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Catching a Wave

– I joined McKinsey in 2000 as an experienced hire with a background in business development and marketing strategy in the pharmaceutical and telecom sectors. After a few years, I missed the P&L and implementation responsibilities I’d enjoyed during the first part of my career; I wanted to work on longer-term projects than the traditional McKinsey engagement. So, I left and started my own consultancy and interim management practice.

Benoit inline

I worked with clients to define and implement integrated marketing plans and spent three years in Egypt. It was an intense and exciting time, but I missed the values and strength of the people at the firm.

I had stayed in contact with many of my former colleagues, and during a trip to Belgium, I met with Philippe Mauchard, a partner from Brussels who was starting to explore new ways to serve clients. He was looking for people with backgrounds such as mine.

I jumped at the opportunity to build something different at McKinsey and re-joined the firm as a contractor in 2007. At the time, my team was small and experimental. We helped practices build software solutions, such as Brand Navigator and Pobos. It was exciting to create something that hadn’t previously existed at the firm.

Project-based contract work was appealing to me because it gave me a lot of flexibility to pursue my passion for sailing. In 2011, I left McKinsey to restore and sail my own classic boat, and then skipper Pen-Duick, an iconic classic sailing boat that belonged to famous French sailor √Čric Tabarly.

After two years at sea, I contacted another friend who was then a leader within McKinsey Solutions. He was looking to grow his team to develop, market, and support Wave, a program management software. I got to know the solution, and was convinced the firm had created something distinctive – something I wished I’d had when I was leading transformation programs for clients. I rejoined the firm for the third time, this time as a full-time consultant and part of McKinsey Solutions. Now, I lead the Wave client service team, a fast-growing group of 60+ colleagues across the globe who support client teams as they deploy the solution.

The experience of being part of a solution today is very different from when we started experimenting. Today, solutions are much more established and some colleagues have been elected to the partnership directly from solutions. We are an integral part of the firm. However, working at Wave is still different from traditional consulting. We deliver a specific solution to clients and manage a business where we are responsible for our own P&L. Our team supports 250 clients, and around 25 teams at any point in time. I see clients through their full transformation journey. Often we deploy Wave as part of a three to six month engagement, then maintain the solution and client relationship for a long time afterwards.

My relationship with McKinsey has taught me you definitely can make your own McKinsey as people here often say. The firm has provided me with many opportunities to pursue my passions. If you’re interested in joining one of our Solutions teams, be prepared to be flexible. We’re building new things and developing. We need entrepreneurial people who are excited to follow their interests and build something new.