Veterans at McKinsey: Meet Jack Guevara

Jack Guevara reflects on his career as a Marine, serving in the Middle East and Japan—and why he wanted to continue his journey at McKinsey.
Veterans at McKinsey: Meet Jack Guevara
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As a first-generation Filipino-American, associate Jack Guevara grew up in a large, tight-knit family in Los Angeles, where no one before him had served in the U.S. military. He knew he wanted to be a combat pilot from the age of five or six when he first saw the movie Top Gun.

Nearly a decade later while he was in high school, Jack felt a strong desire to serve his country in the aftermath of 9/11. “I was inspired by the shared sense of purpose and unity in the United States,” he remembers. After graduation, he was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy, where he majored in political science.

After graduating, Jack was commissioned into the U.S. Marine Corps, and from there went to flight school. He spent most of his eight-year career based out of Camp Pendleton, California, flying the AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter and was then deployed three times to the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Japan.

Starting out as an attack pilot, Jack provided close air support as an aerial escort for the Marines and allied forces and graduated from the Weapons & Tactics Instructor course—the Marines’ equivalent to Top Gun. He eventually became the Operations officer of a squadron for more than 200 Marines and dozens of aircrafts.

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Jack Guevara served in the Marines as an Attack Helicopter Pilot, Aviation Safety Officer, Weapons & Tactics Instructor.

Having spent much of his military career deployed in places where access to energy was both an economic and national security imperative, Jack wanted to make an impact in the area of sustainable energy when considering a civilian career. “Transitioning to a lower carbon economy is important, not just environmentally, but economically,“ he explains.

He chose to pursue that work at the firm because of a similar commitment to values. “In the Marine Corps, it’s honor, courage, and commitment,” Jack says. “At McKinsey, it’s a commitment to our clients and our people and to creating positive, enduring change in the world.”

Today Jack is based out of McKinsey’s San Francisco office, where he works with energy companies, utilities, and infrastructure developers. Recently, he helped a solar company reimagine their installation processes, significantly reducing costs, which made solar power more affordable for millions of families. In his client work, Jack has been able to leverage much of his Marines experience. “What I bring to McKinsey from the Marines is execution discipline,” he says. “This means making sure we identify the most important aspect in a project and go after it, prioritize strategically, create a workplan, and stay on track.”

Beyond the opportunity to work with clients on renewable energy, Jack has also appreciated the chance to collaborate with teammates from all different backgrounds and experiences. In particular, he's enjoyed learning how to inspire people in ways other than commanding. He talks about the importance of understanding what motivates someone—"Is it family or community? Team or career? Or is it the mission?" As Jack explains it, “Unstructured, casual conversations with my teammates have been where I've learned some of the most important things."

And in keeping with his commitment to the Marines—and a childhood dream—Jack continues to fly in the Reserve.

Read more profiles of our veteran colleagues here.