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A big decision about my path at McKinsey

– Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good few months. I have some big news on my front, which is that I have taken a new role at McKinsey. I have to rewind a bit to tell you the full story.

We’ve been steadily building our public sector practice in Australia, and a few months ago we launched a public sector delivery hub here. The hub, which will handle all of Australia’s public sector work, had a Senior Manager role available. This role is the equivalent to our Associate Partner role for generalist consultants.

I grappled with this opportunity for some time and discussed it with many people. In many ways I felt I was facing a decision that many women face in their careers: do I opt out of the more challenging position or go for it? My Specialist role in the public sector practice was an interesting and stimulating one. I had a great mix of client work, practice management, and client development, and I loved it for the year-plus that I was in it. But once the hub was launched, I saw a fork in the road. The Senior Manager role would offer me more future career opportunities and a pathway to partnership at the firm, and it would mean a return to the consulting track—a huge draw, since I love counseling clients—but it could mean more time away from home.

An Australian pelican

Since I became a mother, I’ve always put my family first by choosing positions that allowed me to work part-time, travel less, and spend more time at home. In my heart, though, I knew that I was feeling ready to embrace my ambition and face new challenges. I spoke with my husband in depth, as well as with many other colleagues, who were amazing. It was clear to me that the firm is invested in supporting women and creating pathways that work for all of our talented people. I realised how much I wanted to expand my experience, grow my skill set, and bet on myself, and so I took the position.

My son petting a koala

I officially switched over in September. I’ve really enjoying “stepping it up a notch” and doing more complex work. I have absolutely loved working with clients again on a daily basis—I don’t think I had actually realized the extent to which I’d missed that aspect of work. Coaching a team again is great. I’ve also felt more invested as a leader of the firm in general. In addition to all of this, I am responsible for building the team, so I have been spending time recruiting people to the hub, which has been fulfilling.

My daughter getting up close and personal with the Australian wildlife

Now that I’ve shared the decision making process, here’s a bit more about the hub itself. We’ve already done some really cool client projects, like developing a leadership program for a central agency, and helping another agency formulate its investment plan. We have already received 500 applications from candidates to join us! It’s been amazing to see the amount of excitement from candidates about joining the public sector. The richness of their experiences and perspectives is wonderful, and I am thrilled that we have already hired a small team and will continue to grow.

On a quick personal note, we recently took our children to Adelaide with my parents, who live in the Adelaide Hills. We had a great time visiting a national park—which had lots of beautiful Australian wildlife (koalas, emus, etc.), going to the beach, and just spending time together. I’ve included some photos from our holiday.

Until next time,
Kate

About the blogger

Kate
Senior Manager

Kate

Kate joined our Melbourne office as an experienced hire with fifteen years of prior work experience, including work in the public sector and broadcasting—and running her own consulting firm. She’s passionate about public policy and strengthening public sector organizations and has found a perfect place to do it with our public sector practice in Australia, where she can use her tech experience and government knowledge to improve her home country. When she’s not working, she’s enjoying every moment with her husband and two young children.