Working at McKinsey is not only a great learning experience, it is also a lot of fun. Before you even notice it, you start referring to the people you work with as friends rather than colleagues.
Why I joined the firm
I joined McKinsey for two main reasons: First, I like to be challenged, to have to step out of my comfort zone. I enjoy a stimulating and fast-paced working environment. I was also attracted to the opportunity to work on new projects with different teams, helping clients in various industries.
Second, I enjoy working in international settings. I love to travel, discover different cultures, and engage with people who have diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Surpassing my expectations and exposing me to new cultures
After more than a year at McKinsey, I can say that my experience so far has not only met my expectations, but has surpassed them in many ways. Every day at the firm is markedly different from the one before it.
From Day One, I had the opportunity to travel and meet amazing people. For my first training session, I headed to Johannesburg, where new hires from all over the world came to discover what it means to work at McKinsey. I met many colleagues from Africa. On the weekend, we had the opportunity to participate in an exchange about our respective countries. The challenges faced by my colleagues and clients in Africa—political instability, power outages—were completely different than what I was used to.
A few weeks later, I did a project in San Francisco with a team from the US. I had the opportunity to explore this fascinating start-up hub, and I learned more about some of the innovative technologies and new-business ideas—for example, commuting by car sharing—my teammates were passionate about.
Learning from our clients
I am always amazed by how much I can learn by exchanging ideas with clients outside the office walls. For example, while dining with clients in the Philippines, I had the chance to discover the local culture and learn about the history of the country, the particularities of the economy, and what daily life is like.
This enriched me on a personal level, and also helped me better understand the context-specific challenges of the project I was working on—we were interested in finding ways to reach out to the elderly generation. In Europe, using new technologies, such as smart phone apps, might not be the best approach since older people are not necessarily the most tech-savvy generation. But in the Philippines, multiple generations often live close to each other and it is common practice for grandparents to get help from the youngest—so it is possible to reach out to elders via new app technologies.
University of St. Gallen
MA SIM; BA, economics