Back to McKinsey Women Blog

Pursuing my passion for public sector healthcare work

– Hello readers! I'm so excited to be writing my first-ever blog post (well, first unless you count my tragic attempt at food blogging a few years ago that ground to a halt when I realized I am useless at photography). I joined McKinsey as a business analyst (BA) in Washington, DC about a year and a half ago. So far, I have worked on projects all over the U.S., from state government healthcare work in two different states, to federal government healthcare work in a third state, to supply chain transformation for a large cosmetics company in New York City, to risk management for a small bank in San Francisco. I transferred to the New Jersey office last summer and moved back to NYC in the fall, at which point I spent some time with a state government in the northeast working with their department of health. That was definitely my most exciting engagement so far: I'm really interested in public health and health system transformation, so this project was right up my alley!

Finding my way to McKinsey

Before I dive too much further into some of the McKinsey happenings in my life right now, a little bit about how I ended up here: I spent my undergraduate time focusing on global public health and international development. Some of the more exciting things I did while in college included:

-Interning at Amnesty International—developing a strategy to increase youth involvement in human rights, planning the launch of a sexual and reproductive rights campaign, and representing the organization at UN events.

-Working with GlobeMed (a student-run nonprofit focused on global health)—organizing a conference with over 130 delegates from 15 universities across the Northeast, and planning events that raised money for HIV prevention and treatment work in Northern Uganda.

-Interning at Project Inform—developing resources for the HIV-positive homeless population in San Francisco and advocating for Hepatitis C policy reform.

In my senior year, when I started to think about career opportunities, I was convinced that the only way to pursue my passions was in nonprofits or the public sector. But a few wise friends persuaded me to look into consulting, and I realized that McKinsey would be a great place to both build important skills and to get the opportunity to sample a variety of industries and figure out where my interests really lie. I know this sounds a bit like a sales pitch, but it's turned out to be true: I've learned more here than I ever imagined I could.

Now that you have a bit of background, here's a quick update on some recent highlights of my McKinsey (and other!) life.

Feedback by the sea

Early last fall I spent a week at FLITE training on Long Island. FLITE is a week-long training program for BAs with about a year's tenure. I was looking forward to the program, but hadn't realized what a fantastic, diverse, enthusiastic group of people I would meet there. There were BAs from as near as NYC (like me!) and as far as Australia and Germany, and program faculty from Dubai, Calgary, Geneva, and more. The week was a great chance to reflect on my first year at the firm, share crazy stories and tips with other BAs, and receive lots of hands-on coaching on everything from giving presentations to having difficult client conversations. Most importantly (and most unexpectedly), I came away from the week completely re-energized and excited about my work—maybe it had something to do with the fact that my group did most of our breakout sessions either at the beach or by the pool! The ridiculous karaoke dance party on the last night also probably helped...

Flipchart fun

As I mentioned earlier, I absolutely loved my northeast-based project with the state's health department. One of the highlights was a big workshop we ran—so many easels, posters, sticky dots, sharpies, and flip charts to get into the right places at the right time! But in all seriousness, it was awesome to see stakeholders with all kinds of backgrounds—from physicians, to hospital administrators, to union advocates, to state employees—really engaging interactively with the materials we'd prepared, and having a fruitful brainstorming discussion. I felt like I'd run a marathon by the end of it, but it was completely worth it when our main client told us afterwards how happy she was with the event.

Happiness, hamburgers, and handstands
Upside down during a yoga session

I practice Mysore Ashtanga yoga every morning, and have been getting really close to holding a handstand without the wall (though I’ve been saying that for about a year now…). After a brief hiatus from dance during my first year at the firm, I also have gotten back into the swing of taking classes when I’m back in NYC—mostly contemporary and jazz and a bit of ballet thrown in for the technique. To balance out all of this exercise, I also have some important eating plans for the next few weeks: I'm a vegetarian 99% of the time, but about once a year, I get a wild craving for a hamburger. My carnivorous friends get pretty excited about this, so we're going to go a-hunting for the best one in NYC. Wish me luck!

Until next time,

Isabelle

About the blogger

Senior Business Analyst

Isabelle

Isabelle joined our Washington, DC office after graduating from Columbia University with a BA in African History and Environmental Biology. As an undergraduate student, she had broad social impact experience, from interning at Amnesty International to teaching health education to seventh graders in Harlem. She’s now making a difference through her work at McKinsey, where she has focused on public sector healthcare work, while also working in healthcare provider strategy, risk management, and recovery and transformation services. Now based in our New Jersey office, she recently began a fellowship with our Center for US Healthcare Reform. When she's not working, you'll find Isabelle studying contemporary dance and Ashtanga yoga in New York City.