“My favorite thing about McKinsey is our supportive culture. I’m acknowledged for my strengths and receive support to learn and develop new skills.”
I am a biologist with a PhD in neuroscience. I am fascinated by the brain and how biological and chemical factors affect it. After graduating from the University of Copenhagen, I received a PhD fellowship to research in Denmark and the US, where I focused on mental disorders like schizophrenia.
I really enjoyed research but didn’t want to stay in academia or become a laboratory specialist. I felt making the switch to consulting would allow me to explore other career options, and I had heard McKinsey hired people without business backgrounds. I saw McKinsey as an interesting opportunity to develop new skills and have more immediate impact, while using my knowledge in biology and pharmacology.
For some projects, my knowledge in life science has been an asset. For others, I’ve relied on the skills I acquired as a PhD student, such as structuring problem solving, taking a hypothesis-driven approach, and communicating complicated material to non-specialists. In general, when I work on an engagement I go through the same steps I would for any research project: I collect information about best practices, gather and analyze data, and synthesize and communicate the results.
My favorite thing about McKinsey is our supportive culture—it affects my social and work mentality. I’m acknowledged for my strengths and receive support to learn and develop new skills. When I joined, I was surprised at how quickly I was given responsibility. Having access to the firm’s knowledge and experts, with a team member always close by helps me feel confident.
The advice I’d give to others considering McKinsey might seem obvious: simply apply. I often meet people who have been thinking about it for a long time and are reluctant to apply due to concerns about the interview process: “What if I don’t understand the terminology? What if I don’t get the case?” My interviewers were extremely helpful and gracious. It’s perfectly fine to ask lots of questions during the process, and you won’t know what it’s like until you try it.
University of Copenhagen
PhD, MS, BS
Women at McKinsey
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