A day in the McK life: Jennifer

Meet Jennifer, an associate in our Chicago office, who focuses on pharmaceuticals and medical devices. She learned about consulting and McKinsey through Insight Healthcare. Coming out of a PhD program in Immunology at Northwestern University and prior work experience in pharma R&D at Novartis, she was initially hesitant to consider careers outside of academia. Attending Insight let her experience a ‘day in the life’ of a consultant, tackle some of the complex problems our teams face and understand how her intellectual curiosity would continue to be stretched at McKinsey. Below, she’s shares one of her typical days in hopes of enticing other students working toward advanced degrees to consider McKinsey.


If you’d like to follow in Jennifer’s footsteps, don’t miss your opportunity to apply for our upcoming Insight programs in Healthcare, Engineering & Science, and Asia by April 10, 2016.

Jennifer’s typical day:

6:45am: Wake up and read the news. I am a total news junkie. I love the New York Times mobile app because it makes catching up on the latest stories easy to do on my phone whenever I have a few minutes.

8:00am: Meet my teammate (on this engagement, I’m working with one other associate daily and McKinsey leadership occasionally) in the hotel lobby and head to the client site, with a stop for coffee and breakfast at the Starbucks drive-through on the way (our favorite routine). I also spend time during our commute reviewing my calendar for the day and sending a few quick emails.

8:45am: Check in with the other associate on my team to ensure we are aligned on our objectives for the day. We’re currently conducting a pricing diagnostic for a capital equipment company. We’re helping the clients understand where they are experiencing the most price erosion and identifying the key drivers behind these trends. I make sure that my colleague and I are clear on our goals for today’s meetings and the work we still need to do before each one.

9:00am: I begin two hours of client meetings. Pricing is an interesting topic, particularly because it touches so many parts of the organization. On this project, we interact closely with the regional CFO, the regional head of Commercial Operations, and the regional marketing and sales teams, as well as the global product managers. I really enjoy meeting with them; I’ve learned so much in a short time.

11:00am: I briefly check in with my teammate again to see how her meetings went and discuss any updates coming out of them. Then I spend the next hour developing an outline for a client presentation the next day.

12:00pm: Lunch time. We go to the cafeteria on-site to get lunch with the associate partner on our team who is working with us today. We typically try to avoid work discussions over lunch and instead chat about our plans for the weekend. I’m looking forward to going hiking with my husband JP and our dog Louie.

1:00pm: Spend two hours problem solving with our broader McKinsey team for tomorrow’s progress update with our key clients. These hours are very helpful in refining our insights and shaping the way we present our findings to our clients. We review slides we’ve drafted and discuss additional analyses we want to conduct to assess the correlations between certain drivers and lower prices. These problem solving sessions are very non-hierarchical; all of us – from new joiner to tenured director – contribute ideas and questions to the conversation.

3:00pm: Another client call, this time with the regional deal review team, to discuss an additional piece of data we have requested.

4:00pm: I catch up on several emails from clients and team members. I also review some of the analyses and corresponding slides the associate on my team has created.

5:00pm: I go over my to-do list, summarize the discussions from each meeting, and decide what I need to accomplish that evening.

7:00pm: Team dinner. Each week, we try to have at least one dinner together. This week we decide on a local Chinese restaurant and have a lot of fun spending time outside of the office.

9:00pm: Head back to the hotel, and wrap up anything I need for the next day. I usually head to bed around 11:00pm.

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