It’s hard to imagine my learning curve flattening any time soon. This makes me hopeful and excited about my own path forward at McKinsey.
When I made the decision to leave the finance world and join McKinsey, I was expecting to find a hierarchical place with pyramidal org charts. Upon arriving, though, I was pleasantly surprised, and energized, to find an exciting buzz of seemingly organized chaos around me. What I came to find is that although you have managers on individual projects and you have people who are formally or informally responsible for helping shape your career development, no one dictates exactly what you’re going to do. Groups of individuals who enjoy working with one another form into teams, and the teams pool their skills to solve some of the world's most interesting—and often most vexing—problems.
Make your own McKinsey
You’ll often hear people say, “Make your own McKinsey.” This phrase describes a culture where people have the ability—and the obligation—to create their own environment and, in particular, to use the Firm as a platform to be an entrepreneur. This means figuring out what you want to do professionally—within or beyond McKinsey—and then leveraging the support, energy, and expertise of colleagues to make it happen.
For me, my academic background—in studying China and economics, plus my professional experience in financial markets—has led to an interest in emerging-market investing, an area in which I have focused for much of the past year. “My McKinsey” has been a crash course in self-awareness, entrepreneurship, and new ways of thinking―but there are as many different versions of “my McKinsey” as there are colleagues, and everybody chooses to use the opportunities presented to them in different ways.
BA, arts and sciences