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Catching a Wave

After a year at sea, product manager Benoit shares how the firm's program-management solution, Wave brought him back to McKinsey's Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium office.

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 profit and loss (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.

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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.

Reconnecting with McKinsey
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 our colleagues build digital marketing solutions. 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 Éric Tabarly.

Diving back in
After two years at sea, I contacted another friend who was then a leader within McKinsey's program-management solution, Wave. He was looking to grow his team to develop, market, and support a program management solution. 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 solution leader, and part of McKinsey's Wave team. Now, I lead a client service team, a fast-growing group of 60+ colleagues across the globe who support client teams as they deploy this program management solution.

Experimenting and transforming
We deliver a specific solution to clients and manage a business where we are responsible for our own P&L. Our solution supports 250 clients, and around 25 teams at any point in time. I see clients through their full transformation journey. Often we deploy the solution 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 McKinsey's tech practice, 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.

Find a job like Benoit's

About Benoit
Based in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, Benoit is a product manager focused on McKinsey's program-management solution, Wave. Before his current role, he has held various product marketing, business development, and product management roles in the professional services, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical industries. Benoit is an alumnus of the Université catholique de Louvain.

For more information on McKinsey's product management career paths, visit