Why I Joined McKinsey
What I loved, and still love, about science is being able to problem solve and learn about a number of things. However, a PhD was so restricting for me. I didn’t feel like I was engaged in the same way that I had grown to love as an undergrad. The prospect that at McKinsey I would be able to do work on a variety of projects and interact with different people all the time was really what got me in the end.
Making an Impact
Our team had worked on a banking project for a very intense six weeks. At the final presentation, the client presented our work in a huge auditorium with the leadership of the bank in attendance. We had made an impact that the client was excited about and allowed them to set forward the path to change. Instead of just shaking our hands at the end of the meeting, the clients hugged us as they left. The redirection we took on the study after collaborating with the client, to make it work best for them—and then seeing it really work out—was especially gratifying.
I have used my PhD experience both directly and indirectly at McKinsey. When working in pharmaceutical research and development, people throw around drug names, protein pathways, mechanism of action, etc. These are things I’m comfortable with and my past experience in R&D is immediately applicable in these client situations. I didn’t think retail banking would be as applicable, but fundamentally, problem solving is problem solving and understanding scientifically how things work and working through a scientific problem helps me understand and solve any problem. I can step into insurance or banking or energy and use my background indirectly to help with the logic of problem solving.
If something interesting comes up during a study, consultants can take the time to think through the information and develop “knowledge projects.” These efforts build internal expertise that teams across McKinsey can use with clients. They range from a consultant writing a short paper on something they know or learned about during a study to larger, non-client-based studies. Some of my most exciting work started with a knowledge study. Our team developed a market opportunity model, which was rather academic. Over two years, however, we adapted this model to meet the unique situation and needs of multiple clients. We now have a living piece of work that continues to evolve both theoretically and in its potential applications. Many teams and consultants contributed to this work over the years and the interactions gave me a network outside of the traditional team-based culture. This experience is a typical one at McKinsey and has been one of the most fulfilling parts of the job for me.
What I Do in My Free Time
I’m quite a foodie and I like to work out. Eating at a variety of restaurants and exercising are things I can really keep up at McKinsey; when I’m on the road, I get to go to all these great team dinners and stay at nice hotels with gyms. I’m also a pretty avid reader of novels and do a lot of identification botany and ornithology—a birder.
|Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences
|University of Utah
||BS, Biology, Chemistry