To be a consultant at McKinsey, you don’t have to follow a predictable route.
I spent the first seven years of my career as a professional athlete, playing in the National Football League with teams like the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. Before I went to business school I didn’t even understand basic business terminology; I thought P&L was a personal injury law firm!
A chance to start afresh
While studying for my MBA, I applied for a summer associate position with several consulting firms. They all said I came across as an engaging communicator and a strong problem solver, but unpolished. For most firms, that didn’t pass muster, but McKinsey welcomed me with open arms.
That’s because McKinsey looks for people it can develop, and the recruiting team knew how much coaching and support I’d get. I’ve found myself in situations that play to my strengths and situations that stretch me to the limit, but I’ve had experienced consultants behind me every step of the way. That’s why the recruiting team took a chance on me—and why I returned to McKinsey as a full-time associate.
Projects that really matter
At the moment I’m working on a public-sector project in the area of law enforcement. We’re helping an organization transform its operations and culture in a fundamental way. It’s a high-impact, “only at McKinsey” opportunity that will affect many people’s health and well-being. Whatever the problem we tackle, it’s a joy to solve when you’re with people who don’t just throw themselves into their work but have fun too.
For me, the best projects are those where the team connects in a way that goes beyond the work. We invest in one another’s personal and professional lives and get excited by one another’s success. I thought I’d left such camaraderie behind in the National Football League, so I’m delighted and grateful to be able to recapture it at McKinsey.
Support for my personal life
One of the great things about working in the DC office is the support we get from our leaders. Not long after I rejoined McKinsey, my wife had our second child. As we adjusted to our new life, I was touched by the way partners reached out to us. Several of them took the time to help me think through how our family can thrive while I’m working here. Caring like that is inspiring, and it makes me feel valued.
Booth School of Business, Univesity of Chicago