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Embark on a career at McKinsey to broaden your horizons

Aya joined McKinsey from industry, and learned how to break down problems and effectively describe technical concepts to laymen.

Joining McKinsey has enriched my life. Before joining the firm two years ago, I was a software engineer for a Japanese tech company where my day to day involved coding, testing, and releasing solutions to meet the deadlines for each development cycle. I did not have opportunities to join trainings or network and build relationships with peers or clients outside of the company.

Here, my projects are a lot more dynamic and exciting. Before COVID-19 restrictions, I traveled to several countries to serve clients across industries from banking, insurance to mining. This is something I never imagined possible for a software engineer. At McKinsey, I have gained new skills, like how to break down problems and solve them quickly and how to effectively communicate and describe technical concepts to a non-technical audience. Working and practicing these skills with different teams has also broadened my perspective.

Developing solutions and people

Embark on a career at McKinsey to broaden your horizons
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My most memorable project was helping a banking group in Colombia build a digital lab. It was my first time working outside of Japan, and I still remember that tingling feeling of excitement as I boarded the plane for my 20-hour flight. Walking into the client site, I was unsure how I would connect and build rapport. The first question the client asked me was, “Do you speak Spanish?” I responded, “No, but I speak Python and JavaScript quite well.” The entire room laughed and it was the start of a very productive working partnership and friendship. After a few months on the project, we built a fully functional, end-to-end data analyst platform that provided live data to the bank helping it promote the most suitable products to its customers.

The project was built using several programming languages like Python, Kedro, AWS cloud and ASW S3. It was a success because we combined the diverse expertise of the whole team to build the solution, and we set up workshops with client engineers to train them to use the language and develop services on their own.

With the help of my team, I gained the trust of the client and built a strong and lasting relationship. We still to stay in touch. The client continues to contact me after the project for help with technical issues and on various occasions to see how I am doing or send a holiday greeting. I love how we started as clients and ended up becoming lifelong friends.

McKinsey as a long-term career

I was a bit nervous when I joined the firm from industry, not knowing if consulting was the right career choice for me. After two years here, I’ve realized a career at the firm really is best for me. At McKinsey, I’m in a supportive environment with exceptional people who help me hone the skills I have and develop new ones. The learning is so rich; I have multiple opportunities to attend online and, before COVID-19, in-person trainings to improve my technical and consulting skills such as leadership, time management, and communications. Additionally, feedback is part of our culture. The feedback I receive from experts, mentors and professional development managers helps me to constantly reflect, learn and improve so I can bring my best self to challenging situations.

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More about Aya

Aya is a specialist in Toyko with a full-stack engineering background. She was born in China and moved to Japan after graduating from NanKai University. She holds an masters degree in software engineering and has more than 10 years of work experience in software engineering and Cloud.

At McKinsey, Aya's work focuses on digital and advanced analyst transformations across industries and countries.

Outside of work, Aya enjoys badminton and snowboarding. She has represented her amateur badminton club in competitions.