McKinsey held a recruiting workshop at my university. We played a football game that was actually a problem-solving exercise—you scored by making the right management decisions. I liked the casual atmosphere and the focus on problem-solving, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I applied to banks as well as consulting firms. In the end, McKinsey’s corporate finance practice offered a nice way to mix being a consultant and also focus on mergers and acquisitions projects. At banks the structure seemed much more transactional and hierarchical; at McKinsey everyone has a voice, I work in a team, and I can be broad and flexible in industries, clients, and functions, which appeals to me.
I was a Business Analyst in the Amsterdam office for two years before I left to get my MBA at INSEAD in Singapore. I rejoined McKinsey in the London office to expand into different areas—consumer goods and banking, in particular. London is a much bigger office and naturally, the working culture is a bit different than the Dutch, but despite that, the offices share the same approaches to team mentality and the way we work. That was a pleasant surprise and reinforced that there is real truth to McKinsey’s ‘one-firm’ philosophy.
Off to Egypt
Within a week of my start date I was sent to Egypt for three months. All of a sudden I was in a country I’d never been in, working for a Middle Eastern client who was totally different culturally from what I was used to. We were on the ground trying to figure out if our client should acquire a telecom license and what their marketing and strategy should be. My responsibilities focused on how much the client should pay for the potential license.
The Shoes Come Off
From an outside perspective, I remember thinking that McKinsey consultants seemed a little reserved. But once I was on a team working with my colleagues, I saw how personable, friendly, and fun they really are. I remember attending a team event at the end of a study early in my tenure, thinking that when the music started everyone would just be "shuffling" next to the dance floor. In fact, the minute the music came on, a certain director threw off his shoes, grabbed his wife, and started spinning her in the air.
Personal and Professional Satisfaction
I’ve had many moments of satisfaction here. I’d get emails or phone calls from the client saying they were extremely pleased to work with us, and that McKinsey was important in forming their strategy. At the same time I know that I’ve grown a lot as well—McKinsey is very much a feedback organization—and that gives me personal satisfaction.
Corporate Finance to Consumer Goods
As a business analyst I had mostly done corporate finance work. When I came to London I wanted to expand into different areas, consumer goods and banking in particular. Consumer goods is such a tangible industry; it’s rewarding to see something on the shelf of a supermarket—or even buy something—that you’ve helped develop for a client. Banking, on the other hand, is a huge, complicated industry where so much has happened recently; it’s fascinating. Working in different industries keeps me energized and is also a great way to get involved with different knowledge platforms.
||MBA, Business Administration
|Erasmus University Rotterdam
|Erasmus University Rotterdam
||BS, International Business