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McKinsey Vs. Goldman Sachs – 6 Differences

If you’ve recently graduated and aspire to launch your career at McKinsey or Goldman Sachs, you may need to be aware of the differences between these two contrasting industry giants.

Despite being industry giants, McKinsey and Goldman Sachs offer distinctive professional tracks, salaries, and exit opportunities for those looking to kickstart their careers. 

The key 6 differences between McKinsey and Goldman Sachs are:

  • Brand value and prestige
  • Salaries
  • Job acceptance rate
  • Employee count
  • Inclusion and diversity
  • Exit opportunities

In this post, I’ll profoundly explore these 6 significant differences between McKinsey and Goldman Sachs that might help you choose one for your career. 

1. Brand Value And Prestige

Regarding brand value and prestige, both McKinsey and Goldman Sachs hold impressive reputations but excel in different ways.

McKinsey & Company is widely recognized as one of the top-tier consulting firms globally. Since 1926, It has built a solid brand based on its expertise in strategy, problem-solving, and delivering impactful results to its Fortune 1000 clients. Some of them are:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Microsoft
  • The U.S. Department of Energy
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 


Meanwhile, the prestige of McKinsey is also highly regarded as this firm is synonymous with professionalism, thought leadership, and innovation in the consulting industry.

On the other hand, Goldman Sachs is renowned as the most prestigious bank on Wall Street. Founded in 1869, this bank has established a long-standing reputation for excellence in financial services. (Source)

The firm has investment banking, securities, and asset management expertise and has been a leading player in the finance industry, advising major corporations, governments, and institutions on complex financial matters. 

2. Salaries – McKinsey Vs. Goldman Sachs

When considering career options at McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs, evaluating the potential salaries for different positions is also essential. 

At McKinsey, salaries vary depending on factors such as location and role. For example, entry-level analysts can expect an average salary range of $90,000 to $110,000, while experienced associates with an MBA earn around $233,000 annually. 

Whereas at Goldman Sachs, wages also differ across various positions. The highest-paying role is managing director, with an average salary of $280,110.

The table below gives you a comparative overview of salaries for different positions at each firm.

PositionMcKinsey & Company Goldman Sachs 
Analyst (Entry Level)$90,000 – $110,000 $72,507
Associate (MBA holders with experience)$233,000 $101,246
Vice President$250,000$140,526


3. Getting A Job At McKinsey Or Goldman Sachs

Securing a job at McKinsey, known for its prestigious management consulting services, can be difficult, as the company receives over a million applications annually but hires less than one percent of applicants. (Source)

The rigorous selection process and the company’s reputation for being highly selective make landing a job at this firm formidable.

Similarly, obtaining a position at Goldman Sachs, a premier investment banking company, is no easy feat. However, the acceptance rate is around 4 percent, making it less challenging than McKinsey. (Source)

Nonetheless, the key to increasing your chances of getting hired comprises in:

  • Persistence and resilience
  • Strong application and documentation
  • Professional social media presence
  • Preparation for the interview
  • Try Try Again…!

4. Employee Count – McKinsey Vs. Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Company Inc are prominent global companies, employing thousands of individuals worldwide. 

According to my research, In 2022, Goldman Sachs reported a global employee count of 48,500. This figure represented an overall increase from previous years, indicating the company’s growth and expansion. (Source)

On the other hand, McKinsey & Company, focusing on consulting services, had an employee count of 38,000 during the same period. Despite the disparity in employee numbers, both companies play crucial roles in their respective industries. (Source)

5. Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

McKinsey & Company has made strides in fostering a diverse workforce. They have reported that 47% of their employees are women, indicating a commitment to gender equality. (Source)

Moreover, the most common ethnicity among their employees is White, accounting for 50% of their workforce. They also have a significant representation of Asian workers, making up 21% of their staff.

On the other hand, Goldman Sachs has shared data on workforce diversity and inclusion for 2021. They reported a 42.2% participation rate of women in their global workforce, showcasing an increase from the previous year. (Source

Furthermore, the company aims for Black professionals to represent 7% of their executive workforce in the Americas and the UK by 2025.

To summarize the ethnicity comparison, let’s take a look at the table below:

FactorsMcKinsey & Company IncGoldman Sachs
Asian Employees21%25.1%
Black Professionals13.1%Aiming for 7%
White Employees50%55%
Hispanic or Latino14%10.2%

6. Exit Opportunities – McKinsey Vs. Goldman Sachs

McKinsey & Company Inc and Goldman Sachs, both highly regarded companies in their respective industries, offer employees many exit opportunities in different ways. 

1. McKinsey Exit Opportunities

With their deep industry expertise and strategic mindset, McKinsey employees often pursue positions such as CEOs, CFOs, or other C-suite executives, leveraging their business acumen and leadership capabilities.


Moreover, the entrepreneurial culture fostered at the company also inspires alumni to venture into entrepreneurship or join early-stage startups. 

The skills acquired in market analysis and business planning equip them for launching their businesses or contributing to the growth of startups.

A Quora contributor says, “Getting into MBB signals to all future employers that you managed to pass a very high bar and, if you stuck around for three years, that you’ve been trained, that you have the practice of working on the most complex problems, of presenting to the most senior leadership, and much more.”

2. Goldman Sachs Exit Opportunities

In comparison, Goldman Sachs alumni often seek investment banking opportunities, leveraging their mergers and acquisitions, trading, risk management, and corporate finance expertise. (Source)

Furthermore, the company’s prominence in the financial sector positions them well for the following roles in private equity:

  • Venture capital
  • Corporate finance
  • Technology-focused positions
  • Investment and portfolio management roles

Summing Up

In this article, I have discussed 6 key differences between McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs, ranging from their salaries and diversity initiatives to their exit opportunities and industry focuses.

Hopefully, you find this information helpful in deciding between these firms as you embark on your career journey.