All major consulting firms such as McKinsey, BCG, and Bain are making significant efforts to build and hone their alumni networks.
Why? Before answering this question, I first want to address what an alumni network is.
An alumni network of a consulting firm is a group of individuals who have previously worked at the consulting firm and have stayed connected to the firm and to each other after leaving the company. These networks typically include former employees at all levels, from entry-level consultants to senior partners.
Such networks allow the alumni to stay connected to the firm and its network, even after leaving the company. They include events, webinars, and publications and are also open for partnerships with other companies and organizations. In addition to the continuous engagement program, consulting firms also have an alumni website (e.g., McKinsey’s Alumni website), which provides a platform for alumni to connect with each other and to stay updated on the latest developments at the firm.
What is the purpose of an alumni network?
The main purpose of an alumni network is to provide former employees with ongoing access to the resources, knowledge, and connections of the consulting firm, even after they have left the company. These networks can also serve as a way for alumni to stay connected to each other and to the consulting firm, to share job opportunities, to provide mentorship and guidance, and to collaborate on new projects or initiatives.
It’s important to note that alumni networks vary depending on the consulting firm, some firms like McKinsey invest heavily in the engagement program for their alumni, while others may not have a formal program.
What is the benefit of taking care of your firm’s alumni?
Those alumni networks are not kept alive due to altruism or benevolence on a firm’s part but rather due to the simple calculation of economic interests
An alumni network can be beneficial for both the consulting firm and its alumni. For the consulting firm, an active alumni network can help to maintain positive relationships with former employees, to recruit top talent, and to promote the consulting firm’s brand. On top of that, former alumni, who move on to industry roles (usually decision-makers in influential roles) are more likely to hire their previous firm for consulting services. For alumni, an active alumni network can provide access to valuable resources, knowledge, and connections that can help to advance their careers and can also serve as a source of support and community.
Why is McKinsey’s alumni network so strong?
McKinsey was the first firm to acknowledge the value and importance of its former employees very early.
The McKinsey alumni network was started in the early days of the firm. From the start, the firm has had a strong culture of mentorship and a focus on professional development. As the firm grew, its alumni network also grew, and many former employees stayed connected to the firm and to each other after leaving the company.
The McKinsey alumni network is considered to be strong for several reasons:
- Reputation: McKinsey is the most prestigious consulting firm in the world, and its alumni are highly respected in the business world. This reputation can open doors and provide opportunities for alumni in their future careers.
- Size: McKinsey has a large alumni network with thousands of alumni worldwide. This large network allows for a broad range of connections and resources.
- Professional development: McKinsey is known for its rigorous training and development programs, which can help its alumni develop skills, knowledge, and networks that are valuable in their future careers.
- Global reach: McKinsey has a global presence, with offices in more than 130 cities worldwide. This global reach means that alumni can tap into the resources and networks of McKinsey in multiple countries and industries.
- Strong culture and values: McKinsey has a strong culture and set of values that foster teamwork, collaboration, and mutual support among its employees. This culture is carried over to the alumni network and helps to create a strong sense of community and connection among its members.
- Continuous engagement: McKinsey has a continuous engagement program that allows the alumni to stay connected to the firm and its network, even after leaving the company. This program includes events, webinars, and publications.
- Mentorship: McKinsey alumni are encouraged to mentor current consultants and new alumni. This provides opportunities for personal and professional growth for both mentors and mentees and helps to strengthen the network.
- Partnership: McKinsey alumni network is also open for partnerships with other companies and organizations, this further increases the resources and opportunities available to the alumni.
The strength of the McKinsey alumni network is a combination of the above factors and the dedication of the alumni themselves to maintain the relationship with the firm and with each other.
The exact amount that McKinsey invests into its alumni network is not publicly available, however, it’s clear that the Firm puts a significant effort and investment to maintain a strong alumni network, as it provides the firm with a way to maintain positive relationships with former employees, to recruit top talent, and to promote the consulting firm’s brand.
Important McKinsey alumni
- Frank Appel – CEO of Deutsche Post DHL
- Delphine Arnault – Executive Vice President of Louis Vuitton
- Vittorio Colao – CEO of Vodafone
- Bjarne Corydon — Finance Minister of Denmark
- Jane Fraser – CEO of Citigroup
- Mario Greco – CEO of Zurich Insurance Group
- Stephen Green – chairman of HSBC
- Jørgen Vig Knudstorp – CEO of Lego Group
- Kyriakos Mitsotakis – Prime Minister of Greece (2019–Present)
- James McNerney – former chairman and CEO of Boeing
- Azran Osman Rani – CEO of AirAsia X
- Sundar Pichai – CEO of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google
- Sheryl Sandberg – Former COO of Meta/Facebook
- Tony Xu – CEO of DoorDash
You can find a much more exhaustive list of McKinsey alumni on Wikipedia.
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