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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick read; A good framework
If your looking for specific case studies or a "drilled down" discussion, you generally will not find it with this book. It does, however, give some good general guidelines for conducting research, problem solving, presenting, and client interaction. As with most general or somewhat abstract models, this book provides general principles that can be applied...
Published on December 8, 1999 by Michael L. Perla

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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad - could be better
Being a management consultant myself - I found the book to be relevant but not too detailed. For instance, there should be more examples of the first 3 principles : fact based, structure of problem solving and hypothesis driven. Albeit this, it is an easy-to-read book and it does outline the pains and gains of a consultant's life with particular spotlight on the...
Published on December 13, 1999 by Tri Suseno


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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad - could be better, December 13, 1999
By 
Tri Suseno (Perth, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
Being a management consultant myself - I found the book to be relevant but not too detailed. For instance, there should be more examples of the first 3 principles : fact based, structure of problem solving and hypothesis driven. Albeit this, it is an easy-to-read book and it does outline the pains and gains of a consultant's life with particular spotlight on the McKinsey and Co, which is undoubtedly an impressive firm. It is a great book for the uninitiated who wants to catch a glimpse at McKinsey - but it may not be as useful to insight-searching-people who have been in the industry for some time (or managers in that sense).
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Budget Deliverables at a McKinsey Price, July 3, 2000
By A Customer
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This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
This effort was a great disappointment. I picked it up hoping to find a succinct, high-value description of the Firm's proprietary approach to share with colleagues; instead I found an overwrought, verbose set of cliches, factoids, and frameworks that, at best, only superfically discuss the McKinsey way. (How important is it to know that one McKinseyite considered it vitally important to carry Coca-Cola with him on every engagement?) Rasiel packs no more than three pages of the actual "McKinsey way" into 187 pages. Light on substance and heavy on trite, generic general advice, it is difficult to believe that someone who actually worked for the Firm could deliver such a dubious effort. (Perhaps this book gives insight into why the author lasted the minimum two years at McKinsey.) To be fair, the book does offer some insight into the way the Firm works (e.g., the Rule of Threes, engagement work planning, interviewing, etc.). If you are looking for a comprehensive, informed treatment in this area, I recommend "Client-Centered Consulting."
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The 80-20 Bit May Not Be New, But It's True, May 28, 2001
By 
Kanaschwiiz (Zurich, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
I read this book this afternoon (big print, wide spacing).
The author describes the 80-20 pattern often found in work & life (a phenomenon already familiar to most by which 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, 80% of your time is spent on 20% of your to-do list, etc.)
The author demonstrates this chestnut with a book that is 20% useful and fresh and 80% no-brainer advice and shameless McKinsey advertising (we are CONSTANTLY reminded of how smart and ethical all those McKinsey consultants are; all consulting anecdotes have happy endings - unless the client screwed up; real quotes: "As any good McKinsey associate would, this young man applied himself tirelessly and diligently to his task", or "Hank knew his area of the bank inside and out and was probably as smart as any member of the McKinsey team"... high praise indeed.) McKinsey's approving editors have all the subtly of China's Xinhua propaganda agency. Trouble is: many of us know people at McKinsey...
Still, the 'waterfall' chart is among the 20% that make this book worth perusing (but not buying).
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick read; A good framework, December 8, 1999
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
If your looking for specific case studies or a "drilled down" discussion, you generally will not find it with this book. It does, however, give some good general guidelines for conducting research, problem solving, presenting, and client interaction. As with most general or somewhat abstract models, this book provides general principles that can be applied specifically to your current situation. For example, the processes involved in data collection, brainstorming, issue analysis, hypothesis construction, etc., can be applied to any topic in any area. I found the writing style easy to read and concise, with minimal amounts of obfuscation. Basically, it seems to me, the bedrock of the Mckinsey way is long hours, data distillation, and thorough and exhausive data collection. All told, I found it a worthwhile read.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just awful, August 25, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
If I could have given it a zero, I would have. I've worked for McKinsey for the past twelve years, and I was stunned at the lack of insight in this book. Even the few observations the author got right are out of date, as the Firm has changed quite a bit in the past few years and this author left McKinsey quite a while ago. I can't imagine how he ever sold this one to a publisher. Vaporware.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of interesting subjects, but way too shallow, November 17, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
McKinsey has quite a reputation as a consultancy company, and I had hoped to be impressed by perhaps a great new insight or some extensive examples. Although a lot of tips are given to improve your performance as a consultant, explanations are not always clear and little background is provided. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that - of course - no real world project of McK's clients could be used as an example. The cases that are presented are not very detailed - it must be hard to come up with good and detailed case material. Often I had the idea, that the chapter (or subject) was already over by the time I just got interested. As in the chapter on putting project teams together: the author tells you that you cannot just put any group of people together, but then fails to analyse this a bit, or provide some good example of what might go wrong otherwise. And in the rare case of a detailed example, the author is not always clear. For example: the author stresses the importance of making good charts for presentations, and actually introduces a new type of chart (this much is obvious). However, I could not follow his explanation of the chart, so now I'm left with no more than a rough idea of what is meant. So, the book contains the right issues, but there it stops.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ironic, February 21, 2003
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
Like the firm itself, the draw of this book is the McKinsey name, and the perception that they *must* know something special. Content-wise you could do better with the user manual for your HP 12C calculator. If the book serves any useful purpose it's to strip a little more of the paint off the McKinsey facade. Read it, but check it out from the library because there's nothing in it you will want to reference later.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Work Hard & Get organised is the message!, May 4, 2004
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
This book has some wonderful ideas and concepts.One should read the book if he/she wants to know about any of the following:
*Elevator Test
*Waterfall Model
*How to make a successful presentation?
*Do you want a McKinsey Life,Approach?
*McKinsey recruiting style(more personal experience in this book,if you want a better one try vault.com)
*How to maintain sanity while travelling on business assignments?
*How to organise yourself better in the 24 hrs of a day?
*What is the importance of simplicity in presentations?
*How to handle people in a team if you are a team leader/working for a client/if you are part of a team?(Mind it concepts discusssed range from arm-twisting,politics,factionalism,corporate kicks and jabs,carrot and stick theory etc etc.)
*Mentoring and its usefulness.
*How to survive at McKinsey if you plan to be in there and kicking after the first couple of years?
****This book is not about management consultancy and Ethan Rasiel is not trying to teach it in this book.He talks about the way things are at McKinsey and how somebody can adapt to it/use those principles in his working life.*******
########This book is about life in the topmost management consultancy firm of the world and is the ultimate insider to an employee's life in it#########
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short, clear introduction into management consultancy, December 30, 2000
By 
Gerard Kroese (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
McKinsey & Company is a world-famous strategic consulting company, also known as "The Firm". Ethan Rasiel worked at McKinsey & Co. for several years and provides a quick, clear introduction into management consulting firm's problem solving methods. "I wrote this book with the goal of communicating new and useful skills to everyone who wants to be more efficient and effective in business. ... In addition, this book will give any executive woho works with management consultants, whether McKinsey or elsewhere, some insight into how these strange beings think."

