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McKinsey Q&A: Priya

McKinsey Analytics is one of our fastest-growing new ventures. More than 10% of our work globally incorporates colleagues and/or techniques from this practice and we’re continuing to grow & organically and through acquisitions of companies like QuantumBlack and Risk Dynamics.

While such tools and methodologies have the potential to generate unprecedented impact for our clients, our people are most important in helping our clients interpret data to make sound decisions and implement sustainable change. We sat down with Priya, an analytics manager based in our Gurgaon Knowledge Center, to learn more about how she and her team bring innovative data-driven solutions to clients.

Interviewer: Please tell us about your team. What do you do?

Priya: I lead a team of about 30 analytics specialists focused in the consumer space. We work in areas like market research analytics, pricing, price elasticity modeling, propensity modeling, behavioral segmentation, and campaign optimization. We partner closely with consulting teams to conduct deep analytics on client and external data, and our findings play a significant role in team problem solving. We also manage the firm’s knowledge investments in the consumer analytics space and develop new tools in areas like campaign management and benchmarking for customer diagnostics.

Interviewer: What attributes and skills do you look for in data scientists who join your team?

Priya: To me, there are two things you need to excel here. The first is a strong business sense. You must be able to translate organizational challenges into analytic plans and generate insightful and pragmatic recommendations from analyses. You need to prioritize and synthesize. You’d never be able to process all of the data available for a given problem or topic, so you need to understand how to frame your analyses in a way that’s relevant to the particular client’s objectives. The ability to recognize what data can and cannot tell you is also critical. Clients often to come to us looking for an answer to a question their organization’s data can’t properly answer. Being able to recognize and respond to those issues – to help the clients think about the right questions to ask and how the information they have can address those challenges – is crucial.

The second thing that will help you to be successful here is a deep understanding of predictive analytics and the relevant methodologies for analyzing data. The ability to execute the right analytic processes from start to finish is key to delivering results for our clients.

Interviewer: How did you come to McKinsey?

Priya: My path to McKinsey was somewhat untraditional. I’ve always been interested in consumer behavior. After earning my M.B.A. in marketing, I worked in line-marketing functions in consumer goods and retail. Soon after, I got interested in marketing analytics, and eventually earned my PhD in the field.

As an academic, I missed the relationships I built with my clients in the corporate world. I came to McKinsey because it gave me the perfect opportunity to combine my expertise with my passion to help leaders in a practical way.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of analytics?

Priya: I love spending my free time with my family and friends. I have two young children – Simran (age 10) and Arjun (age 5) – who keep me very happy and busy. I recently developed an interest in fitness and ran a 10k last month. My other hobby is reading; I especially enjoy social psychology and fiction.