May 3, 2003

The Continuing McKinsey Mystique says:
'Positioning' is indeed a key differentiator. The firm goes to incredible lengths to gain the confidence of decision makers in what it believes will be large or strongly growing markets in five years' time or more. That is why McKinsey has been making a strong push in countries such as China and India, which cannot possibly be justified in terms of the immediate return, but which may be looking good when we all grow a little older. The partnership structure helps. 'Gratification or profit deferred' is not a phrase that actually rolls off the lips of McKinsey's top staff when describing their willingness to look to the long term; but it would be just about unthinkable for publicly-quoted firms to take the same long-term view.