McKinsey offices across the world export the company’s signature blend of strategy and analytics advisory work every day. The global brand is known for offering an array of high impact consulting services in every industry. Wherever it goes – except maybe for South Africa, but we’ll get to that in a minute. McKinsey has established a reputation for top-of-the-line service and state of the art thinking that delivers results for clients. If you’re considering a consulting career, you’re sure to be considering McKinsey.
One of the decisions you’ll have to make, if hired, will be to select which of the many McKinsey and Company office locations you’ll call home. Part of this decision will have to do with what kind of environment you need in order to thrive. Do you want to be close to home? There’s sure to be a McKinsey office location nearby. Want to work at an established branch so you can work your way up the ladder? That may take you away from home. You even have the opportunity to work in a different country.
The company has a cohesive culture which all the company’s 27,000 employees are a part of. But no two McKinsey offices are cut from exactly the same cloth. For one thing, the offices sometimes have different industry focus areas and personalities. The cities and regions around them can also differ wildly. In this article, we’ll take you through several of the most prominent McKinsey & Company locations to help you decide which one is best for you.
McKinsey Office Locations:
As the cultural and financial capital of the Western world, New York City needs no introduction. Naturally, it is the global headquarters for the firm. NYC is the largest of the McKinsey offices, as McKinsey New York recently moved into a 4-floor space comprising 200,000 square feet in the new 3 World Trade Center tower in lower Manhattan. This is some of the most expensive real estate in the world, and one of the world’s most iconic new buildings. This is perhaps the most high-profile of the various McKinsey offices.
Real estate, of course, isn’t the only thing that’s expensive here – New York City has a cost of living 129% higher than the national average, so it’s a good thing McKinsey is known for high compensation and generous benefits. McKinsey NYC has its hands in many high-profile sectors, including healthcare, technology, media, financial services, the public sector, and more. The surrounding area also offers a deep network of over 3,000 McKinsey alumni. The office is composed of 900 consultants who pride themselves on cutting edge work and a culture of innovation.
Boston is a natural fit for McKinsey because of its academic bent. Boston, of course, is considered the education capital of the world. Many of the world’s premier research institutions & Universities lie in and around Boston. These include: Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and more. McKinsey Boston maintains partnerships with these institutions working in high impact industries as high tech, pharmaceuticals, banking, and more.
The personality at this location, like many of the McKinsey offices, is one that takes pride in innovation and forward thinking. For example, McKinsey Boston is home to many experiments in nanotechnology, biotechnology, sustainability, and more. The office itself is located in the Innovation District in South Boston and is home to over 200 consultants. Despite the intimidating pedigree of some of the staff here, many current and former employees highlight the friendly atmosphere. The progressive environment of the Boston area is complemented by a vibrant culture. Your dollar will go a little further here than at McKinsey NYC, but Boston is still an expensive city, with a cost of living 48% higher than the national average.
Chicago was home to the first of all McKinsey offices, and this McKinsey location remains one of the most high-profile branches of the company. McKinsey Chicago specializes in consumer goods, retail, healthcare, aerospace, technology, financial services, and transportation. This is an excellent place to work if you’re motivated by projects with a high degree of public impact.
The physical location of this McKinsey office is enviable. The office is tucked on a peninsular corner of the city, with Millennium Park to its south, Lake Michigan to the east, and the Chicago River to the north.
You’ll never run out of things to do in Chicago. Friends and family will be begging to visit so they can experience the city’s tourist attractions, restaurants, and museums. Chicago is a cheaper city to live in than many other McKinsey offices on this list, with a cost of living only 12% higher than the national average. McKinsey Chicago alumni note the difficulty in maintaining a positive work-life balance, though that seems to be shared by most McKinsey offices. If you’re working for McKinsey, it’s not for the work-life balance. But this location in particular is highlighted for its fun atmosphere, from its friendly employees to the ping pong and air hockey tables.
All McKinsey offices can rightfully lay claim to high impact work, but that may be truest for the McKinsey DC location. As the nation’s capital, Washington DC is the center of federal policymaking. McKinsey DC works with a wide mix of companies, governmental agencies, and NGOs. This work is complemented by the McKinsey Global Institute, an economic and business-oriented think tank. The McKinsey Center for Government and the McKinsey Social Initiative also reside in DC. The nature of the work you’ll do at this office is definitely different than at many other McKinsey and Company locations.
The McKinsey DC location is located in the vibrant DuPont Circle district. This McKinsey office is large and boasts a diverse workforce, though McKinsey DC alumni have noted that the actual workplace may not fully live out the value of diversity it espouses.
DC has also become an expensive city to live and work in, with a cost of living 39% higher than the national average. But McKinsey’s generous compensation and benefits package should make up for this. The city itself has a lot of appeal. The restaurant scene has been booming in recent years. Further, DC has a remarkable amount of cultural diversity, and is home to some of the most prominent tourist attractions in the country. This includes the city’s many great museums (hello, The Smithsonian!), most of which offer free admission.
Perhaps none of the McKinsey offices has had such a turbulent history as McKinsey Johannesburg. This office opened in 1995, shortly after the end of apartheid in South Africa, with the promise of helping global companies enter the South African market and upgrading domestic institutions and infrastructure. But any goodwill McKinsey Johannesburg may have accumulated was lost within a few decades in a massive scandal. McKinsey was found to have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from a trio of brothers under investigation for corruption.
