McKinsey & Company is an American worldwide management consulting firm. It conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis to evaluate management decisions across public and private sectors. McKinsey publishes the McKinsey Quarterly since 1964, funds the McKinsey Global Institute research organization, publishes reports on management topics, and has authored many influential books on management. Its practices of confidentiality, influence on business practices, and corporate culture have experienced a polarizing reception.
McKinsey was founded in 1926 by James O. McKinsey in order to apply accounting principles to management. McKinsey died in 1937, and the firm was restructured several times, with the modern-day McKinsey & Company emerging in 1939. Marvin Bower is credited with establishing McKinsey’s culture and practices in the 1930s based on the principles he experienced as a lawyer. The firm developed an “up or out” policy, where consultants who are not promoted are asked to leave. McKinsey was the first management consultancy to hire recent college graduates, rather than experienced managers.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the firm expanded internationally and established new practice areas. It had 88 staff in 1951, 7,700 by the early 2000s and 27,000+ by 2018. McKinsey’s consulting has helped to establish many of the norms in business and contributed to many of the major successes and failures in business in the modern era.