McKinsey bills the US government $3m a year for anodyne advice from 23-year-old college grads

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FOR CONTEXT: Pete Buttigieg worked at McKinsey for his first 3 years out of college.


Your tax dollars going to good use, again…


Reads a little ageist.

Sure, that kind of money is patently ridiculous, and I’m sure the return on investment is horrible. But I wouldn’t automatically assume more age or experience would necessarily offer a better value.


McKinsey’s reputation is that they are used to justify decisions management wants to make. Many manager’s might not even know they are being manipulated.

Manager wants to do X. Calls in McKensey and asks if X is a good option. McKinsey goes and bothers everyone in the company for information. Unless X is brain dead, they go back to the manager with a report on the positive aspects of X. Manager feels good, feels like McKinsey did a good job and would be inclined to use them again. Decision is made to do X.

Note how everything in italic is perfectly reasonable, but could have been skipped. But nobody wants to get the blame if X goes bad, so this also is a CYA move.

Put another way: any manager that uses McKinsey either doesn’t understand their job well enough to make a decision on their own and/or is just trying to cover their ass.

(disclaimer: I think McKinsey is a waste of money except in very limited roles.)

Edit: Sorry, this wasn’t meant to be a reply to Aeroplane. Clicked wrong buttons.


I don’t know about that, I’m 60 and I can do things folks half my age can’t. Like use daily denture adhesive, nap twice a day, get 10 percent off stuff, the list is long…


You could replace “McKinsey” with “consultant” throughout (and my consultant friend would probably agree).


I’m consulting, right now.


Your check is in the mail.


Sounds like McKinsey charges far in excess of the prevailing rate for consultancies. That’s easier to prove than “all consultancies are a waste of money”.


Easiest money I’ve ever made.

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I know folks who have worked as McKinsey consultants, and they have led me to believe it is a rather overrated company (who have worked for some very bad people).

That said, there’s nothing wrong with getting advice from from really smart 23 year-olds (they actually exist!). Anyone suggesting otherwise is bound to receive an “ok, boomer” or two. I know it’s hard for some people to hear, but young people can actually provide good advice (though if they’re working for McKinsey, their advice has been tainted by capitalism).

Still, $3 million is too much: even though it’s just a drop in the bucket, budget-wise, it’s entirely possible to find smart 23 year-olds for much cheaper.

And where was Chelsea Clinton’s first job?

McKinsey & Company.


Fresh out of college isn’t just “a little more age or experience.” There is a vast gulf of expertise difference between someone fresh out of college and someone with 10 years of relevant experience. I would argue there’s diminishing returns past that point, but experience is valued for a reason.


Ok…gotta post the consultant joke…

A sheep farmer is tending his flock when a city slicker rolls up in his BMW, hops out and asks, “Hey, if I tell you exactly how many sheep you have, can I take one?” The farmer nods, so the city slicker opens his laptop, calls up some satellite photos, runs some algorithms, and announces, “You have 1,432 sheep.”

Impressed, the farmer says, “You’re right. Go ahead and take one.” So the city slicker loads one of the animals into the backseat of the car. “Now,” says the farmer, “I’ll bet all my sheep against your car that I can tell you what you do for a living.”

A gaming sort, the city slicker says, “Sure.”

“You’re a consultant,” says the farmer.

“Wow!” says the consultant. “How’d you know?”

“Well,” says the farmer, “you come from nowhere even though I never asked you to. You drive a flash car, and waer a smart suit. You told me something I already knew. And you don’t know anything about my business. Now give me back my dog.”


Depends on the consultant. I’ve been an engineering consultant many times. But that’s usually to find or fix a specific problem. Not create a report. Makes for some interesting work.

Worked as a technical consultant for someone writing a screenplay.

Got paid in gold once! A friend was having trouble sourcing components. He offered $100 to find the right vendor. 15 minutes or research later, I gave him a name. He was thrilled, and asked how I’d like to be paid. I joked “in gold.” He thought it was hilarious and gave me 1/10 oz coin when gold was almost exactly $1000/oz.


At first glance, I read that as “…advice from 23-year-old college girls…”

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This is how the director of my department operates. Can’t lead a department meeting without their favorite consultant coming in and doing stupid ice breakers and team activities while the director sits in the back not even participating despite saying they want the consultant to lead the meeting so that they can participate. When we’re told we can’t get raises or reclasses, I always want to ask how much we’re paying to this consultant who is in the office every week or so.


Shouldn’t it be “…all McKinsey contracts with the US government should be canceled (they weren’t (yet))”.


If you have the federal register at hand, it’s so easy to cite the page that supports your assertion.
If you assert something about the federal register, it’s difficult for your readers to find the page that might support your assertion.

Almost like a one way hash function. (under 5 seconds to cite, in excess of the five day commenting period to reconstruct the cite that wasn’t there.)

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