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My first year at McKinsey

– Hi everyone,

Welcome to my blog! I joined McKinsey as a fellow in September 2014, immediately after completing my master’s degree in industrial engineering and management in the Netherlands. I’m a fellow, which is a role is similar to a business analyst (BA), except that a fellow must have a master’s degree. My program here at McKinsey will be between two and two-and-a-half years, after which I’ll attend business school.

On a rooftop bar during a weekend trip to Singapore

I knew I wanted to join McKinsey four years in advance. I met the recruiting team and consultants from Amsterdam for the first time in 2010 through my role organizing recruitment events for engineering students. I was excited to go into consulting because of the learning and growth opportunities, the exposure to different companies and people, and the travel possibilities. When thinking about career options, I just couldn’t imagine a place where I could learn as much and work with as many inspiring people. Luckily, McKinsey has lived up to my expectations!

My first year of client engagements

One of the reasons I wanted to join McKinsey was because I don’t like making choices. I studied both industrial engineering and management at school because I didn’t want to have to decide between technical and business topics, and similarly, I didn’t want to make an immediate career decision about which industry to focus on. For this reason, I have experimented a bit: I’ve completed short and long projects here in the Netherlands and abroad in banking, basic materials, telecommunications, and oil and gas. I’ve already learned so much about what I like and don’t like: the banking work was not the most exciting to me, but I loved my projects in energy and materials.

On a weekend trip to the Pinnacles desert with two colleagues

For one of my projects I was on what’s known as an “engagement loan” to a different office (a short-term transfer to another geography). It was fantastic to work in Australia—I liked the industry, the people, and the exploration opportunities. I was working in Perth, but was able to visit both Sydney and Brisbane on the East Coast as well as Bali and Singapore. I am very grateful for this amazing experience.

I’m now on a project based in West Africa. I expect to be here until Christmas, but will fly home every other week.

An active office

I love that at McKinsey we have the opportunity to get involved in different initiatives beyond client work. Although I travel a lot, I am quite active in the Amsterdam office. Our office is very social—we have lots of different events as well as frequent office-wide drinks. Last year I helped organize an internal women’s event with two speakers and a connectivity dinner, which was a lot of fun. I was also part of a team that organized a workshop with a museum here in Amsterdam on marketing and sales. Last but not least, I try to be involved in recruiting and love being a “buddy” for candidates.

Outside of work

I have an active life outside of work: I love working out, running, cooking, travelling, and of course spending time with family and friends back at home. I’m in a good running routine now in Africa—it doesn’t always work out, but it helps me to have a target, and right my goal is to run 100 kilometers every three weeks. So far, so good!

Surfing during my holidays in Sri Lanka

On the travel topic, in the past year I’ve visited over 10 countries, including holidays and weekends in China, Spain, Dubai, Curacao, Cuba, Indonesia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. I am looking forward to more exploration while I’m here in Africa.

What really energizes me about this job is the ability to help our clients and people in general. This drives me more than anything; I hope to be able to share some great client impact stories with you in the coming year.

Laurien

About the blogger

Laurien
Fellow

Laurien

Laurien joined our Amsterdam office after completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering and management from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In her first year as a consultant, she worked in numerous industries including banking, oil and gas, and media, and achieved her wish to travel and work in foreign countries by spending significant time in Australia and West Africa. She’s looking forward to another year at McKinsey before she pursues her MBA.