A day in the McK life: Lishi

Lishi found consulting and McKinsey through our 2014 Insight Asia Pacific Program in Chicago while she was completing her post-doc in cellular biology at Rockefeller University. Now she’s an associate in our Shanghai office and having an amazing experience designing a hospital. Read about her typical day (below) and consider following in her footsteps by applying for our next Insight program by April 9, 2017.


“A day as a McKinsey consultant is amazingly action-packed. I have been with the firm for a little more than four months now, and I’ve have never had a day that felt repetitive or boring.

Take my current engagement as an example. I am helping our client design a hospital from scratch. At first, I felt very lost – how would we break such a big task down into actual pieces of work? Through discussions with our engagement manager, McKinsey experts, and clients we did it. By the time I started on the team, I was able to quickly get to work on my piece of the solution.

A big part of our work includes collecting data on the local healthcare environment and the strategies and operations best practice hospitals employ. My teammates and I have visited many hospitals to interview their leaders, physicians, and patients as well as talk with government officials. We constantly communicate with our client to understand their perspective and ensure we stay on the same page about how our work is progressing.

In a way, our work is similar to scientific research. We collect a lot of data and look for interesting insights. In a McKinsey engagement, however, we have to synthesize these findings and make decisions quickly. It can be demanding and intense; it’s really exciting, rewarding, and – thanks to my teammates – a lot of fun. After just one week on this project, my team had a clear sketch of what the hospital would look like – what diseases it would focus on, who would be the target patients, what types of physicians we would need, etc. In the coming weeks, we will collect more data to make our plans more concrete and specific. It feels surreal; I’ll be able to see the hospital I’ve helped to design in a year or so. Having so much impact in the real world is thrilling and very motivating for me.

The Asia Insight program introduced me to McKinsey and helped me decide to become a consultant. Over the course of three days, we completed a condensed sample engagement. We received a case with a fictional client and were required to provide recommendations at the end. Throughout the program, the faculty members – consultants with McKinsey’s Asian offices – walked us through ways to break down and address the problem and shared their personal stories with us.

The Insight Asia program was deliberately infused with McKinsey’s culture. Each team kicked off with team learning where we shared our working preferences and goals. Everyone was so honest and open – it felt strangely intimate from the get-go.

The team problem solving sessions that followed were lots of fun. I remember the engaging discussions our team had as we defined the problem and broke it into an issue tree. The open and encouraging team dynamics helped me jump out of my comfort zone and speak up. My opinions were heard, accepted and incorporated.

The environment and culture I experienced during Asia Insight are the reality of my life now as a member of the firm. I feel very fortunate to work with so many smart AND nice people. I’m still learning and growing rapidly. I’m so excited for this next phase of my journey.”

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