The book is split up into five parts. In Part I, Ethan Rasiel explains the McKinsey-way of thinking about business problems. The author explains that the solution of the problem needs to be fact-based (facts are friendly), rigidly structured (MECE = mutually exclusive), and hypothesis-driven (solve the problem at the first meeting - the initial hypothesis). In addition, the author explains how McKinsey-ites approach business problems and apply the McKinsey problem-solving process to maximum effect. There is also a short introduction into a number of rules which McKinsey-consultants use for problem-solving purposes: the 80/20-rule, find the key drivers, the elevator test - sell in 30 seconds, make a chart every day, look at the big picture, say "I don't know", and don't accept "I have no idea".

In Part II, the author introduces the McKinsey-way of working to solve business problems. The author explains the selling process at McKinsey (the Firm does not sell, it markets), how to structure an engagement, and assembling of a team. Then the author comes to the most important part of the book, doing research, conducting interviews (the author insists on reading Chapter 8 - Conducting Interviews - "If you read no other chapter of the book from start to finish, read this one."), and brainstorming.

In Part III, the author, and the McKinsey-way of selling solutions. This part discusses the way McKinsey makes presentations, which is one of the strongest parts of McKinsey according to the author, displays data with charts (read Gene Zelazny (1985), 'Say it with Charts'), and the way to work with clients.

In Part IV, Rasiel gives some lessons how "McKinsey-ites" have learned for coping with the stresses of life at the Firm, and in Part V, the author recounts the lessons he learned at McKinsey and shares memories of various ex-McKinsey-ites. Both Part IV and V are 'a waste of paper' in comparison to the first three parts, but gives a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes at McKinsey & Co.

