I came into McKinsey as a scientist with a PhD in Biological Science. I was very knowledgeable in my field, neuroscience. As a PhD you tend to receive very little help, very little coaching or career advice. You're expected to learn on your own.
I thought McKinsey would be the same kind of place, so I arrived at here thinking that I needed to be tough, that I needed to have all of the answers from the get-go. I was wrong, and because of this, my first project was rough. But I was lucky enough to have a very, very good manager on that project. He sat me down and had a great conversation with me, and I quickly realized that I was no longer the expert; I was now the rookie, and I had a lot to learn.
My science background has also been quite a boon for me, offering me the chance to work on several interesting projects. My background gave me the opportunity to work on a study with an international organization in Africa that was seeking to discover why African biomedical researchers weren't researching diseases that have a high prevalence in Africa, but a low prevalence elsewhere in the world. When you think about African diseases, everyone thinks about HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Those are the more fashionable diseases, where the vast majority of the research money goes. However, Africa has another slew of diseases that are unknown to most of the world and therefore under-researched. We wanted to understand how to change this.
My research revealed that African scientists are more likely to collaborate with others in the U.S. and Europe, which we had suspected, but the magnitude of the problem was staggering. We traveled through Africa talking to researchers, and discovered that the interest in change was there, but the funding and equipment was not. So we helped create a business plan and an operational plan for a new international organization that gives grants. The grants are structured to incentivize African scientists to collaborate with scientists from other African countries that share the same disease priorities. The analysis that I did helped us understand the problem so we could develop a solution for it. This new organization has been launched, and it's now giving its first grants. This is something I am particularly proud of, and always will be.
I recently transitioned into the role of engagement manager, and I found myself feeling a bit like a rookie again. I had to put myself in the shoes of my first engagement manager, who helped me realize how different McKinsey was from the science lab I was used to. Not only did he help me become a better associate, but he also helped me become a better manager, by showing me the role of a McKinsey manager and a McKinsey team. He showed me that McKinsey doesn't have the same individualistic atmosphere that you find in a lab; here, I have a support network of people, my team.
What I do in my free time
I love to drive and I love old cars. I recently bought a 1967 convertible Mustang and spent three months driving around the U.S. in it. I also like to rock climb and scuba dive.
|Watson School of Biological Sciences
||PhD, Biological Science
|Universidad de Buenos Aires - General
||BSc, Biological Science