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McKinsey Q&A: Reggie

– New York engagement manager Reggie Chambers was recently named to Crain’s 40 Under 40 list. A recent New York Post article describes Reggie as a “modern-day Renaissance man: he’s a competitive pianist, former White House fellow and even a hockey player.” Here’s his story:

Interviewer: What excites you most about receiving this honor?

Reggie

Reggie: To me, this has been a deeply humbling experience. I am excited that it allows a broad audience to learn more about McKinsey and our people. It’s also a symbol of the success my family has been striving towards for generations.

Both of my parents were first-generation college students. They believed that education was the key to creating a better life and impressed that value on my brother and me. Everyone in my family is an educator. My mom taught secondary school and received her doctorate in education; my brother is a professor at Northwestern University; and, my dad is a medical doctor who teaches at the University of Wisconsin. I have worked with non-profits that create educational opportunities and taught a small business and entrepreneurship class at Brooklyn College.

Interviewer: You did much more than just study at school. How did you fit it all in?

Reggie: Early on, I began a disciplined approach to school and extracurricular activities that continues to serve me well. I played sports after school – ice hockey, soccer, football and track & field. I also started piano lessons at age four and continued to play through high school (once having the good fortune of playing alongside the late great jazz legend Lena Horne!). Many nights, I was too tired after dinner to do anything, so I’d get up at 4:00 AM to do my homework. To this day, I rise by 4:30 a.m. to work out before helping my own kids to get ready for school.

Interviewer: You haven’t always been a consultant. How did your professional career begin?

Reggie: After receiving my law degree at Harvard, I became a mergers & acquisitions lawyer at Simpson Thacher before transitioning to banking, where I was a vice president with Citi Investment Banking. I went on to serve as an investment executive in New York and London with 3i Group plc, a $20 billion private equity firm, where I helped found and lead its North American infrastructure investing team.

Then the opportunity to serve as a White House Fellow came up. I was one of fifteen fellows appointed by President Obama. I worked at the White House National Economic Council, where I helped lead key economic policy initiatives such as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, the first-ever White House Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment, and the White House Rural Council.

Interviewer: What is one of your favorite memories from the White House?

Reggie: My first meeting at the White House was in the famed Situation Room with several cabinet secretaries. Wanting to be inconspicuous, I tried finding a seat more off to the side. Unknowingly, I chose the same chair that the President sat in during that famous moment when he watched Osama Bin Laden being captured. So much for lying low.

Overall, serving under the first African-American President was an honor and a privilege. To have had a front row seat to observe and be a part of history was unbelievable. It is something my family and I will always cherish.

Interviewer: So what led you to McKinsey?

Reggie: After the White House, I wanted to bring together my expertise across the private, social and public sectors to help solve pressing challenges facing the world. Anish (director) and Kassia (engagement manager) both from McKinsey’s New York office served with me as term members at the Council on Foreign Relations. After speaking with them, I knew McKinsey would be the perfect place for me.

Interviewer: What type of work have you done since you joined the firm?

Reggie: I’m a part of the Strategy & Corporate Finance practice and have mostly supported financial institutions and private equity clients. I’ve also remained connected to the White House and facilitated discussions between the Obama Administration and McKinsey.

– New York engagement manager Reggie Chambers was recently named to Crain’s 40 Under 40 list. A recent New York Post article describes Reggie as a “modern-day Renaissance man: he’s a competitive pianist, former White House fellow and even a hockey player.” Here’s his story:

Interviewer: What excites you most about receiving this honor?

Reggie

Reggie: To me, this has been a deeply humbling experience. I am excited that it allows a broad audience to learn more about McKinsey and our people. It’s also a symbol of the success my family has been striving towards for generations.

Both of my parents were first-generation college students. They believed that education was the key to creating a better life and impressed that value on my brother and me. Everyone in my family is an educator. My mom taught secondary school and received her doctorate in education; my brother is a professor at Northwestern University; and, my dad is a medical doctor who teaches at the University of Wisconsin. I have worked with non-profits that create educational opportunities and taught a small business and entrepreneurship class at Brooklyn College.

Interviewer: You did much more than just study at school. How did you fit it all in?

Reggie: Early on, I began a disciplined approach to school and extracurricular activities that continues to serve me well. I played sports after school – ice hockey, soccer, football and track & field. I also started piano lessons at age four and continued to play through high school (once having the good fortune of playing alongside the late great jazz legend Lena Horne!). Many nights, I was too tired after dinner to do anything, so I’d get up at 4:00 AM to do my homework. To this day, I rise by 4:30 a.m. to work out before helping my own kids to get ready for school.

Interviewer: You haven’t always been a consultant. How did your professional career begin?

Reggie: After receiving my law degree at Harvard, I became a mergers & acquisitions lawyer at Simpson Thacher before transitioning to banking, where I was a vice president with Citi Investment Banking. I went on to serve as an investment executive in New York and London with 3i Group plc, a $20 billion private equity firm, where I helped found and lead its North American infrastructure investing team.

Then the opportunity to serve as a White House Fellow came up. I was one of fifteen fellows appointed by President Obama. I worked at the White House National Economic Council, where I helped lead key economic policy initiatives such as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, the first-ever White House Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment, and the White House Rural Council.

Interviewer: What is one of your favorite memories from the White House?

Reggie: My first meeting at the White House was in the famed Situation Room with several cabinet secretaries. Wanting to be inconspicuous, I tried finding a seat more off to the side. Unknowingly, I chose the same chair that the President sat in during that famous moment when he watched Osama Bin Laden being captured. So much for lying low.

Overall, serving under the first African-American President was an honor and a privilege. To have had a front row seat to observe and be a part of history was unbelievable. It is something my family and I will always cherish.

Interviewer: So what led you to McKinsey?

Reggie: After the White House, I wanted to bring together my expertise across the private, social and public sectors to help solve pressing challenges facing the world. Anish (director) and Kassia (engagement manager) both from McKinsey’s New York office served with me as term members at the Council on Foreign Relations. After speaking with them, I knew McKinsey would be the perfect place for me.

Interviewer: What type of work have you done since you joined the firm?

Reggie: I’m a part of the Strategy & Corporate Finance practice and have mostly supported financial institutions and private equity clients. I’ve also remained connected to the White House and facilitated discussions between the Obama Administration and McKinsey.