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May 2, 2001

The War for Talent: Physicians in Management Consulting

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JAMA. 2001;285(17):2252. doi:10.1001/jama.285.17.2252-JMS0502-5-1

Corporate America has been engaged for years in a battle to recruit and retain creative thinkers and dynamic leaders. The trenches of this "war for talent"1 are now being dug into the worlds of clinical medicine and biomedical research. During the past decade, medical students, house staff, and practicing physicians have departed in increasing numbers to management positions. The search for a position in the corporate world—once a haphazard process—has been replaced in many instances by an organized, efficient recruiting effort targeted specifically at people with MD and PhD degrees.

Perhaps no industry has been as successful at attracting and integrating people with alternative professional degrees (APDs) as management consulting. At McKinsey and Company, more than half of its 6000 consultants hold graduate degrees other than an MBA (A. Mini Harris, verbal communication, February 2001). A company representative summarized the approach to recruiting APD holders: "To hire the world's best talent wherever that talent resides" (A. Giangola, verbal communication, February 2001).