I spent 22 years working in the construction industry before I joined McKinsey. I started with internships while I was in college, worked for various contractors out on the field when I was younger, and rose through the ranks to a level where I was managing very complex, high-end commercial and industrial construction projects across the U.S. This was when I realized that we needed a change in the construction industry: projects were taking too long, and there were far too many errors. I quickly realized that the best place to drive change wasn't from within a single company: I needed McKinsey, which can reach across entire industries. Consulting allows me to bring change not only to the companies that build things, but also to the governments that approve the projects, the developers who get things started and the owners who end up maintaining the facilities.
McKinsey has offered me access that I didn't have previously: I was able to reach companies and individuals within companies that I could not have otherwise. Working for a general contractor, I was dealing with projector directors within a corporation. Working work for McKinsey, I am dealing with the board of directors and the executive leadership team; everything is ramped up a couple of notches.
The transition to McKinsey wasn't entirely a smooth one, however. In my previous jobs, I had been a member of the executive leadership team and a key decision maker. Starting at McKinsey, I am a team member on a client service team. It's a big adjustment, but it's one that McKinsey recognizes. The firm offers groups, such as Experienced Hire Workshop and the Advanced Operations Group, where experts and other new hires who have worked in the industry for a long time can talk about the challenges we face at McKinsey. It helped me understand that it's normal to have a period of adjustment and taught me ways to bring my past experiences to my client teams.
Calling on Past Experience
That past experience proved powerful when I was brought in as an expert to help a client in Asia who was trying to formulate an entry into the North American construction market. I could immediately see that the client was formulating their entry strategy based on what trade publications were telling them. But this was a client with deep reserves of cash, and much of the information that had been written didn't apply to their situation. I was able to provide a boots-on-the-ground perspective, and helped them change their plan in a way that would allow them to use their cash reserves to kickstart their entry.
Joining McKinsey as an expert, there are really two ways your career can go: the expert path, and the electable or partner path. One of the things I had to decide was which path to follow, but the great thing about McKinsey is that you're not forced to make a decision right away. I saw that and decided to hold off making that decision. I knew that I was lacking certain McKinsey skills -- specifically the communication and team interaction -- so I decided to spend my first year at the firm learning all of these, while allowing my expertise to pull me into project teams. This will give me the most flexibility moving forward. As an expert, you can thrive at McKinsey, and you can choose which way you're headed.
What I do in my free time
I love spending time with my family: I've been married for almost 20 years and I have two wonderful teenagers who excel at driving me crazy. I also enjoy shooting sporting clay and hunting waterfowl.
||BS in construction engineering