– Matthew has been at the firm for about four years. He’s a knowledge specialist on the chemicals research team in our North American Knowledge Center near Boston. He helps clients understand the strategic implications of innovation and disruption relating to material science advancements. We sat down with him to learn more about his journey.
Interviewer: What led you to McKinsey?
Matthew: I studied finance and entrepreneurship at Bryant University in Rhode Island, then spent two years at a start-up commercializing a water purification process. I have always been extremely interested in the overlap between business and science, especially as it relates to new technologies. When I heard about an opening in McKinsey’s Chemicals & Agriculture practice, I knew it would be a good fit.
Interviewer: How have you grown during your time at McKinsey?
Matthew: I started as a researcher, which helped me develop general problem solving skills and better understand how things work in the diverse chemicals industry. Over time, I focused on disruption caused by new materials and technologies. As I’ve gained skills and expertise, I’ve shifted how I interact with clients and colleagues; I’m more consultative and able to achieve greater impact.
Interviewer: What keeps you here?
Matthew: The people. I work with some of the most amazing people on really tough and interesting problems, ranging from assessing the potential impact for commercializing a new material to outlining ways to use industry disruption to enter a new market and shaping a government’s investment strategy to encourage prototyping and development. Having colleagues I can count on – who help me understand these problems – has been imperative for my success.
I also enjoy the flexibility the knowledge consulting path offers. I’ve been an entrepreneur within my role and built our capabilities in the advanced materials space. My role gives me the freedom to decide when to double down and when to step back.
Interviewer: What has been the best part of being at the firm?
Matthew: I have had some great experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. For example, I spent five months doing a couple projects in Southeast Asia. I’d never been to that region before, so this cultural immersion pushed me to be more confident in myself and emotionally intelligent.
Interviewer: What’s your best piece of advice for someone applying to McKinsey?
Matthew: Be structured. McKinsey places a premium on how logically you think and communicate. Breaking down the case and sharing your answers in a thorough, organized manner shows a lot of business maturity. It conveys you are someone who is capable of representing us in front of a CEO.
Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of work?
Matthew: I volunteer as a coach for my hometown chapter of the Special Olympics, in which my brother is an athlete. I also play soccer and basketball, sometimes with colleagues from my office. I enjoy whiskey and wine tasting, and seek out locally made spirits whenever I travel.