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Developing buzz words

Anna, an associate from Beijing, feels like she’s working in a start–up, but it’s actually McKinsey.

I am amazed by how different my experience at McKinsey has been, compared to what I thought before I joined. Are there long hours? Yes, there are. Do I travel a lot? Well, sometimes more than I thought, but it varies by project type and stage. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I work with the best people, I make a difference, and I’m never bored. So, what’s the difference? What was unexpected?

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Before joining McKinsey’s Greater China office, I was doing my MBA at Stanford. Everyone was trying to start something in tech to change lives, change organizations or change the world. I carried the same ambition. But tech is broad, I was not sure which vertical fit me. Consulting became a natural choice for me, a hesitant spirit.

Once I got the offer from McKinsey, a new doubt popped up. From my classmates (~30% worked in consulting), I heard most consultants help dinosaur companies – changes and impact, yes, but seemingly not that cool.

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Still, I decided to join after graduation. Three weeks after I started at McKinsey, my assumptions about the job had been completely overturned. My first study was helping the venture arm of a financial conglomerate assess innovation opportunities in real estate digitization. I became proficient in many edgy technologies in architecture design, construction, and real estate management. The CEO is one of the coolest entrepreneurs I’ve ever met. After that, I served one of the biggest ecommerce companies in the world on user growth and social commerce. I helped a multinational consumer goods company shape its partnership with Alibaba and Tencent to develop new products, use precision marketing, and leverage an omni–channel approach. We are working on and thinking about trendy topics like these, with our clients, to shape the future.

Another thing that surprised me about McKinsey: I do get my hands dirty. Some of my most memorable moments have been brainstorming a campaign on Douyin (Tick Tok, short video app), detailing out an interface for a client’s WeChat mini program, and teaching a client’s sales force how to execute a new process. I am proud we work hard to deliver real value, and I wouldn’t miss a minute of it.

Learn more about roles like Anna’s