These 17 B-Schools Are On McKinsey’s Target List For MBA Recruits

MBA Experience at McKinsey & Co.

Of the big three MBB firms, McKinsey & Co. has the smallest target list of favored business schools. Both the Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Co. have more expansive lists, with BCG having 28 MBA programs with favored status while Bain boasts 40 different programs. In any case, the lists vary greatly in the choice of business schools.

While these mainstream recruiters of MBA talent, offering internships and jobs to hundreds of MBAs every year, closely guard the lists of their business school favorites, they tip their hands in revealing targeted programs for their pre-MBA summer programs.

The deadline for McKinsey’s Early Access program this year is May 13th. To be eligible to compete for a spot, applicants need to be admitted to a full-time MBA program at one of the 17 targeted schools with an anticipated graduation date of 2023. It’s exclusive, for sure. Only students entering a two-year full-time program or dual degree program will be considered by McKinsey. The consulting firm makes it explicit that candidates enrolled in a one-year, part-time, or executive MBA program, even at a targeted business school, are not eligible.


The McKinsey list differs significantly from the other two big global consultancies. The Boston Consulting Group’s 28 business schools for its BCG Unlock program is U.S.-centric, with one Canadian program on the list, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management (see BCG’s 28 Target Business Schools). Bain & Co.’s target list for the ExperienceBain program includes the most schools, and it is much more global, including MBAs from HEC Paris, IESE Business School and ESADE in Spain as well as such U.S. programs as Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and the University of Texas’ Jindal School of Management in Dallas (see Bain’s 40 Target Business Schools).

McKinsey’s favored schools for its pre-MBA program is the most predictable of the big three. Not surprisingly, the target schools at McKinsey include the big brand powerhouses that dominate the top of most MBA rankings. It will surprise no one to know that every M7 school is on the list: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT Sloan, Booth, Kellogg and Columbia. Nor will it be surprising to see the Ivy publics on the list, including the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School at Chapel Hill.

McKinsey describes its Early Access program as an opportunity “to engage in interactive sessions with our consultants and leaders where you will gain insight into our culture and the work we do, while creating community among your future classmates and enriching your skills.”


In short, the program gives the consulting firm an early look at incoming MBA talent. For participants, it provides a glimpse into what a career in consulting might be like and gives students a leg up on landing a summer internship between their first and second years of the MBA program and ultimately a full-time job offer.

McKinsey also hosts another program called Inspire for underrepresented pre-MBA students, including those who identify as Black, African-American, Hispanic, Latino, and/or Native American. The two-day virtual program includes an overview of McKinsey’s diversity and inclusion efforts, management consulting, and McKinsey today. In this program, students will join small interactive case workshops as well as “activities to sharpen your interview skills, engage in virtual social activities and hear from exciting panelists and speakers,” according to the firm. The application deadline is also May 13, 2021. Eligible students are welcome to apply to and attend both McKinsey Early Access and Inspire.

McKinsey’s Target Business School List For Its Pre-MBA Summer Experience

Business School MBA Program University
Anderson School of Management University of California-Los Angeles
Booth School of Business University of Chicago
Columbia Business School Columbia University
Darden School of Business University of Virginia
Fuqua School of Business Duke University
Haas School of Business University of California-Berkeley
Harvard Business School Harvard University
Johnson Graduate School of Management Cornell University
Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University
Kenan-Flagler Business School University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Ross School of Business University of Michigan
Sloan School of Management Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stanford Graduate School of Business Stanford University
Stern School of Business New York University
The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania
Tuck School of Business Dartmouth College
Yale School of Management Yale University

Source: McKinsey & Co.


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