– Greetings from Hotlanta! The city does live up to its name; we've been regularly experiencing weather in the 90s, which is just roasting to me. Here's what's happened in the past few months:
Wedding, honeymoon, married life
After a whirlwind couple of weeks wrapping up my last engagement with my all-star team in DC, Emily and I went to Minnesota to get married. It was a lovely ceremony, and then we were off to Barcelona for our honeymoon. My team in DC arranged dinner reservations for us in Barcelona, which was an incredible gesture.
Every July, McKinsey invites every engagement manager in the firm to Cambridge University for a week of intensive training. The curriculum includes two days each focused on the industry (e.g., consumer packaged goods, retail) and function (e.g., finance) of our choice. Our clients come in to teach classes based on their actual business decisions, and it's cool to see the firm's work as told by outside business leaders. It's a terrific opportunity to make connections with other McKinsey people across the globe with similar interests. And the week also serves as a reunion with many friends made during other training programs, client engagements, etc. Plus, it's in Cambridge, England in the summer!Cambridge was so lovely and green—the perfect time to go punting. One of the signature events is champagne on the green, served by the firm's directors. Of course, dapper Dom (Dominic Barton, our managing director) was there, and I snagged a quick photo with him and some new and old friends.
Wearing the CEO cap
One of my favorite extracurricular activities at the firm is participating in recruiting and training events. I love to see the next generation of the firm at the start of their journeys. The first training for most consultants is Embark, which simulates a client study, culminating with the big CEO meeting. I got to wear the CEO cap and role play all sorts of fun and challenging situations. It was a definite switch to be on the other side of the table, and for me, to realize how important it is to get straight to the point!
New client engagement
I'm now in Atlanta, working on an exciting new engagement. I love the marketing strategy work I usually do, but I wanted to try something just a little different, so I took a half step to the side and am now working on a sourcing and design-to-value (DtV) project for a consumer facing company. This is one of the largest teams I've ever managed: me plus four others, and another DtV team. The work is fascinating and high impact. The idea is that we have the DtV team tear apart the client's products and look for ways to make the product less expensive while remaining as good if not better. The key here is designing to value. What can we change about the product that won't affect the consumer experience? Sometimes, a company will invest a lot in a feature that people just don't care about, and it drives up the cost. The goal isn't to take out all the bells and whistles, but rather to make sure the product has the bells and whistles about which people care most.
In addition to the design aspect, we're also engaged in strategically sourcing the product—how do you reduce the complexity of the inputs (i.e., combine substitutable inputs), increase per input purchase volume, and then negotiate with suppliers to get the best prices?
And in the backdrop, this is one of the most complex client situations I've ever been in—transitioning the project from another consulting firm, juggling a team based on both the east and west coasts, working with lots of experts, etc. But the client and team are great, and I can't sing their praises enough. Just today, the COO gave a shout out to the team on the ground, so we know we're on the right track.
Ok, until next time!