The McKinsey Way - Ethan Rasiel

The McKinsey Way - Ethan Rasiel

Learn the consulting main techniques and strategies of the most important and world-renowned company in the business: McKinsey & Company.

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In today's competitive world, companies are hiring more and more consultants to support their strategies and improve their bottom line. And when it comes to consulting, it's almost impossible not to talk about McKinsey. Ethan Rasiel shares the best practices he had learned working there in the book "The McKinsey Way".

If you don't know how big this company is, understand that McKinsey is for Business Management just what McDonald's is for the hamburger.

McKinsey is a world-renowned consulting firm, where corporations hire expertise in problem-solving. And there is no better to learn about the company if with someone who already had worked there, right?

Got interest to learn about strategies and tips from this reference in consulting? Stay with us in this summary!

About the book "The McKinsey Way"

Published in 1999, the book "The McKinsey Way", by the author Ethan Rasiel, seeks to present the methodologies that will help the professionals to think like a consultant of McKinsey.

Divided into five parts, the book addresses the problems of the business world and how to work to solve them. In addition, the author shares various lessons and his experiences.

About the author Ethan Rasiel

Ethan Rasiel holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton and holds a Wharton MBA certificate. He had experience in the investment bank and mutual funds, but his most remarkable experience was from 1989 to 1992, when he was part of McKinsey & Company.

At that time, his practice involved companies in the finance, computing, and consumer goods sectors. Besides, Rasiel published the book "The McKinsey Mind", which also implies the time in which he lived in the office of the largest consulting company in the world.

To whom is this book indicated?

The content of the book is ideal for you who intend to develop and leverage your career by learning from the best in what they do.

Also, individuals who seek to be more effective and efficient in business, learning tested and approved methods. Also, for those who want to become a consultant, will see the essential tips and strategies for good results.

Main ideas of the book "The McKinsey Way"

This summary has been divided into 5 parts, we intend to share with you the best McKinsey strategies according to the author.

  • List the problems, but condense between 2 and 5;
  • To be more efficient, find the most important factors that influence the business problem and focus on them;
  • The 80/20 rule is simple, practical and can yield great results;
  • Select people with the skills required by your project;
  • Copy what is working;
  • Prepare for brainstorming, study all data and information first;
  • Learn how to structure life, problem-solving processes, solutions, presentations, emails, and so on;
  • Get support in all areas of the organization;
  • Have a mentor within the organization, preferably one that is superior to you.

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[Book Summary] The McKinsey Way - Ethan Rasiel

Overview: Address business problems

Working out the solution

To solve a problem, McKinsey relies on three conditions. They are:

  • Facts base;
  • Rigorously structured;
  • Hypothesis-driven.

In addition, the author introduces the MECE method (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive), used to structure his thinking in solving problems, making him clear and minimizing confusion. When you relate your ideas or problems, you have to be aware that the points do not overlap.

This overlapping, most of the time, is caused by the confused thinking of who is conveying the idea and brings this confusion to the listener or reader. Ethan Rasiel suggests that we make a list of problem items, where we should separate and distinguish these items, and consider each issue or item relevant to the problem.

For you to build a good list, it can not contain more than five items or fewer than two. Finally, he says solving the problem at the first meeting is critical. Make an initial hypothesis - it will be your problem-solving map - then make an actionable recommendation and then test your reasoning with your teammates.

The 80/20 Rule

According to Ethan, the 80/20 rule is nothing more than data. He advises us to put this data into a spreadsheet or database and classify it in a number of ways. By this way, you will begin to see patterns that stand out and you have not realized yet, besides, you will observe significant opportunities.

In this analysis, the author suggests that we be selective and ignore some data.

If you still do not know how to organize this data into spreadsheets or graphs or presents a difficulty, don't worry!

The elevator test

The elevator test is that you know the solution very well so that you can explain it clearly and accurately to your customer in just 30 seconds. The suggestion is that you show them the problems and the t hree key recommendations for solving the problem.

Overview: Troubleshooting business

Setting up a team

To succeed in solving problems, you need a great team. For this, more people mean more minds saying what the data means, but you have to select the right people in the right positions.

