I am Swiss, but I always wanted to work outside Switzerland. McKinsey gave me the opportunity to work abroad, and that has turned out very well for me. I’m currently based in Singapore, and I’ve worked on studies all over the world.
"McKinsey has opened my horizons. It has allowed me to work in an incredible number of different situations with many different people across the world—from Europe to the United States to every part of Asia and Africa."
McKinsey has broadened my skills
I studied monetary economics and financial markets theory in college because I thought I wanted to work for a bank. But I wasn’t sure that was all I wanted to do. I thought consulting would broaden my options. I chose McKinsey over other firms because I felt McKinsey was really focused on impact, and works with topics that are on the agenda of business leaders. McKinsey has immensely enriched what I learned at university.
My career has been an adventure
I started with McKinsey in Switzerland, and then after a year went to Greece. I actually worked out of a hotel room in Athens because our office there was just getting started. After one year we had a full-fledged office with over 20 consultants. I had intended to be in Greece for three months, but I stayed 13 months because I liked it so much. Then I went back to Switzerland and applied for a transfer to an Asian office. In 2002, I went to the Korean office in Seoul for a year and a half. I returned again to Switzerland, but got restless, and two years later moved to Singapore. My wife and I plan to live here for some time. It’s a very multicultural place.
I’ve taken leaves of absence to travel
One thing that keeps me at McKinsey is the chance to take time to do something completely different for a few months. When I transferred from one office to another, I had the chance to take some time off, so I have twice taken a four-month leave of absence to travel and backpack. I don’t need the business class travel and big 5 star hotels. Once my wife and I traveled from Delhi to Calcutta in India, then further across Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, and up to China and Tibet. Another time we went to other parts of the Himalayas such as Bhutan and Ladakh/Zanskar.
I am giving lectures in Cambodia at the National University of Management at Phnom Penh because I know a professor there. We are creating a program for students to develop business plans and participate in a business plan competition. It has nothing to do with my day-to-day work, but I am doing it because it’s truly exciting to see a country and its people taking initiative and shaping their future, always with a smile despite a difficult past. That’s what I call entrepreneurship. McKinsey gives me the opportunity to seek this out and do it.