Playing my part to reduce emissions and decarbonize products

I received my masters of science in business and finance from the University of Mannheim. Outside of McKinsey, I’ve worked at KPMG, UBS Investment Bank, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. I also did a short research stay at the Harvard Kennedy School.

I first heard about McKinsey during a lecture in school. I joined McKinsey in 2010 for a summer internship. I took the McKinsey internship because of the prestige of the firm. It ended up being the only internship I did where I wasn’t counting down the days until it was over. I even extended it by a few weeks because I liked what I was doing and the highly capable and motivated people I got to work with. So, when given the opportunity, I joined full-time in September 2011.

I left McKinsey in 2013 to pursue a DPhil in geography and the environment at the University of Oxford, then found my way back to the firm in 2018. I came back after a few years in academia, because while I knew I wanted to focus on environmental topics, the timelines in academia are too long for me. I wanted to get back in front of the clients with my colleagues and work on challenges where we would see an impact within a matter of weeks.

My path to sustainability

I now serve as an associate partner in our Sustainability Insights group, largely focused on decarbonization and sustainable transition.

In my earlier stint at the firm, I spent a year focused on helping the solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing industry in Germany navigate its challenges. That’s when I first became intrigued with the energy transition. Then I spent some time in Bangladesh, helping a friend launch a social start-up on potable water filtration for the rural population there, and I saw firsthand the results of rising sea levels. I left the country knowing I wanted to help solve the problem.

I feel fortunate McKinsey offers the flexibility and resources for me to shape my career and follow my values, which enables me to do this important work.

My role at the firm

I mostly support clients in the Advanced Industries and GEM sectors, and I work with clients to help them understand the amount of embedded CO2 in their products and how to reduce it over time.

I focus on building our Zero-Carbon Product proposition, which involves a range of start-up like activities. For example, I help clients develop scale-up and development plans; create budgets and secure funding; recruit, train and enable team members; and acquire new projects to bring the asset to our clients.

I find my work highly rewarding because we are having a direct impact at the highest level. Often, I can pick up the newspaper and read about the difference my efforts are making in real time.

Influencing game-changing laws

All the projects are meaningful, but one of my most memorable projects so far involved working with the head of state of a large country. We developed a roadmap to accelerate the country’s path to net-zero emissions.

We implemented a sophisticated and complex analytics model covering all sectors. We helped the client engage with stakeholders across all relevant parts of the government to ensure the roadmap was doable. The effects of our work moved the country to a path to net-zero.

More about me

At McKinsey, I am a founding member of the electric vehicle (EV) battery group and the EV charging infra group. I have been a member of the Green Team in the Amsterdam office and have been active as faculty in the firm’s signature learning programs, including the mini-MBA and EMBARK, our initial training for new hires. I have also been active in recruiting for our growing Sustainability practice. I currently teach an elective at Oxford University, as well.

When I am not working, I spend as much time as I can with my wife, Charlotte, and two-year-old daughter, Carmen. I also like to participate in a variety of sports, including bouldering, rowing, and long-distance running.

Find a job like Alex’s

Never miss another post

Receive new stories once a week directly in your inbox