Back to Careers Blog

A GEM of a practice

– Several of our colleagues who have specialized in Global Energy and Materials (GEM) recently met in Sentosa for two days of fun and fellowship focused on helping them develop new skills, build their industry knowledge, and chart the next steps in their career paths. We sat down with three of them – engagement managers Jerry from Shanghai and Nirva from Singapore and VP in Recovery and Transformation Services Paul from Jakarta – to learn what they love most about working in GEM at McKinsey.

GEM L2 offsite inline

Jerry: I chose to specialize in Basic Materials and Chemicals & Agriculture mostly because of the people who are part of this community. They feel like family. We do a lot on the weekends and throughout the year – like attending this offsite – that helps us to get to know each other, learn from each other’s experiences, and build lasting friendships.

Nirva: One of my favorite McKinsey memories is of two nights spent glamping (glamorous camping) with my teammates in the Batutapak hills outside Jakarta. More than 25 of us from various teams supporting the same oil and gas client participated. We went river rafting, played paint ball, ate delicious barbecue, trekked to gorgeous waterfalls, and unwound in front of the campfire.

Paul: That sounds like an awesome trip! I also did the level two program in GEM for the people in the program. I came to McKinsey with nearly eight years of experience in aerospace and defense, so I mostly wanted to meet colleagues at McKinsey who were working in materials and chemicals. I’ve found great mentors who deeply care about my development. They are helping me to think through my career and creating opportunities for me to explore within GEM and in operations, finance, etc.

Nirva: Events like the level two off-site always provide a great opportunity to meet colleagues I haven’t met before, discover their skills and experiences, and learn about the impact they are driving with their clients. GEM is a rapidly changing space, so there is always a lot to learn.

Jerry: During the off-site, each GEM industry sector (e.g., Chemicals & Agriculture, Oil & Gas) shares its latest developments in Asia and globally, introducing new initiatives and discussing trends. It allows us to get a good perspective of what’s going on in the practice along the different functions such as marketing & sales, operations, strategy and corporate finance.

Nirva: It’s a really exciting time to be part of the GEM practice. One big question facing us is “will we continue to have enough energy to keep going for future generations?” Working in GEM allows us to help find answers to some of these questions. Even small productivity improvements have huge impact on overall global energy usage. It’s amazing.