At McKinsey, I feel that I have recovered the brain vivacity I had in my student days and gained invaluable experience and new leadership skills.
Before joining McKinsey, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for six years, in sales forecasting, business processes, and distribution operations. This experience gave me both analytic and soft skills, project-management experience, and industry and market knowledge.
In my clients’ shoes
I worked with a number of consultants as the client before I came to McKinsey. Having been on the other side, I can put myself in the client’s shoes. Clients want someone with a deep understanding of their business and the challenge at hand, and they are looking for tangible recommendations.
In my first year here, I had a client meeting with a very senior person who was recognized as a top expert. Before the meeting even began, she was very transparent, saying, “What should I do? I’m lost.” This executive, who was supposed to be the expert, trusted me enough to say that. I proposed my analysis, and we came out with a new concept that was ultimately integrated into the organization’s strategy. It is very gratifying to be so trusted and valued in our client work.
C-suite challenges early on
One of our clients had a product that wasn’t working as intended. The client asked us to explore whether there was any alternative application for this product or whether the business should be closed down. In most consulting companies, such a question would be reserved for someone at the C-suite level. At McKinsey, however, this is the type of work you can encounter in your first years at the firm.
Functioning as a “free electron”
A client had acquired another company, but the asset was not delivering. Morale was low. Rather than just working with the corporate center or in a particular region or function, we functioned as a “free electron” during this project, navigating the whole organization to gain a full understanding. We could debate with senior executives yet also touch the reality of the field which helped us gain commitment across the whole organization.
Looking back at our work, I’m amazed by the diversity of topics and of industries—from new-product launches to organizational transformations, from public health to sports. And each time, our work has significantly shaped the future of the client organization.
McKinsey has given me the confidence that I can do all of this and be successful. I feel that I have recovered the brain vivacity I had in my student days and gained invaluable experience and new leadership skills. I feel I can do things I could only dream about before!
Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon