Yeah, That's Me All Right

I was a consultant for McKinsey & Co. for about 5 years in Dallas.  This was NOT me:

Through conversations with several staffers who have endured the McKinsey interviews, we've assembled a portrait of the typical consultant. First, they're quite young! Despite the early perception that they'd look like pasty lawyers wielding big-wheeled suitcases, they're apparently a plucky, charming bunch.

"They're kind of hot," said one source.

Crisp shirts, no jackets, freshly pressed pants"”not unlike the fresh-faced boys who posed for the Harvard fashion shoot in the Styles pages of The Times this past weekend. They jot notes down on legal pads and in marble notebooks.

Though I will say, much to my kids' ever-lasting amusement, McKinsey did send me to a sort of executive charm school when I started managing teams, because I was such a hopeless geek.  Actually, my main problem was that I was adult-ADD, and couldn't sit still in a meeting.  It's fine roaming around the room in hyperactive fashion when its your own company (ala Steve Jobs) but it is not OK when you are a 25-year-old consultant to the CEO of a Fortune 50 company.

My personal style didn't work any better in any of the other companies I worked for.  Aerospace was probably the biggest mis-match.  There is just no place for a hyperactive marketing guy in a business that takes 10 years to close a sale.  So I now run my own company, and there is no one above me to complain.


  1. Michael:

    I was working with BAC in corporate banking in IT back in 99 and if you weren't wearing a G in threads each day, you had no excuse being in NYC. I do love dressing to the 9s, but only for my significant other. Businesses can pick their dress codes, but pretty boys don't mean quality.

  2. DaveK:

    Yes, whether you like it or not, what you wear does make a difference. Way back when, my job required that I wear a shirt, tie, and (recommended but not required) a sport coat as minimum dress code when meeting with customers and contractors... even in the field. I rebelled a few times but observed, and it really did make a difference. From then I was a believer.

    As for McKinsey and Co, they are on my list for getting the sacks of coal at Christmas. My experience was that they came in, got their quota of heads to "improve productivity" and then left. The only problem is that the approach did not address innovation... that was considered non-productive time. In my company, the result was that all anyone (who was left) had time to do was to do was their job description. Those innovations that helped us do more with existing resources suddenly became nonexistent... but we sure reduced the payroll by 10 to 25 percent!

    On the other hand, management got just exactly what they asked for. Too bad they didn't consider the consequences of that.


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