– Happy new year, everyone!
Nashville and Paris
Travel is definitely one of the most discussed aspects of consulting life—I probably get the most questions about travel from candidates, though I even get them from colleagues. I don't think I've ever been to a team dinner where we haven't talked about miles or points at least once. Though the travel can be tough, I try to make the most of it. The hard parts of travelling are tempered by the great parts: I have a stash of miles and points for free flights and hotels, plus, sometimes my wife Emily (also at McKinsey) and I fly to other cities instead of flying home.
Emily's birthday was in October, and we decided to go on a couple of birthday trips. First to Nashville with Emily's sister Abby, and Abby's boyfriend Andy. Since I've been working in Atlanta, it was easier to take the much shorter trip to Nashville than to come home for the weekend. Music City was awesome—land of honky tonks, hot chicken and cowboy boots with summer dresses.
And the following Thursday, Emily and I made good use of all of my frequent flyer and hotel points and headed to Paris for a weekend-long croissant safari.
Triple crown and bucket list
One Thursday night, years ago when I was a business analyst in at a different consulting firm in Chicago, I was in my office at 11pm staring out the window. I had a few more hours or work, and I was wondering if I had picked the right life. I made a snap decision that I would do something that I had always wanted to do: hike the Appalachian Trail. Eight months later, I was standing at the foot of Mt. Katadihn in Maine with a really heavy backpack.
After that, I just kept hiking. I didn't really set out to do this from the start, but somehow I ended up hiking from Maine to Georgia (the Appalachian Trail), from Canada to Mexico twice (the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail), and several other shorter long distance trails. In total, I've spent 1.5 years sleeping in a tent, walked 8,500+ miles, met incredible people, and seen lots of bears, moose, wild pigs, etc.
This is a pretty obscure passion. As of September 2014, there have been ~230 people recognized for hiking all three of the above American long distance trails. I filled out my paperwork to be formally recognized at the official Triple Crown ceremony in Washington state. In late September, Emily and I flew out to Seattle on a Thursday, spent Friday working out of the McKinsey Seattle office, then drove out to Stampede Pass, WA. It felt like going home. We stayed in a rustic cabin with 100+ other hikers, went on walks, and swapped trail stories with other hikers.
Becoming a triple crowner has been on my bucket list since I hiked the Appalachian Trail. McKinsey has been a huge part of my journey—I can't imagine completing this trip at another company. After I graduated from business school, I took the latest possible start date with McKinsey (the following January) so I could hike the Pacific Crest Trail before heading to my official McKinsey orientation. And a couple of years into my career at McKinsey, I took five months off to hike the Continental Divide Trail. So, I want to take this moment to be grateful, to all the people who helped me along the way, and to McKinsey for giving me the flexibility to complete a bucket list dream.
Wrapping up my latest client engagement
I recently completed my latest project in Atlanta. This has truly been one of my favorite teams ever. The four BAs on the team made it too much fun. Chris, Amia, Terrance, Olivia—it has been real! We had a blast with the clients, too. Hopefully we'll all have a chance to work together again.