  • Do not present the problem to random people and wait for a solution. Select those with skills that will fit into your project carefully;
  • Promote unity between you and the team, but do it naturally;
  • Maintain the morale of your team continuously, always motivating them.

Have a varied team, think of skills and personalities that will work best for your project. Lastly, you have to be the leader of that boat.

Doing research

No matter what the problem, someone must have gone through something like that, and maybe that solution is closer than you think. So save your time and try not to reinvent the wheel, copy what works!

During your research, there is a great flow of information that you can take advantage of. Start with the annual reports, which is why you will see the company's performance, its strategy, what the company expected to do, and if it is on the right track.

Discover the secrets of the industries that have been performing well, and imitate them. Most of the time, best practices may be within your company.


Many people think that it is silly, but for McKinsey to do a brainstorming it is needed a good deal of preparation, starting with the work done at home, that is, being inside all the data and information available and relevant to the subject being discussed.

The main point is the generation of new ideas, far from all preconceived ideas. Bring all the facts you know, but find new ways to look at them. So that you can select the best ideas, use our spreadsheet!

Overview: Sell the solutions

Making presentations

An important step in your presentation is to have a good structure. It should allow the public to follow the path of their logic clearly and easily to follow and be understood.

Never let the good become the enemy of the best, so resist the insignificant last-minute changes as they do not add value and make you have a bad night of sleep. Make changes in advance, and ask for feedback from a superior about this document.

Before the presentation, make an instruction of the conclusions for your client. Do not let new information.

Work with customers

You need to work with the customer's team, otherwise, the work may become unattainable. In addition, they have to be aware that everyone's efforts are important and beneficial to them.

Not all team members will have the skills and goals required by the project. This gives you two options: to fire or control them.

Another important step is to get responsible members within that client's team, or else work around them.

Engaging the customer in the process is critical so that he can support you, otherwise, the project may be disrupted.

Making the change happens generates a lot of work, so you need to be rigorous, complete and get support in all areas.

Overview: Surviving McKinsey

One great opportunity Ethan Rasiel suggests in the book "The McKinsey Way" is that you find your mentor within the organization, taking advantage of all the knowledge and experience of it.

It will ease your way to success, but even so, this trajectory will require a lot from you, so it is critical to make this an adventure, alleviating your burden. Have proper planning and attitude.

In order for the planning to be executed in the best possible way, one way suggested by the author is that you have a good assistant on your side. That person responsible for your schedule, errands, perform tasks that can be delegated and keep your professional life organized.

To achieve all this success, McKinsey has always opted for analytical minds, which can examine the problem in parts and a good degree of criticality.

Overview: Life after McKinsey

This final part is one of the leanest in the book, it tells of with testimonials what lessons and learnings the former McKinsey consultant have extracted.

Below, we have two of these testimonials, check out:

"I have learned to value honesty and integrity in business, that is what McKinsey instills in his people and emphasizes" - Hamish McDermott.

"Concentrating resources and eliminating hierarchy leads to better decisions" - Former EM of the Cleveland office.

What do other authors say about It?

In the book by the Brazilian businessman Flávio Augusto, "Value Generation: Sharing Inspiration", he shows how, rather than just working for capital, it is important to generate value for clients. By generating value in other people's lives, in return, they will generate value for you.

In the book "The Consulting Bible", author Alan Weiss shows methods and techniques of the consulting service, ranging from strategy and positioning of the service to more operational issues.

Finally, in "The Effective Executive", Peter F. Drucker clarifies that executives can be brilliant, imaginative, and informed, yet inefficient. Effective executives are systematic. They work hard in the right areas and their results define them. They are knowledgeable professionals who help the company to beat its goals.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

The book brings good lessons that can be fully applied in your business routine or as a consultant, aiming for success.

It's time for you to structure all the content presented in the overviews and analyze your company's issues, don't forget to be patient! Big results don't come up in one day.

The book also emphasizes to observe and define your group clearly, they will be the responsible for changing your business! The more varied your team be, better will be the brainstorming and other important tasks!

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Book 'The McKinsey Way'