The Firm by Duff McDonald
This book takes you on a detailed journey elaborating on the history of McKinsey & Company founded it 1926. McKinsey, as it is referred to through the book, started as an accounting based firm but focused on using the information acquired to help manage businesses. They turned the corner of pulling accounting and management together as one team. As the company progressed they later became known as a consulting firm, one of the first in the American market.
Their client list is one of the most prestigious in the world offering information on IBM, GM, Madison Square Garden, and many more, but also includes firms they worked with of negative notoriety such as Enron. Though McKinsey was working with Enron during their collapse McKinsey surfaced without even a scratch on their reputation. Through their business management they survived with ease through economic down turns and depressions mainly because they always looked for the next new wave of business success and they expanded to a world market early. Their fees were excessive as quoted by many companies, but the results usually justified the expense.
McKinsey has had some of the CEO greats work through their organization prior to their appointment as a CEO; they name many and offer their history with McKinsey and on to their careers with other companies. It is noted that in 2011 McKinsey was the largest recruiter of MBAs of top schools. This was one of their strengths, get the best young and have them work through McKinsey ranks for low wages and then move on.
The book sites a large number of works to compile the book, plus it is noted McKinsey & Company was cooperative in the author’s research. The author is a financial journalist. In closing Duff McDonald offers the following perspective which I feel sums up the book well. “McKinsey’s greatest challenge going forward – the true test of their genius – is no longer finding inspired solutions to their clients’ problems it is managing the complications that have resulted from their own stupendous success.”
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