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Alumni Profile

Elizabeth Edersheim

Elizabeth Edersheim, SM ’77, PhD ’79

Consultant, New York Consulting Partners

  • Was the first female partner in the Midwest for McKinsey & Company
  • Sits on an advisory board for S. Lowy overseeing investments in Hong Kong
  • Was the founding board member of the Classical Recording Foundation

Even after authoring biographies on two businessmen she considers “the most influential” of our time—Marvin Bower and Peter Drucker—Elizabeth Edersheim describes herself as a “student of management.” To her, nothing is more important than the future. In order for today’s business leaders to make the best decisions, she believes they must constantly integrate their knowledge of the past with their vision of the future.

After Edersheim graduated from MIT Sloan, she spent 10 years working for McKinsey & Company in Cleveland and New York City. During that time, she worked with Bower, who is considered by many to be “the father of modern management consulting.” She was a co-leader of McKinsey’s operations practice when she left in 1989 to start her own consulting firm, New York Consulting Partners.

Ten years after founding her company, Edersheim sold it. “It had grown too big for me,” she explains. “I was buried in administrative tasks, and that was keeping me from doing the actual consulting.” During the year her company was being sold, she decided to collect stories about Bower so she could share his valuable insights with others. Bower agreed, and she began writing the manuscript. While she was working on the Bower book, management author Drucker, known for his work exploring the intricacies of organizations, asked her to write his biography as well.

Edersheim’s first book, McKinsey’s Marvin Bower: Vision, Leadership, and the Creation of Management Consulting, was published in 2003. Her second book, The Definitive Drucker: Challenges for Tomorrow’s Executives, was published in 2006. McKinsey & Company bought 5,000 copies of the latter and continues to provide copies to its new employees as reading material. The former became a top seller in Asia.

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