How improv is like consulting

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I’m Luke, a business analyst out of New York in the Marketing & Sales practice. I enjoy reading, cooking, hiking, and traveling.

What are you drinking today and why?

I’m drinking water–let’s call this a water chat instead!

What is special about the New York office?

It’s filled with all types of interesting people and the end of the workweek is a great time to meet new people and catch up with old friends. I’m part of the Marketing & Sales practice, which means I have another community of great people to hang around. And on Fridays, lunch is free and delicious.

What are your weekend plans?

Celebrating a friend’s birthday, hiking at Breakneck Ridge just north of the city, and helping my girlfriend move. It’s a busy weekend!

What type of music motivates you?

I’ve been a huge fan of Anderson .Paak lately. He has two albums (“Malibu” and “Yes Lawd”) which are both fantastic. They’re good albums to listen to when you’re trying to get some work done!

What did you learn this week?

A lot! I started a new project with a media client, so I had to get up to speed with all of our client’s print and digital brands. It was a challenge to try to figure out the nuances of so many different products, but it was exciting.

How did you make a difference this week?

This week I helped various brand leads at my client craft brand visions and plan steps to achieve those visions. Essentially, these can be a guide for the decisions their brand makes for the next few years!

What’s your favorite app?

I like to keep a brief bullet journal on my phone to record what I do each day, so I use an app called Day One to track everything.

What is the best part of your Friday at McKinsey?

I was enthused to find out McKinsey’s New York office has an improv group that regularly meets on Fridays–I’ve been performing improvisational comedy for years and was worried I wouldn’t have time for it. The group, coached by a professional improviser from a nearby theatre, practices the basics, like agreement and emotional expression, though a series of games and exercises.

I love the contrast of consulting and improvisational comedy. One moment on Friday, I’m pondering my findings from an analysis with a teammate, searching for an answer amidst a sea of numbers. The next, I’m pretending to be a king from the middle ages who is shown a cell phone for the first time. However, there are some similarities between those two activities. Improv and consulting are both team activities in which teammates succeed best when they build on each other’s’ ideas. Imagine yourself in the room where your colleague fills in the next piece of analysis when you hit a mental roadblock, or where you play off your scene partner by claiming the cell phone is the Holy Grail.

At McKinsey, I’ve been fortunate to foray into consulting and continue exploring improvisational comedy. I’m certain both of these skills will be crucial as I develop further as a business leader.

Want to learn more about roles like Luke’s? Click here .

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