How much do McKinsey

Management consultant: salary, application, work at PwC, McKinsey & Co.

  • PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young are the four largest management consultancies in the world.
  • According to a study, the public sector in Germany spent around three billion euros on advice last year.
  • Three consultants told Business Insider what day-to-day work at the “Big Four” really looks like, why they decided for the job - and what you can earn as a management consultant.
  • You can find more articles on Business Insider here.

Max Flötotto is sitting on a podium on a rainy afternoon in Brussels, he shares it as a matter of course with General Directors of the EU Commission and board members of EU financial supervisory authorities. He describes three scenarios how one could deepen the cooperation between European banks. The ideas are original, and Flötotto also provides the number-based analysis.

The man works for McKinsey, one of the most famous and exclusive consultancies in the world. On stage, Flötotto jokes that his analysis normally would have cost a lot of money, which is why he did not describe it in full. The last part was no joke, McKinsey cares about money.

The public sector in Germany spent around three billion euros on advice last year

McKinsey employs more than 30,000 people worldwide. 3,000 of them work in Germany. McKinsey says it receives 42,000 applications every year in Germany, and the company is planning 780 new hires this year. Business is running and even if McKinsey does not provide any information on sales, profit and customers, one customer is now very well known.

McKinsey has made headlines in recent years thanks to its expensive consultancy contracts with the Federal Ministry of Defense (BMVg), which is plunging from one crisis to the next. Katrin Suder, who was head of advisory work in the public sector at McKinsey, was even lured into the ministry by former minister Ursula von der Leyen and appointed parliamentary state secretary. In the hierarchy of the federal government, only ministers or federal chancellors come above this.

Many imagine consultants like characters from the Mad Men series

The industry has an idiosyncratic reputation. Many imagine consultants as characters from the Mad Men series who drink a lot, work even more, have little private life, but in return have a lot of money and influence.

Dietmar Frank, professor of management consulting at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, estimates in a study that the public sector in Germany spent around three billion euros on consulting last year.

Research by BILD am Sonntag and Business Insider show that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) alone, one of the four largest consultancies in the world and Germany's number 1, has turned over around 456,000,000 euros with public clients in the last two years.

Optimization not only takes place at work, but also in private life

Lena Bauer * was recently promoted to manager at PwC. She likes to read guidebooks. To be precise, when Bauer reads books, she only takes advice on hand. It optimizes not only professionally, but also privately. She renounces alcohol, instead drinks water and no longer buys strained tomatoes in the supermarket. After all, it could contain sugar.

Bauer completed a dual bachelor's degree and completed her master's degree in business administration through distance learning. She was not at an elite university, nor was she abroad during her studies.

“In some departments at PwC, however, there is exactly this type of consultant: brilliant pupil with international experience, subsequent studies at an elite university with stays abroad, social commitment and good parents,” says Bauer. In her department, however, she is not a rarity, since various CVs are normal.

When accepting applicants, particular care should be taken to accept people from different courses, not just economists. PwC has found that colorful teams work more efficiently and are more creative, says Bauer, who herself conducts job interviews.

Four magical reasons were decisive for the consultation

After completing her studies, Bauer wrote exactly one application and sent it to PwC. She was taken immediately. “At that time I didn't know what the 'Big Four' were. So I was probably the only one among the applicants. The consulting scene was alien to me. ”The“ Big Four ”are the four largest management consultancies in the world, which include PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young.

"Why do I work for a consultancy? There are exactly four reasons for this. Firstly, the environment is dynamic, secondly, there are varied projects, thirdly, you have an exponential learning curve, and last but not least, you have excellent career opportunities, ”says Bauer.

Women still have a harder time, despite the efforts of the deliberations

But then she does limit her good career opportunities, because it is more difficult for women. “At the entry level, the quotas at PwC are balanced between men and women. However, if you go higher up the hierarchy, the proportion of women continues to thin out. At partner level, there are only men in my area, ”says Bauer.

When asked by Business Insider, a PwC spokesman said: “The percentage of women in management positions is currently 32 percent. The further increase in the proportion of women among our managers is a declared strategic goal on which we are working intensively. "

Bauer is hardly at home. She flies to customers in southern Germany and Bonn four days a week and spends a maximum of three days at home. But that doesn't bother her, she likes to talk enthusiastically and enthusiastically about the hotels in which she is staying. She has now accumulated so many bonus points with a well-known hotel chain that she can spend entire weekends there for free.

Regina Schmidt *, worked for one of the Big Four consultancies for two years and quit this spring. The doctor of economics actually wanted to become a business coach and advise companies on her own. But she only knew the business world from research.

The consultation therefore seemed like a good place for her to get to know numerous companies, their processes and their culture. "Friends who worked for the Big Four told me that a year in consulting brings as much experience and knowledge as two years in industry," says Schmidt.

"Half of the colleagues will not be there in two years"

At the PwC introductory event, she was greeted alongside the other successful applicants with the words that she would not see half of her colleagues again in two years. The fluctuation in consultations is high and is factored in by the management.

“A major motivation for people not to change is the carrot that consultations hold in front of their noses: the promotion and the associated pay rise,” says Schmidt. There are many myths surrounding the starting salaries that the Big Four are supposed to pay.

Schmidt joined PwC as a Senior Consultant, one level above the normal entry level as a Consultant. As a doctor of economics, she received a net salary of 2,300 euros. Not an exorbitantly high salary, for her level of qualification it is even moderate.

Three reasons to quit

Schmidt had exactly three reasons for her resignation: on the one hand, she found her job to be “hollow”, hardly intellectually stimulating. She found the advice to be a huge administrative apparatus in which you have to log and prove your activities every tenth of an hour so that you can justify the invoices you send to the customer. That ties up enormous time resources. Above all, however, she felt that she was being delayed during her promotion.

Flötotto also has a doctorate in economics. He first studied in Mannheim and then did his doctorate at the elite Stanford University in the USA. He researched and published a lot during this time. He says he loved the time there. He met his wife while studying in Germany; she later worked in the tech field in Silicon Valley. They had both been in the US for so long that they were faced with the decision to either stay there forever or come back to Germany. They chose the latter. Flötotto then did an internship at McKinsey, a good start to find something else, he thought.

The workload is high

“Then I fell in love with work. It was and is intellectually very demanding, you always work in teams and rarely alone. I also like the three fields of work as a consultant: working with people, exciting problems and working with very strong teams ”.

Flötotto has been with McKinsey for ten years and has become a partner. He admits that the workload is heavy during the week. “The weekends are strictly protected, almost sacred,” he says.

Contrary to what is often assumed, the employees at McKinsey are not all politically on the same line. “Everything is included in the democratic spectrum, from conservative to liberal to left”. He himself was once with the Jusos in his youth.

Flötotto, Bauer and Schmidt have different educational backgrounds, come from different social contexts and are at different stages of their careers. However, they have some characteristics in common: their ambition, their preference for structured work processes and, above all, their willingness to work a lot.

* Names were changed by the editorial team at the request of the interviewees.