The Mckinsey Way – Using the Techniques of the World’s Top Strategic Consultants

Author: Ethan Rasiel

Genre: Management

Mckinsey is generally regarded as the world’s most successful strategic consultant firm and the #1 hiring aspiration for top school MBAs. People marvel at how young consultants deep dive into real world complex business problems and get ready to give actional recommendations to management teams within few months. The McKinsey way, written by Ethan M. Rasiel (former McKinsey consultant) conveys to outsiders some ideas of what it’s like to think like a Mckinsey consultant and work at McKinsey.

The review below is submitted by Arpita Phatak of Welingkar Business School. 


The book has been divided into five parts:

Part One: The McKinsey way of thinking about Business Problems

Building the solution

Solutions should be fact based, rigidly structured and Hypothesis driven.

Facts are the bricks with which you will lay a path to your solution and build pillars to support it. While analyzing a problem, fact gathering is done rigorously and exhaustively as a first step. Use MECE (‘Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive’):

  • Make a list of all the issues which are in the problem that you are required to solve. Make the issues separate and distinct from each other that are mutually exclusive.
  • Make sure that you have thought of every possible thing that can come under the problem making the list collectively exhaustive.

A good McKinsey issue list contains neither fewer than two nor more than five top-line issues.

The initial hypothesis (IH) is the third pillar of the McKinsey problem-solving process. The essence of the initial hypothesis is “Figure out the solution to the problem before you start.” The Hypothesis is just a theory to be either proved or disproved. If your IH is correct, then it will be the first slide in your presentation. If it turns out to be wrong, then, by proving it wrong, you will have enough information to move toward the right answer.

Problems must be broken down into various components, each solved with an actionable, top-line recommendation. Resulting into what McKinsey calls the issue tree (you start with your initial hypothesis and branch out at each issue.)