The transition to consulting was not always easy...I had to unlearn certain work habits and adapt a new dynamic and fast-paced work approach.
Discovering a new way of working
In my professional experience before McKinsey, I had the opportunity to work across various industries and markets—from marketing natural cosmetics to pricing medical products. I wanted to bump up my skills, so I decided to get an MBA, focusing on healthcare. Some of my friends there came from consulting, and I was inspired by this diverse group of people. Our team sessions taught me how to have extremely productive meetings and tackle any problem through a structured approach. I chose to join McKinsey because I wanted to incorporate this new way of working into my DNA.
Making the transition to consulting
The transition to consulting was not always easy, because I had to unlearn certain work habits and adapt a new dynamic and iterative work approach. However, my colleagues at McKinsey ensured that I adapted well to the new culture.
For example, while my previous work experience helped me to connect very well with clients and truly understand their problems, I was not used to synthesizing this information into compelling presentations. So I had a steep learning curve in this regard. But team members, including a partner, encouraged me and provided candid feedback and pragmatic advice. Another colleague encouraged me to continue building on my strengths and to ask for help where I needed improvement. I remember her words: “At McKinsey, everybody learns, and you are not expected to have joined knowing it all. People around you will help you grow in the areas you need.”
Pricing portfolios, engendering a culture change
My first project was one of my most memorable because it brought new ways of analysis and thinking about the subject. The client asked us to help them build a pricing structure across a chemicals portfolio and evolve their approach from cost-based calculations for all products to value-based pricing depending on the product category. I could leverage my own pricing background to engage with the client in meaningful working sessions and to test the recommendations with countries to ensure they were actionable. I was impressed with my team and the impact we were able to generate together with the client.
On another project, a senior director in a global pharmaceutical company engaged us to help build a high-performing team with a renewed team culture. He wanted us to help foster a collaborative and results-oriented way of working across the entire company, as the units were working in silos and not openly sharing information. I often encountered a lack of collaboration and communication across units and overall buy-in to the project. Ultimately, I was able to navigate the dynamics and bring new perspectives to the client in our design of a solution.
Columbia Business School
Universidad del CEMA