McKinsey Black Leadership Academy (MBLA)

The McKinsey Black Leadership Academy is a pipeline optimization program designed to equip rising Black leaders with the skills they need for executive success. Founded in 2020 as part of McKinsey’s 10-step plan toward racial equity, the Black Leadership Academy has enrolled over 20,000 participants in its three component programs. In this article, we explore McKinsey’s Black Leadership Academy, break down its component programs, and see how the Leadership Academy fits into wider diversity, equity, and inclusion trends across the industry.

McKinsey Black Leadership Academy

What is the McKinsey Black Leadership Academy?

McKinsey founded the Black Leadership Academy in 2020 as part of its commitment to anti-racism and social justice. The Academy is designed to strengthen professionals’ existing management, leadership, and executive skills; support career progression; and provide a community of like-minded individuals to further growth.

The Academy offers three programs, each targeted toward Black professionals at different stages of their career development. The McKinsey Leadership Essentials program is marketed toward young professionals with under seven years of career experience. This program focuses on business understanding, day-to-day leadership, and networking opportunities. The McKinsey Management Accelerator is a six-month course designed for mid-career professionals looking to make the jump into executive positions that seeks to bolster management and leadership abilities.

The McKinsey Black Executive Leadership Program is the flagship component of the Black Leadership Academy. This course exposes individuals one to two levels below the C-Suite to McKinsey’s decades of leadership research and best practices and seeks to develop skills, business acumen, and connections to empower future Black executives.

What’s McKinsey’s Goal with the Program?

The McKinsey Black Leadership Academy forms a crucial part of McKinsey’s commitment to racial equity and social justice and serves as a cornerstone in its broader diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Their 10-step commitment, published in 2020, includes a firm-wide review of people processes and hiring practices, the founding of the Black Leadership Academy, the creation of an Institute for Black Economic Mobility, and a variety of pro-bono and charitable financial pledges. The Black Leadership Academy is designed to provide a community of support for Black professionals, bolster their individual career progressions, and increase the number of Black executives in C-Suites across industry.

Is McKinsey Setting Itself Apart from Other MBB Firms

McKinsey has long been the frontrunner in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space within consulting and MBB. Currently, neither Bain nor BCG offer similar programs marketed to industry professionals.

DEI Consulting trend?

McKinsey’s Black Leadership Academy is a small part of a much larger trend toward diversity, equity, and inclusion within the consulting landscape. A substantial portion of DEI efforts focus on recruiting, especially within MBB.

The First Year Summer Business Analyst and Sophomore Summer Business Analyst programs form crucial pieces of McKinsey’s DEI recruiting efforts. These are selective internship programs marketed toward students from underrepresented backgrounds and designed to be a pipeline for minority students. BCG offers a comparable sophomore summer program – the Growing Future Leaders internship program – that is similarly marketed toward students from underrepresented backgrounds. And Bain has two < 1-week-long programs, the Freshman Leadership Accelerator (FLA) and Building Entrepreneurial Leaders (BEL) programs, that also aim to strengthen the pipeline of applicants from minority backgrounds.

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The McKinsey Black Leadership Academy showcases McKinsey’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. By supporting Black professionals and bolstering their management and leadership skills, McKinsey hopes to strengthen the ranks of Black executives across industries and promote a more equitable professional landscape. With the only program of its kind, McKinsey has set itself apart from the rest of the pack and taken a concrete step to improving racial equity across industry.


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Filed Under: Leadership & Management, McKinsey Consulting