As an undergraduate student, I knew very little about McKinsey. After my first interview, I spoke about the role with my cousins who said, “McKinsey is a global, widely-known firm. If they make you an offer, seriously consider it.” My plan was to stay for a year then continue with my studies. And here I am six years later. I joined the firm when I was 20, and I grew up here. It’s taught me so much, not just professionally, but also how to conduct myself as a human.
From business presentation specialist to team leader
I joined as a business presentation specialist, and was in the role for about two and a half years when the team leader position opened. Moving from specialist to team leader without first holding other positions was not the typical path, but my responsibilities had grown and my managers were supportive and encouraged me to apply. I got the job and was one of the first people to move directly to a team leader.
It’s proof you can make your own McKinsey. Now, I lead a team of 21 colleagues in the Visual Graphics & Media function, which provides presentation design support to McKinsey consultants and colleagues worldwide.
Transitioning into a leadership role
To prepare, I had six months of extensive onboarding which was a transformational journey. We started with the basics, such as McKinsey’s mission and values and progressed to how you translate that to your work.
I needed to learn leadership skills, such as how to run a meeting, problem solve, manage conflict, and have conversations with people who are older and more tenured than me. McKinsey thoroughly prepared me through training and on-the-job experience.
What makes McKinsey special
The people at McKinsey live the values. One, in particular, “Be non-hierarchical and inclusive,” has shaped my career. Taking a leadership role at a young age, I was in a place where suddenly people who were my leaders yesterday were now my peers. It was a major transition, but they were welcoming and included me. No matter what the topic, they gave me the opportunity to share my opinions.
I have often been the youngest person in the room, which was terrifying for me initially, but the entire journey has been easier because people supported me so much.
Identifying growth opportunities
Opportunities are everywhere, but it’s up to you to identify what you want to do. Here, if you feel like you’re good at something, but don’t immediately see an opportunity, you can ask. My personal mantra has been “Ask and it shall be given.”
More about Deepa
When Deepa isn’t supporting her team or serving as a Diversity & Inclusion Champion, she’s dancing, listening to music or telling stories via vlogs. And she says, “I also make it point to watch sunsets every day.”