What made you choose McKinsey?
I have a master’s degree in applied economics and I spent a short time working as an academic before I joined McKinsey in 2001. Right from the start I concentrated on serving financial institutions. I discovered this is a great place to work because you’re at the heart of our economy, you deal with intriguing topics, and you meet exceptional people.
What new skills have you developed?
Every new project pushes you to the next level. Each time you discover skills you didn’t know you had and develop capabilities you would never have imagined.
What has been your most memorable project?
There are lots! In particular, I’ll never forget my first payments project because our client did a weekly “world tour” where every country had to report back on the progress it had made.
Then there was a local retail-banking project we did to bring service levels in Belgium into line with European standards, and integration between two major banks. That was probably one of the most intensive periods I’ve worked through. In that situation you are very close to your client. People feel insecure about their future and have a lot of questions for you to answer.
How difficult is it to achieve a good work-life balance?
There is no such thing as best practice, because nobody else can tell you what to do. It’s about knowing yourself, knowing what your limits are, understanding what gives you energy and what depletes it, and being honest with yourself and others. Once you’ve worked all this out and communicated it to your colleagues and teams, McKinsey will do all it can to support you.