia

    and don’t forget that INSEAD succeeded to offer this large number with an average salary of 125000 usd. far ahead of all top schools.

  • Tobian

    You realize that only about 7% of the INSEAD student body is French, right? And by rule it has to be less than 10%.

  • Tom

    Yea, I would agree with that. Also seems like Bain really emphasized its culture and the fact that it was analytical but ‘cool’ at the same time. FYI – I work in finance so I don’t really have a horse in the race. Just observations.

  • Lara

    Tuck is the only school that solely offer full time MBA. Hence, I doubt you can find similar learning experience somewhere else. in my opinion, It is with no questions, the best MBA program in the world. Their alumni bond and loyality are just unparalleled. Tuckies, I envy you…

  • TA

    If you wanna party Kellog is where its at

  • TA

    Yeah Sloan is awesome.. The entrepreneurial culture there is outstanding. Next best to stanford. Also the students there are really humble and down to earth. You would almost think they are simple engineering PhD’s.
    HBS and stanford apart I would pick Sloan over any of the other M8. PLus cambridge is the best student town in America. Period

  • TA

    Dont forget INSEAD has 1000 students a year ( more than HBS/ Wharton /
    Kellog) and their financial services placements don’t hold a candle to
    the top 7 in america(except Kellog)…so 107 out of a 1000 even
    considering the new 57 is good but in no ways great

  • TA

    Dont forget INSEAD has 1000 students a year ( more than HBS/ Wharton / Kellog) and their financial services placements don’t hold a candle to the top 7 in america(except Kellog)…so 107 out of a 1000 even considering the new 57 is good but in no ways great.

  • TA

    what does IM stand for. Or do you mean IB? you are right about PE and that is primarily why a lot fo people prefer Bain over Mckinsey or BCG. Its because of their semi monopolistic foothold in the PE sector.

  • TA

    Tuck had 20 outta ~ 250…thats very impressive as well.

  • TA

    MBA is about network not business

  • TA


    It is a fine school it just lacks the depth of network( i emphasize depth not reach) that HBS or Kellog or wharton has. Very few people inside America actually know of INSEAD….

    The other thing is for a school that takes in so so so many students from outside the EU(atleast at the Fountainbleu campus) , they need to overhaul their administration when it comes to dealing with EU border agencies. UK apart , its almost impossible for a non EU citizen to get a job within the EU. Almost all students have to “settle” for a job in dubai or singapore(the lucky ones get london) and that dilutes the love an alumni has for the school . They tend to blame the school and the fact that they took away their money and if they had to work in a dubai or a singapore they need not have invested a 100,000 euros in a fancy mba.

    Thats an added advantage that top 5 american schools have. America based companies find a way to keep talented employees and students despite all the immigration red tape.

  • TA

    Tom, How is the placement scene 3 months PG at your school. ?

  • TA

    Well Bain and Co is the dominant firm in the private equity consulting business. No consulting firm even comes close to them, they are far far ahead of the next best 2 – Mckinsey and LEK. So thats partly the reason why a lot of graduating folk must be motivated to pick Bain over Mckinsey because they can get a foothold in PE. The other reason is Bain employees have fantastic work life balance and typically travel 2-3 days a week on average as opposed to Mckinsey and BCG where 4 is the minimum and 5 is not rare.

  • Herining

    Now, Bain is more prestigious than mckinsey.

  • Roger

    Cornell sent 10 to McKinsey last year. Considering its smaller class size, it is even more impressive than some of the schools listed here.

  • Tim

    Funny you mention that. Bain is more popular on my campus as well.

  • nicolas

    No, brazilian

  • wfw

    It’s kind of interesting how people point out that half of McKinsey’s INSEAD hires are returnees but forget to mention that the other half aren’t. If you exclude returnees, INSEAD STILL has higher numbers than almost everyone else (that is if you still allow everyone else to keep their returnees).

  • Mathew

    hahahaha Nicolas, you are French right?

  • thesunson

    although it is right in term of geographic segments, but consulting practice is same, whether your advising a client in Seattle or in Istanbul. The client is expecting good advice and good management recommendations. and so, It is apparent that insead is leading the others in consulting industry, even harvard (where this business was invented) can’t really catch up with insead. on the other hand, insead face very tough competition when it comes to finance fields and investment. It is very obvious that hbs is really leading the others in pe and investment mgmt, followed closely by wharton and chicago. insead has an advantage of its global and multicultural identity that might be a substitute of its inferiority of hbs and wharton in the pe and investment fields. overall, when the candidate gets into one of these schools, hbs wharton insead stanford, chicago, it is completely depends on him, corporations treat all this group of schools equally in term of brand, prestige, and recruiting..