In 2018, McKinsey Johannesburg totally overhauled its finance, legal, and compliance staff, losing many South African clients in the process. The firm is still in the process of rebuilding trust in the region.
Employees report more difficulty here than at many other McKinsey office locations. Employee reviews cite confusing organization and a lack of meritocracy. And while travel is a major component of a McKinsey consultant’s life, it can be difficult when it involves African airports, which are often under-developed when compared to European and Southeast Asian airports.
All that said, there are a lot of things to recommend about McKinsey Johannesburg. Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and the chief industrial & financial center in the region. Its historical and cultural appeals are unparalleled. Over 40% of human ancestor fossils have come from the surrounding area, and Johannesburg is considered the biggest man-made forest in the world. In practical terms, it’s also a very affordable city, with consumer prices (including rent) 52% lower than in the US.
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McKinsey San Francisco is one of the older McKinsey offices, having opened in 1944. But in keeping with the city itself, this location continues to innovate and evolve. Diversity is the word here. This McKinsey office is known for its diverse staff, clientele, and areas of focus, mirroring the city of San Francisco. McKinsey San Francisco services clients in many different industries: high tech, healthcare, consumer, retail, energy, the public sector, and more.
The office is located in the city’s Financial District, but the broader city has a stunning array of cultural/historical interests and tourist attractions. The office itself offers beautiful views of many of them: the Golden Gate Bridge, Treasure Island, and Alcatraz. San Francisco has also been a hotbed of cultural and artistic movements over the years. This includes the civil rights and LGBT rights movements, American jazz and bebop, the Beat Generation of writers and artists, and much more.
All McKinsey and Company locations offer challenges and opportunities for ambitious consultants. But McKinsey San Francisco, with its progressive culture and proximity to Silicon Valley, will have you working on the cutting edge of technology, industry, and policy. The only downside is the effect this has on the cost of living, which is 80% above the national average (rent prices are a staggering 231% higher than the national average!).
For decades now, Singapore has had a booming economy and has served as a central hub of global commerce. McKinsey has maintained an office in Singapore since 1998, and in that time has worked with leading companies and institutions in virtually every economic sector. Operations have expanded in that time, including the launch of the McKinsey Innovation Campus in 2012, in partnership with Singapore’s Economic Development board.
With infusions of foreign capital and a track record for stability and security, Singapore has developed a reputation for rapid development and commercial opulence. The country has been compared to a giant shopping mall, with a gleaming skyline and a wealth of massive tourist attractions. There is a staggering amount of wealth contained within the city, and the cost of living is relatively high. For comparison, consumer prices in the US are 11.72% lower than in Singapore. The city itself is densely populated, and almost half of local residents are immigrants. This has fostered an office culture with a strong sense of community in comparison to other McKinsey offices.
The United Arab Emirates have many things in common with Singapore. Infusions of capital investment have led to unprecedentedly rapid development in recent years. McKinsey Dubai works squarely within this environment, partnering with leading companies and institutions across public and private sectors.
Like many other McKinsey offices, McKinsey Dubai has made it a point to attract as much of the top local talent as possible, and has developed a reputation for recruiting the most talented people across the UAE. This rapid shuffling of talent and labor is in concert with the development of the region. The vast majority of Dubai’s residents are immigrants and expats, which has fostered a culturally diverse population.
As part of the local economic development, Dubai has become known for its out-of-this-world tourist and sightseeing attractions. This includes record-breaking skyscrapers and mammoth commercial spaces, such as shopping malls with built-in aquariums and indoor ski slopes. The city can be quite expensive to live in, though it’s still 33% cheaper to live in than NYC.
Since McKinsey Houston was founded in 1976, the work the firm has done in the region has been squarely within Houston’s reputation as the energy capital of the world. McKinsey Houston does lots of work within the oil & gas industry, as well as related chemicals and utilities. But as the US transitions to a greener economy, McKinsey Houston will continue drawing on the city’s reputation as a regional hub for technology and innovation.
There are many positives about the city of Houston. It’s one of the fastest growing large cities in the US. The city is increasingly diverse, with a great amount of influence from Mexican and Latin American communities. The local commercial culture is heavily influenced by the proximity of NASA and the aerospace industry. This vibrant city is also affordable compared to some of the other McKinsey & Company locations, with a cost of living below the national average (by 2%).
McKinsey has been in Paris for longer than many of its employees have been alive, with the first McKinsey Paris office opening in 1964. Over the half-century since its opening, McKinsey has developed a long-term reputation as a partner for leading firms and institutions in accelerating innovation and development. This is one of the more tightly knit McKinsey offices. Employees here work almost exclusively in group frameworks, and are said to prize teamwork and friendliness.
As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, the city of Paris speaks for itself. This has to do with its centuries-long traditions of rich culture, from the food to the city’s centrality to almost every major modern art movement in Western history. The city also boasts many iconic attractions. These include the Eiffel Tower, world-class art museums such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, and the Catacombs. Despite all this, Paris remains relatively affordable compared to some other global cities. The cost of living in NYC, for instance, is 113% higher than in Paris.
There are many influential and illustrious McKinsey offices spread throughout the world. If you are planning to pursue a consulting career with “The Firm,” you will have to decide which of the McKinsey & Company locations you want to call home. Every office comes with its own unique office culture, its own industries of specialization, and its own city culture. We hope this list helps simplify your decision-making process. Good luck!
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