Yes, I can understand that some readers are disappointed by this book as it gives just an introduction into management consultancy (and McKinsey & Co). The author introduces the various problem-solving methods and tools, but does not discuss them in great detail. The author has responded to these criticisms by publishing The McKinsey Mind in 2002, which addresses this issue somewhat. However, for more details on the problem-solving methods and tools you will still have to read some other literature. I recommend you purchase The McKinsey Way if you want an introduction into management consultancy, and The McKinsey Mind if you want an introduction into problem-solving methods and tools.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McKinsey Trilogy (part 1 of 3), September 11, 2009
By 
Justin Belkin (NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The McKinsey Way (Hardcover)
Those of you interested in consulting careers might consider reading the McKinsey trilogy of books written by ex-McKinsey-ite, Ethan Rasiel. Within ten years of writing his first book on McKinsey, entitled "The McKinsey Way," Rasiel has witnessed "the Firm" double its number of professional consultants to 9,000, and increase its number of locations by almost 20% to 89 offices globally. McKinsey continues to thrive in up and down markets that included the tech bubble bursting, 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the worst economic recession since the 1930's. If you want to join this illustrious firm, then according to Rasiel, getting hired is simple:

"Be of above average intelligence, possess a record of academic achievement at a good college and a top business school, show evidence of achievement in all previous jobs, and demonstrate extraordinary analytical ability. [And] If you manage to clear all those hurdles, the key to joining the Firm may be the case interview" (p. 161).

But you don't have to work for McKinsey to benefit from applying its approach to your own business problems. The cornerstone for getting inside the McKinsey mind is the MECE (pronounced "me-see") mantra - an acronym that stands for "mutually exclusive, completely exhaustive." And this doesn't refer to the hours you'll be working as a consultant. Although they will also be mutually exclusive, completely exhaustive!

The process begins once the client comes to you with a problem. You must first dissect the problem into its simple constituent parts. For example, if the client says, "We need to make more money," then you should immediately respond, "Well, how do you currently make your money?" When the client answers that they make money by selling product X, then the obvious question becomes, "How do we sell more of product X." Next, to make this initial root question conform to MECE standards we exhaustively look at ALL the factors that might effect sales of product X, including production costs, distribution channels, and marketing. Then, re-phrase the question(s) into "action statements." For example, "We can increase product X sales by: reducing our unit costs, changing the way we sell to customers, and improving the way we market to customers (this construct can be teased out further by constructing an "issue tree").

Once organized into this framework, we can form our initial hypotheses on how to solve the problem(s). Finally, we test our hypotheses by verifying them against the facts ("trust, but verify"). Facts trump all else. Ethan Rasiel warns us, "Hiding from the facts is a prescription for failure - eventually, truth will out" (p. 5). The McKinsey system relies heavily on the availability and accuracy of these facts, some of which are gathered through its proprietary "PDnet" system - a collection of recent "client engagements," and internal research & publications ("The McKinsey Quarterly"). Such an analytical framework that breaks propositions down into their "atomic facts" would make the logical positivists of the 1920's that occupied Oxbridge very happy.

Having studies philosophy during college, it seems that a background in philosophy would be great training for being a consultant, because you must be a generalist, yet also possess the analytical ability to delve into the nitty-gritty. Rasiel quotes one Engagement Manager who said, "You have to be fundamentally skeptical about everything" (p. 2).

Another feature of McKinsey that can benefit other organizations is their "free-flow of information" philosophy that is nurtured through a lateral hierarchy. While there exists a clear pecking order: Director of Client Services (DCS), Director, Partner, Senior Engagement Manager (SEM), Engagement Manager (EM), and Associate, McKinsey adopts an open-door policy. You MUST keep others "in the loop." Sometimes the best ideas come from your teammates, Rasiel advises, "Keep an open and flexible mind. Don't let a strong initial hypothesis become an excuse for mental inflexibility" (p. 21). There will be times, however, when even the best ideas (no matter who comes up with them) just cannot be implemented for the client due to "political reasons, lack of resources or inability."

Rasiel also discovered several other useful rules while working as an associate at McKinsey (from 1989 to 1992) that might help you. For example, for some unknown reason the 80/20 rule - that 20% of the work is responsible for 80% of the results - seems to apply to many facets of life, including business. As alluded to earlier, it is also important to consult your co-workers, rather than have to re-invent the wheel. And if you're chatting it up with your EM, then you better be familiar enough with the client solution to be able to articulate it in the 30 seconds it takes to ride down in an elevator with him. A final useful point to remember is that on your quest to discovering the holy grail (big picture) be sure to go after little victories by "picking the low-hanging fruit." While you don't need to work at McKinsey to develop this analytical frame of mind, the Firm is filled with such people, and the lessons are universal in their application.
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The McKinsey Way
The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel (Hardcover - February 1, 1999)
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