  • rs701

    For my American friends, it is sometimes difficult to understand that MBA job market is mainly divided in 2: US market where HBS is the leading schools in fierce competition and the Rest of the World where actually INSEAD is leading facing little competition when it comes to International management. Basically, McKinsey just hires the best candidates from both regions through standard case interviews and this happens to be year after year mainly HBS and INSEAD MBAs because both schools attract to their respective regions the best candidates.
    I agree the title of the article mentioning “hires” with. the table data including sponsored returning MBAs is confusing. For INSEAD, it should be only 57 new hires and HBS: ~42 (72-~30) but honestly the story would still be HBS for US and INSEAD elsewhere are the 2 biggest providers of fresh MBAs to McKinsey.

  • Lara

    “It is not” OK I can understand it. but “will never”!!! why? could you please explain why?

  • nicolas

    to be honest not a top 5. It is top 2 or 1. all people in the business believe so, the first and second place worldwide are always Insead and hbs. those are the only two school that worth attending. btw, they will start offering 1Y , it started with Kellogg and the others will follow believe me. MBA is baout business not research why wasting so much time.

  • Tom

    Interesting view. Any chance you could update with M and BB? I just graduated from one of these highly ranked schools, but I actually found that many of my classmates were opting for Bain over McKinsey. Maybe showing a more complete picture could help draw conclusions.

  • Luis

    Lara, INSEAD is a nice school, got it. It is not and will never be a top-5 US school, regardless how many consultants go there. If there are so many McKinsey consultants at INSEAD it’s only because it’s a 1-year program and the firms encourage their consultants to go there. The day that H/S/W/Booth/MIT decide to offer a 1year MBA program, your school’s competitive advantage will be lost.

  • Jeremy

    It is also worth to mention that in some countries such as Italy, consulting firms start to not sponsor their consultants when they decide to attend to 2-years MBA programs. Therefore, consultants have to go to INSEAD or they have to paid their MBA….
    PE and IM a plan B? this sounds ridiculous.

  • Hectaro

    Parties Parties and Parties, this is all what insead about, people love partying and dating and they go there for that

  • Lara

    even with at Harvard there are many sponsored by Mckinsey. if you exclude the sponsored students, still INSEAD placed more students for Mckinsey than any other school. Regarding to PE and IM, in current economy they are Plan B in fact, and we see from many career statistics at top school that jobs in PE and IM has less salaries than before the crisis. INSEAD also, places excellent # of graduates for those field and with comparable salaries if not more. I have to completely agree with you that it all depends on how good the candidate is, not from which school he does come?

  • Matt

    stop making conclusions about what b-school is better for getting into McKinsey. First, please take into account the size of the class (the size of the class at INSEAD, Harvard or Wharton is big). Second, INSEAD is a 1-year program so McKinsey prefers its business analyst to go there as they are back one year later instead of two. Therefore, a big portion of the hires by McKinsey at INSEAD are students who already were at McKinsey. Third, McKinsey recruits in all top schools, if you are good enough to go through its selection process you’ll get in, regardless from what school you are. Finally, McKinsey is plan B (plan A is PE or IM) for many students in schools such as Harvard, Booth or Wharton…

  • kristine

    How come Mckinsey recruited 107 from this french school?!!! what makes it special?!! Why Harvard and Wharton behind?! This no good.

  • Lara

    INSEAD does disclose the number of sponsored students in their employment report, NOT with mckinsey but with all employers. you can notice this by going to the top hiring firms and then look into numbers withing brackets. it means the sponsored students. as per mckinsey case, in 2011, there were 50 students sponsored and the total hires is 107, thats mean that Mckinsey hired 57 new, more than any other school. similar to BBB, however, this situation is understandable giving that INSEAD is the world’s #1 consulting school. every consulting firm, when it comes to recruiting, INSEAD is their first destination.

  • Pali

    If you want Mckinsey, then go to INSEAD. It is known for long time as Mcinsead!!

  • amake

    Adding on to the post from “MIT Student,” it appears that you’re inconsistently including/excluding McKinsey-sponsored students from the list. Your report suggests that a considerable % of the 107 INSEAD students who went to McKinsey are sponsored. Fine. But then you report only 39 McKinsey hires for Columbia in 2011, when in fact the school’s employment report for that year states that 68 graduates went to McKinsey (of whom were 29 were sponsored, leaving 39 new hires). Either include all students or just non-sponsored students; otherwise, your ranking doesn’t provide a fair comparison between schools.

  • MIT Student

    FYI MIT Sloan doesn’t include employees who are returning to their pre-MBA employer in their employment statistics. The true number of MIT Sloan graduates heading to McKinsey is typically 35-40 once those are included.