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McKinsey Academy: Ankur

– I joined McKinsey Academy about two years ago. It’s one of the firm’s new ventures; we help build best-in-class digital and in-person leadership & development programs. Prior to joining McKinsey Academy, I ran MBA admissions for The Wharton School and started my career in investment banking.

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I was connected to Academy chairman André Dua when the idea for the Academy team within McKinsey was still in its early stages. About a dozen of us met in a WeWork room to prove the concept. I knew from that first conversation that the Academy would provide the perfect opportunity to work on the things that drive me most: unlocking opportunities for individuals, organizations, and economies through leadership development; innovating within the education sector; and continuing on my own leadership journey.

Now, I work closely with our global 45+ person Academy-team and many consultants on our global client service teams. I love the open and collaborative culture here. Everyone is driven by the desire to make a difference – for their clients, their communities and the world at large. This shared sense of purpose unlocks a tremendous amount of innovation and positive energy. It’s a lot of fun.

One of my favorite projects so far was developing and launching a new leadership program for our senior executive clients. Our goal was to help them build the skills and network they needed to excel in the ever-changing business landscape of the 21st century; and we wanted to accomplish that goal by bringing together the best faculty from within and outside of the firm.

As the program lead, I was responsible for bringing the program to life – designing the learning journey, identifying the right participants, and delivering the program. I collaborated closely with subject matter experts, instructional designers, event planners, and McKinsey leaders. It was a great way to get to know a lot more people at the firm and our end results were much stronger thanks to the variety of perspectives we had. In the end, we brought together nearly 90 executives from more than 20 organizations in 10 countries for this four-month learning journey. It was the first time the Academy had delivered a program of this size and scale and it was incredible.

Developing this class was one of several opportunities I’ve had to innovate and create. I’ve never heard “no” to a well thought out idea about something we could do differently or better. It’s incredibly motivating, energizing and inspiring to have so much runway to do great things and leave a positive imprint.

Another thing I love about McKinsey is the mentorship and support I receive. My colleagues have shown me many times how much they want me to succeed; they’ve invested in me by giving me feedback and opportunities. Ramesh Srinivasan, a senior partner in the Organization practice and co-chair of the Academy, has been a wonderful mentor, for example. Ramesh and I first connected when he invited me to a client CEO meeting about the Executive Leadership Program I built. I asked him if he would be my sponsor and the rest is history. He’s played the role of coach and devil’s advocate for me. He pushes me to trust in myself. He’s taught me how to navigate the firm and build deeper relationships with McKinsey colleagues and clients.

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my partner, Prashant, and keeping up with our seven-year old twins. I try to stay physically and mentally fit through yoga and barre classes and lots of trampoline and pool time with the kids. I’m trying to fit more reading in as well; I just finished Hillbilly Elegy, which I highly recommend.