By 2022, The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) had been named the number one private-sector think tank in the world for four years running in the University of Pennsylvania Lauder Institute’s annual Think Tank Index. MGI works with leading economists, including Nobel laureates, and have published in-depth reports covering more than 20 countries and 30 industries.
But what really is MGI? In this article, we provide an overview of the think tank, and how it impacts consultants at McKinsey.
- MGI is a think tank that aims to help leaders in commercial, public, and social sectors grasp the ever-changing global economy and provide research that contributes to critical decision-making.
- Research done by MGI covers six focus areas: productivity, competitiveness, and growth, natural resources, labor markets, financial markets, technology and innovation, and urbanization & infrastructure.
- As a McKinsey consultant you can work with MGI by either in an internal project or through a 6 – 18 month secondment.
What MGI is and why it exists
MGI was founded in 1990 and aims to help leaders in the commercial, public and social sector to have a better understanding of the ever-changing global economy.
The think tank uses the analytical tools of economics and blends them with the insights of business leaders; it examines microeconomic industry trends to give a deeper understanding of the macroeconomic forces affecting business strategy and public policy.
MGI’s current research focuses on six themes: productivity, competitiveness and growth, natural resources, labor markets, the evolution of global financial markets, the economic impact of technology and innovation, and urbanization & infrastructure. More recently, reports have covered topics on the digital economy, the impact of AI, and income inequality.
MGI’s work has impacted decision-making at the highest levels, especially in areas with little available thought leadership. The World Economic Forum for example repeatedly referenced MGI’s work on the immediate and future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing global shift to remote work on employees and employers, and hot topics such as the economic impact of a transition to net zero. Coincidentally, MGI reports on topics like these can be found on US state legislature websites.
MGI’s work also significantly influences the social justice sphere. Most recently, their work defining the broader economic and financial impact of gender and racial inequality has been referenced severally in the media, as well as in academic, political, and corporate diversity debates.
How MGI impacts you as a McKinsey consultant
As a McKinsey consultant, you’re likely to come across MGI in one way or another at some point during your time at the firm.
You may have a friend or family member mention that they read something about McKinsey’s research in the news. And you may also have the opportunity to work within MGI in two ways.
The first would be in the form of a normal project. But in this case, the project would be ‘internal’ and not client-facing.
The second would be to join MGI for a 6-18 month secondment after usually 3+ years at the firm. These opportunities are highly competitive and as a result usually only go to top performers.
Overall, the impact of MGI on you as a consultant is minimal but can provide additional interesting opportunities, particularly if MGI is doing research in an area of interest to you.