Time names McKinsey America's best company for future leaders

09 February 2024 Consulting.us 2 min. read
More news on

Consulting firm McKinsey & Company topped Time Magazine and Statista’s ranking of the 150 Best Companies for Future Leaders.

To determine which companies have an outsized role in producing America’s leaders, Time and Statista analyzed resumes of 2,000 of the country’s top academics, political figures, and CEOs. The list only looked at private sector experience, and excluded government, nonprofit, and education sector jobs.

Consulting firms accounted for a large portion of the top-ranked companies for future leaders, with New York-based McKinsey taking the top spot.

McKinsey is very selective in its hiring, receiving over a million applications last year and hiring less than 1%. The firm aggressively recruits from Harvard, especially the MBA program. The prestigious university topped Time’s Best Colleges for Future Leaders

So why does McKinsey (and other leading consulting firms) produce so many leaders of industry and government? Firstly, as mentioned above, recruits tend to be from the top business schools like Harvard and Wharton, so staff will necessarily be a certain level of smart, motivated, and hard-working.

Time names McKinsey America's best company for future leaders

And work hard they will – living out of a suitcase and putting in 80- to 100-hour weeks on the regular. But the salary, and the accepted wisdom that one is set for their career if they manage to spend some time at McKinsey, will send the most promising students that way. A Harvard MBA and a stint at McKinsey are not easy things to obtain, and as such indicate a particular type of rank-riser. Going to Wharton and working at BCG isn’t much off, though.

“People think you’re kind of special from an early age, and that becomes a self-reinforcing dynamic,” David Deming, a professor of political economy at Harvard Kennedy School, told Time.

Bernard Banks, associate dean for Leadership Development and Inclusion at Northwestern Kellogg, adds that people who take a job at top-flight consultancy “are generally people who like challenges…It requires a high degree of confidence, it requires a high degree of tenacity.”

Consultancies like McKinsey also have very strong learning and development functions and cultures that prize growing employees’ capacities to lead, Banks says.

The nature of the work – advising the C-suite of large organizations across industries – means consultants gain experience on key business issues such as growth strategy and operational improvement, as well as build up an impressive network of contacts.

McKinsey ranked first with a score of 100 in Time’s list. The other consultancies on the list all had 90+ scores and included PwC (#5), Accenture (#6), Deloitte (#8), EY (#10), KPMG (#11), Boston Consulting Group (#18), Booz Allen (#23), Bain & Company (#45), Marsh McLennan (#58), and Aecom (#135).