When I was a kid, I always dreamt about becoming a scientist. As the dream did not wear off while growing up, I decided to study biology as an undergrad and went on to pursue a PhD in health sciences and technology at MIT—Harvard University in Boston. During my PhD studies I worked as a teaching and research assistant, analyzing how the brain processes and memorizes sounds. Although I really enjoyed my work at the university I did not want to become a specialist in a narrow field and started looking for a job that would expose me to constantly different challenges and involve real teamwork. I read a lot of job descriptions at the time and talked to a great many people. As somehow a career as a management consultant seemed right for me, I decided to give it a try. I decided to apply for an associate position at McKinsey because they had a reputation for being a top consulting firm and they seemed to serve the broadest and most interesting set of clients.
Building strengths and supporting growth professionally are ingrained values at McKinsey
The first few months were really eye-opening. I expected a lot of competition on the work floor and I admit I was a little surprised to find myself immersed in a very collaborative atmosphere among colleagues. Building on each other’s strengths and supporting each other to grow professionally truly are core values at McKinsey. Upon joining every consultant is assigned a buddy and a mentor. The former acts as confidant and a sounding board and helps you overcome the rough moments, whereas the latter collects feedback from the people you work with during projects, discusses your performance on a regular basis, and actively helps you to shape your own McKinsey.
I also got the variety of challenges I was looking for. Over the past few years, I have been working on different topics in financial services and the pharmaceutical industry, but I have also been involved in more exotic projects such as the development of an effective forest firefighting strategy for a national government or the creation of an entirely new company in Angola. The most wonderful thing about it, however, is that whatever the topic I am dealing with, I always find myself being part of a collaborative team of bright, interesting people.
I currently act as an engagement manager, taking the lead in the problem-solving process, coaching the team members, and developing the client relationship on a daily basis. I am like the spider in the web and I truly enjoy being in the middle of everything—the McKinsey partners, the team, and the client.
Why I stay at McKinsey
I simply love the variety in my job. Over the past few years, I have worked on very different topics constantly bringing new challenges. One month, I am assisting a pharmaceutical company during the launch of a new product, the next month I am working for a national government on an effective forest firefighting strategy. And the most wonderful thing about it is that I always find myself being part of a collaborative team of bright, interesting people.
Twins, music, and yoga
I am having twins so I guess in my free time I will be discovering the inner child in myself all over again for the next couple of years. When I take a break I like to play violin and do yoga.
|MIT – Harvard University
||PhD, Health Sciences and Technology
|Universidade de Lisboa