I study the social sciences to challenge assumptions, see the big picture, and stay curious about understanding the causes of things, which is why I joined consulting—we’re doing exactly that!

Diplomacy as preparation for consulting

Growing up in Latvia, a post-Soviet economy, I was curious about the economic and social processes that shape development. Before joining McKinsey, I spent a year doing diplomatic work with the World Trade Organization. My background gave me the key skills for consulting: problem solving, analytical work, outside-the-box thinking, and people skills, which are increasingly important in our complex economy.

Challenging assumptions

I study the social sciences to challenge assumptions, see the big picture, and stay curious about understanding the causes of things, which is why I joined consulting—we’re doing exactly that!

Two of the best parts about joining McKinsey are seeing the immediate impact of my work and the chance to see, from behind the scenes, how different industries operate. At the firm, I am acquiring a much broader skill set in analysis, debate, and organization, which I’m hoping, one day, to bring back to Eastern Europe so I may contribute to its development.

Learning and coaching

The firm’s people have brought out the best in me, encouraging me to learn new things and sharing their know-how. For example, on one of my first studies, we were under a tight deadline, doing a type of financial analysis that was all new to me. A team member took the time to show me how to proceed and stayed with me until I fully understood the concepts, even though he had a parallel task to finish on the same day. I feel more confident now to engage with quantitative issues going forward. Moreover, I made a new friend during that study.

Complicated, high-stakes challenge

On a team of three, I helped a small biotech company to bring a new product to market by finding relevant applications across disease areas. The project was exciting but also challenging—many factors, including technical feasibility, strategic issues, and financial perspectives, had to be taken into consideration. Scanning the market, problem solving with experts at the firm, and crunching data often generated unclear and even contradictory ideas. We had to eliminate options along the way, and we eventually arrived at a solid suggestion with feasible market-entry options. The future of a smaller company can, to a large extent, be defined by the success of a single product, so the stakes were high, and arriving at a successful outcome felt very rewarding.

Education

University of Oxford
MS, global governance and diplomacy (political economy)

London School of Economics and Political Science
BS, international relations