My first project involved helping our client, a multinational pharmaceutical company, through a very difficult time. They were facing issues related to the performance of their products, and I spent essentially the entire year with them, from the day they got the bad news. Our team helped them figure out how to re-organize, recover their image, and get their products back in line. I worked shoulder to shoulder with them. What was difficult at first was the enormous amount of work and pressure, and not knowing if I could handle it. But I learned quickly, got tremendous support from my team, and improved over the course of time. The experience taught me that no matter how difficult a problem or situation, if I stay calm and apply logical thinking, and execute the analysis, I can get through it, and get others through it. That’s been an important lesson.
Continuing Work in Pharma
After my first year, I started working on different projects with different people – helping small and large clients, senior people and middle managers – purely in the pharmaceutical industry. I work with such a variety of problems and people, which requires me to continue to adapt and think through how to best put my skills to use. What we’re striving for in our client work is to not only solve the client’s problem but to teach them to go forward as well – to leave behind something that’s enduring. The importance of our work goes beyond the single engagement and has the potential to provide lasting impact to our clients.
Learning to Lead
McKinsey throws you into situations where you have to become a leader. This doesn’t necessarily come naturally, but for me it’s been a terrific opportunity. I’ve seen how I do things, what I do and don’t do well, and how I can get others to respond. The mentors I’ve had are varied. Some are very strong in giving clients advice and helping them through personal challenges. Others are just phenomenal problem solvers who can think through things clearly and simplify complex problems. And some are great leaders, sensitive but not lenient. Seeing this breadth of experience and behavior and actions just rubs off on you.
Introducing New Muscles
Before I joined McKinsey, whether I was tackling a problem in science or something else, I’d approach it by thinking about understanding its history. Where did this problem start? I’d try to follow that trail. In medicine, I’d translate a paper from German to English to figure out, How did this person first understand this disease? This was a long, arduous process, and at the end of it, I knew the disease. But what I didn’t have the opportunity to do was to think about thinking. McKinsey has given me the opportunity to think about problem solving in its most fundamental way. It’s introduced muscles I never thought I had.
One of the great opportunities at McKinsey is the chance to meet new people who are diverse and smart and wonderful. Maybe you don’t click with everyone, but there’s no shortage of good people, and the network gives you comfort and energy to go forward.
Building your network is an endless process, but you also stay with a group you like. The relationships you develop here don’t go away – I’ve stayed in contact with people who’ve left, and keep building that network.
|Massachusetts General Hospital
||Fellowship, Rheumatology, Residency, Internal Medicine
|Harvard Medical School
| Harvard University
||BS, Biomedical Engineering