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What They Don’t Teach MBAs at McKinsey Training

by Larry Chiang on September 26, 2012

UPDATE: Duke is great. I was joking.

By Larry Chiang

Ahh, McKinsey.

In a pattern similar to back-to-school, McKinsey hosts a few dozen newbies with freshly pressed MBAs. It’s Sept 26, so we are all back from Summer travels & post June graduations!

Inside the tier one, Huang-Engineering-quality, corporate classrooms, McKinsey trains. And trains. McKinsey techniques & operating systems are uploaded into new recruits like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix. Right into the cerebral cortex.

Here is what they will NEVER teach MBAs here in SF at McKinsey

-1- You have to rep (promote) the undergrad institution that loved you first.

Everyone here inside the McKinsey walls has an academically lauded, b-school accelerated pedigree. There is no one from a tier two school and maybe one aberration from Fuqua. It is all Boston and bay area with a dash of tri-state.

Most intros, bios and informational sound-bytes lead-off with the commonality that is homogeneously B-school.


BEST PRACTICES: Plug the institution that you cranked an undergrad degree at. The reasoning is that consultants are bored with the homogenous nature of fellow consultants. Undergrad is character-building, raw, revealing and real. This leads me to my next tip…

-2- Hide the tier one MBA school you graduated from.

MBAs are in a PR tailspin. I think MBAs are valuable.

Hide the MBA because remember your business card says “MCKINSEY”. The MBA knowledge is assumed along with an email address that is first name, SPACE…, last name @McKinsey dot com. Also extrapolated is your freshly downloaded ‘McKinsey mind-set’.

-3- Benchmarking Sex on the Road

Sex, dating and relationship for consultants is different.

Remember, when consultants have ‘sex on the beach’ it’s still in a sterile Starwood preferred Platinum, upgraded room.

It’s chapter 7 of my book.

Skip purchasing it, pay down your Sloan school loan and watch the free YouTube summary of my sex chapter. It is “Chapter 7: The Sex Chapter”

Disclosure: Mark McCormack was my mentor and his success recipes from his 1983 NY Times bestseller, I repackaged as WTDTYASBS.

-4- Make Your Home Apt a Sterile Hotel Room with a Westin Bed

Dampening the travel wear-and-tear is impossible*. Living life out of a Tumi roller-board and Bosca travel toiletry kit is just cliche. Losers use Coach for toiletry kits because they aren’t lined with supple extruded rubber w a 0.014 thickness like a Bosca.

If you do not sterilize your home condo and turn it into a hotel room, you will dread going home. As a consequence, you will just book random flights to random cities just to put-off going home.

Disclosure: I’m a Westin supermodel and make money appearing in ads for the hotel chain. I financially benefit grand opening new Westin’s like the new one in SJ.

-5- Wardrobing.

All of my pants match all of my shirts. It’s like admit weekend. My pants matched all the guys shirts during the pre-MBA meet-and-greet. If me and a female from admit weekend were to be in a picture, it would look homogeneously domestic too.

*********** What McKinsey Will NEVER Teach You About UNDERWEAR ************

All of my anti-microbial socks are the same whether I’m playing basketball at Stanford University or dressed in a suit guest lecturing the PWC / Deloitte / Accenture class in NYC /SF/ St Charles, ILLINOIS. Anti-microbial as an Asian means if my project goes five days over, I can wear the same socks back-to-back-to-back

My underwear is engineered anti-microbial too

Disclosure: I’m a supermodel and make money selling Nike underwear. I financially benefit when Team Nike (pro athletes) wear “Larry Chiang 75.00 Nike Boxer Shorts”.

-6- Do NOT Collect the Points

Paul Graham has a blog post called “first thing you think about”. Basically you should google it. Summary = solve something that you focus on.

Points and status is a consultants’ game within a game. Don’t play. Playing the points game distracts you.

You see, men think about sex 7 times a day. Well, me and my 88 IQ outflank, outmaneuver, out-execute TEAMS of tier one MBAs.


Instead of thinking about sex 7x, I upload entrepreneur knowledge 1-6x per day in lieu of sexting. Airline reward points are statistically thought about as much or more. Think and talk about stuff that is more significant than stupid airline points.

Cashing in a airline points comp should be like banging a fat comm college chick at the Stanford Fiesta bowl’s hotel W event: not good + not talked about.

Mark Cuban has a blog post called “focus on your effort not your passion” Do not be passionate about points.

-7- Do Collect Live Action Business Case Studies

HBS biz case studies suck and are outdated. During training these two weeks, I’ll never hear of an HBS case study regurgitated. Yes, quote me and my crystal balls.

We as consultants do not want to peak in our careers. Don’t be a cliche by longingly uttering 9 years from now:

“oh, I was a McKinsey consultant.”

Plot spoiler, you’re not making partner.

Instead of collected stupid points like a hamster with a NYU Stern MBA (notice there are zero Stern people here and way way fewer Wharton-ites :-). Instead of collecting negligible int’l roundtrip flights, collect ‘live action business case studies’

-8- i-bankers and consultants often peak 24-30 months after they start working.

Sooner or later you’ll have to provide real value 😉

Focus on all the cool shitake that McKinsey cranks out because you’re in desperate need of an exit strategy.

You will need to exit this first job at McKinsey. It’s a great job but do not peak during your stint here. Spend your mental energy on a genius exit strategy from this McKinsey gig.

Hiding your McKinsey foray in the same way you “hide” your MBA is another article for a future day.


-9- This is what they *DO* teach you at Stanford Engineering

Yes, I am the mega-douche that just put an ENGINEERING class (on technology entrepreneurship) inside a b-school in an Ivy. You’re graduated so here is what you’ll miss next year…

The engineering class is called E145. Its the class that Tom Byers / Tom Kosnik started and teach. ENGR145’s Anchor Concept moves you to the right on the entrepreneur engineer bell curve (embed 9:59 video summary)

Same textbooks. Same syllabus. Same content but taught at a business school as an UnOfficial class by undergrads who took ENGR 145.

See it, do it, teach it is sorta like McKinsey except for the “do it” part.

End article for Always On

CEO of Duck9 Founding Stanford University EIR (Entrepreneur in Residence) Emeritus

Duck9 = “Deep Underground Credit Knowledge” 9 125 University Avenue/ 100 Palo Alto CA 94301 650-566-9600 650-566-9696 (direct) 650-283-8008 (cell)

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52 Cards. Two Jokers. What They DO Teach You at Stanford Engineering

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

PanickingNow May 14, 2015 at 8:02 am

The second half of your comment, “There is no one from a tier two school and maybe one aberration from Fuqua”, makes me really skeptical about my future at McKinsey. I hope not all of my future colleagues are like you.

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