I enjoy finding solutions to difficult problems, and McKinsey gives me plenty of opportunities to do that.

Choosing McKinsey

I joined McKinsey by chance. While looking for an internship, I attended a presentation by McKinsey that left me with two strong impressions. First, that McKinsey has brilliant and enthusiastic people. Second, that it would be difficult to get in. Of course I applied.

Developing professionally

What excited me the most about McKinsey during my internship was the culture of giving and receiving feedback. The candid and supportive reflections of colleagues serve as a mirror that shows who you are and who you can become. For example, at a training session, my colleagues praised a quality that I had not even realized I possessed. Their feedback made me seek opportunities to use and develop this strength. Because of the culture, everyone at McKinsey learns how to build on strengths and to work smoothly and effectively with others. I am already a better person than when I joined.

Rewarding and meaningful experiences

I love finding solutions to difficult problems, and McKinsey gives me plenty of opportunities to do that. With my background in computational physics, I am happy to see that our clients’ problems are becoming increasingly computational and that McKinsey is adapting to this change. In the last year, I attended specialized trainings on machine-learning tools and translating business problems into data analysis and back. The ability to process and make sense of large datasets using mathematics, programming, and tricks of the trade takes some years to develop; if you have it, McKinsey is a good place to use it. There is a pivot to analytics in most industries, and McKinsey has the people, the tools, and the clear ambition to help lead the way.

Leading successfully

In couple’s dancing, which I enjoy in my spare time, the leader steers the couple through a series of motions, sometimes expected, sometimes not, all the while adapting to the changing surroundings of the dance floor, where other couples are also moving. When the leading is well executed, it is subtle, gentle, and takes into account the partner’s cues. Leading at McKinsey is similar, and as with dancing, the best way to learn is from a master. My greatest growth as a leader has come from observing and joining senior colleagues preparing to present our thinking. A lot of effort goes into understanding others’ views and their underlying motivations, considering the sometimes opposing agendas of meeting participants, and framing the story in a way that minimizes digression and focuses the discussion on the most important topics. Then, when the time comes, great presenters read the room and adapt. When well executed, it is a pleasure to watch.

Education (degrees)

University of Oslo, Norway and École Centrale de Lyon, France
PhD, physics

University of Oslo, Norway
MSc, physics

University of Oslo, Norway
BSc, physics

Education (non-degree)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Fulbright student researcher

University of Southern California, USA
Visiting student researcher