I studied Physics all of my life, but when I arrived at MIT for my PhD program in 2003, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I knew a career in academics or research was not for me; the pace is simply too slow. When I heard about McKinsey, I knew right away that consulting was what I wanted to do.
On my first day at McKinsey, I spent some time talking to partners in the Montreal office. One of the partners I met took me onboard one of his projects that very day, working for a retail bank in Quebec. I joined the team just as they were launching a big effort to review all the processes of that bank - everything from their mortgage operations and credit card business to their insurance business. Initially, I took on small a role. By the end of the first phase of the project, I was taking full chunks on my own, overseeing the entire credit card business, the entire online operations, and it really gave me a chance to grow. During that time, we as a team were able to identify $500 million in savings opportunities for the bank.
Identifying those savings is one thing, but capturing them is completely different. Several months later, that banking client came back to us and asked us to help them go out and capture it. Because I had played a big role in the diagnostic, I was asked back on the team as the engagement manager. It was relatively early in my career to make this step, but McKinsey handles these transitions in a way that makes it completely natural. By the time I became an engagement manager, I was ready to take that step, because I’ve been given an increasing amount of responsibility along the way. At McKinsey, you always do more and more, and then you do even more at the same time. You take on complex challenges and then those complex challenges become second nature.
When I came back to this client as the engagement manager, I was a completely different person professionally than I had been during the first phase of the project. I'd built a lot of expertise and a strong network within McKinsey that I could build on to bring the most impact to the client. When I started working with this client, I was handling a small portion of the project, and now, here I was, owning every single function that we did as a team over the course of the study. As I was growing, so was the client. By the end of that five or six month project, they were fully autonomous, and really able to fly with their own wings; they were able to do all of the work on their own, which is so much more powerful.
A different path
My career path at McKinsey hasn't been what you might think of as typical. I chose to focus on very few clients, and have worked with those clients intensively instead of working across a variety of industries on a variety of topics. My path has served me well, and this type of focused path is another possibility at McKinsey.
What I do in my free time
I'm a family guy; I have one daughter and my wife is about to give birth to another child, so I tend to spend most of my free time at home doing activities with my family. I also like to work out and play golf.
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology - General