“Consulting and playing in a band have a lot in common. Both are about energy, collaboration, and innovation.”
Hard work leads to a big break
When I was at university, I played lead guitar in the heavy-metal band Outtrigger. We had a big break when our YouTube video went viral, which led to us perform our song “Echo” at Eurovision song contest 2014.
I had my McKinsey interviews shortly before Eurovision. All I did for a few weeks was practice solving cases for the interviews and rehearse our song. I dropped everything else.
Surprisingly diverse colleagues
I started my internship soon after and arrived with my heavy-metal hairstyle. I was worried that McKinsey might be full of like-minded people in suits, but the colleagues I met were warm and genuine, with diverse skills and interests. Within the first few days I made friends with a triathlete, a surfer, and a Swedish chess champion.
It turns out that consulting and playing in a band have quite a lot in common. Both are about energy, collaboration, and innovation. At McKinsey, we work in incredibly fast-moving teams to imagine the best possible solution for our clients. And the final product has impact in the world. Recently, I worked on a retail study, creating the future look and feel of a big retail chain. It’s been amazing to be part of the process — from blank page, to concept, to reality — and to see our thinking being rolled out in more than 200 stores.
Finding your own answers
At McKinsey, I am energized and excited by the challenging and interesting work we do. On one project, for example, I had to estimate the size of the market for a particular product right across Europe. For that sort of thing, there is no answer you can check at the back of the book — you have to draw on all your knowledge and insight, use your own approach, and find the best way.
For those thinking of applying for an internship, my advice is don’t be afraid of rejection. The worst that can happen is that you get valuable experience in the preparation process. Be yourself. And don’t change your hairstyle.