Some would argue that McKinsey, Bain and BCG are home to some of the smartest people on this planet.
To even be considered by one of these firms you must prove you excel in all parts of your life. More and more we are seeing internal group strategy functions hire these ex-strategy consultants, thus becoming incubators for the future leaders of some of the world’s leading companies.
But being smart and having a top tier pedigree does not automatically give you a free ticket to the top. Ex strategy consultants often have a hard time obtaining a role that will allow them to prove they are more than just an advisor in an expensive suit who can design an amazing slide pack. They frequently get serious push back when vying for a role with a P&L mandate (as their consulting days will have provided zero experience managing this aspect), or one that manages a large team (as they are deemed to have only run project teams previously). So getting to the top is not quite as easy as some may think. Gravitas certainly helps, and this comes naturally to many senior leaders in consulting firms - after all, these are the people who have become the rainmakers, the front men & women and the faces of the firm.
It seems that McKinsey is the company that produces the most CEOs of Fortune 500 firms according to an article on Forbes, but it is interesting to note that only one in six new hires at McKinsey actually stays with the firm for more than 5 years.
So who are the most distinguished alumni of McKinsey, BCG and Bain? The list below is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination but I think some of the names may surprise you.
10 DISTINGUISHED MCKINSEY ALUMNI
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook and founder of Leanin.org
- Wolfgang Bernhard, Former CEO of Mercedes-AMG, Volkswagen AG and former Chairman of Daimler
- Helmut Panke, Former Chairman & CEO of BMW
- Bob Haas, Chairman of Levi Strauss & Co
- Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone
- Ian Narev, CEO of CBA
- James McNerney, Former Chairman, President and CEO of Boeing
- Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former U.S President Bill Clinton
- Brian Salsberg, Senior Vice President, Global Strategy at AVON
- Jeff Skilling, Ex Enron CEO (now of somewhat lesser repute)
10 DISTINGUISHED BCG ALUMNI
- John Legend, Grammy award winning musician
- Bill Bain, Founder of Bain & Co
- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel
- Roland Berger, Founder of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
- Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi
- Bob Kagle, Director of eBay and Partner at Benchmark
- Ahmed Fahour, Former CEO of Australia Post and of the Australian operations of the National Australia Bank
- Alex Michel, Star of The Bachelor, Season One in the US
- Jeff Immelt, Chairman of the board of the U.S. based conglomerate General Electric
- Andrea Orcel, Head of Origination at Merrill Lynch
10 DISTINGUISHED BAIN ALUMNI
- Greg Brenneman, Former CEO of PwC and Burger King and now Chairman of CCMP Capital
- Mitt Romney, Former CEO of Bain & Co, Founder of Bain Capital and 70th Governor of Massachusetts
- Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard and former CEO of eBay
- John Donahoe, Former CEO of eBay
- Jane Mendillo, Former President & CEO of Harvard Management Company
- Kevin Rollins, Former CEO of Dell Inc
- Michael Murphy, Former Olympic Diver
- Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO of Jetstar
- Bernie Brookes, Former CEO of Myer and CEO at Edcon
- Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit
So, who have I missed?