– Hello all! I’m excited to start my blog by describing one of the more unbelievable experiences I’ve had at McKinsey: representing the firm at a global leadership summit in Bangkok called One Young World.
It was an amazing week of inspiring, well-established leaders (why hello, Kofi Annan!) and even more inspirational 20-somethings who are already making a huge impact on the world (like Yoenmi Park, who escaped from North Korea as a young teen). Throughout our action-focused sessions and side conversations on the major issues of our day—including climate change, peace and security, and global migration—I was reminded why I came to McKinsey in the first place: to have a real impact on important challenges, and to quickly gain leadership skills and expertise. The photo to the left shows me with some colleagues who also attended the summit: Maya (Jakarta office), Rebecca (Sao Paulo), Marieke (Amsterdam), Sean (Atlanta), and Ntokozo (Johannesburg). Photo credit for this group selfie goes to Rebecca.
I joined McKinsey last September as a business analyst (BA) in our Washington, DC office. I’d originally received an offer to join in 2014, as a student at Brown University, but when I had the chance to study for an M.Phil. in nuclear energy at Cambridge University, McKinsey allowed me to defer my start date to pursue the opportunity. I’d been drawn to the firm because it seemed like a great fit for someone with my sometimes-contradictory set of academic interests: I concentrated in chemistry alongside Middle Eastern studies at Brown, and I wanted to continue being able to move between different disciplines and industries, all while knowing that my efforts would have large-scale impact and help address truly important problems.
Happily, I’ve been able to meet that goal during my first year at McKinsey. I’ve done client work in healthcare, advanced industries, the public sector, and the energy space, most of which have focused on operations, or the basic efficacy of our clients. This means that my projects have helped our clients get better at the fundamentals of what they do, which eventually translates to making clean energy more affordable at a utility and to improving outcomes for a particular disease at a hospital chain. So far, it’s felt very rewarding.
Life outside client work
My time at McKinsey isn’t all about client work (or, indeed, about traipsing through Asia problem-solving solutions to global poverty). I focus a lot of my free time on the BA cohort in DC, both through coordinating learning and training opportunities, and supporting our recruiting process. BA learning is especially important to me because the opportunity to quickly develop leadership skills and business knowledge is a major reason that many people join McKinsey. Though much of that development happens naturally and informally through our client engagements, we make an effort to regularly set aside time to help BAs practice building credibility and explore the values that underpin all of McKinsey’s work, among other things. Learning events are also some of the most social programs here, and we make sure to bake in plenty of time for “networking” (read: bagel breakfasts, happy hours, and karaoke) at all of them.
Looking forward to sharing more soon.