After graduating from business school in the US, I was faced with a dilemma of choosing between two exciting career opportunities: analytics manager for a leading American bank or analytics associate at McKinsey in Southeast Asia.
Both roles strongly aligned with my career interest in data science and advanced analytics. However, at McKinsey, I could leverage data science to solve some of the world’s hardest and most challenging problems across industries and geographies, so I chose McKinsey.
I joined the firm four-and-a-half years ago, and I am thankful I did! I have led transformations for clients, while deepening my technical and soft skills. Here, I work with experts in their fields so I am always learning.
Doing what I love in a distinctive environment like McKinsey gives me a strong sense of self, purpose, and accomplishment.
Picking the right projects to make my own McKinsey
I wanted to experiment and in January 2020, I chose to do a six-month rotation with a global team that manages an exclusive and strategic partnership between McKinsey and the renowned start-up SparkBeyond, an artificial intelligence-based platform. Because it was such an enriching experience, I extended the rotation by another six months.
During that year, I built multiple advanced analytics use cases for clients across industries and trained them in AI-driven futuristic analytics platforms.
As a data scientist, one of my primary roles is to build models that make predictions for businesses. SparkBeyond automates that process and performs work that would take a human months, in a mere matter of hours. The tool can come up with more innovative, deeper insights because it removes human bias from the equation. As a result, clients using SparkBeyond have seen a near-immediate impact in incremental revenue capture and cost efficiencies.
Thriving as a technologist in a strategy consulting firm
As a tech consultant, working with multiple clients and different data platforms, tech environments, and coding languages can be a roller-coaster and an incredible learning experience.
For example, one of my clients required simultaneous coding on multiple platforms: SQL to fetch the data from the warehouse; SAS to support legacy codes; and Python to build new analytics assets.
However, the most exciting part of my job is translating technical work into business insights that guide the team. Telling these stories in a meaningful, yet simple way is the secret sauce to ensure our clients believe in data-driven recommendations rather than intuition.
Overall, doing advanced analytics work in a consulting environment has supplemented my existing technical skill set with effective consulting skills, such as following the 80/20 rule, avoiding analysis paralysis, structuring communication, and building meaningful networks with clients and colleagues.
Relishing teamwork and McKinsey’s growth culture
The army of smart individuals committed to making each consultant successful at the firm is awe-inspiring. At any given time, I have access to supportive and engaged leaders and mentors to talk through any issues.
I want to give back in the same way, so I started an initiative to create space for women in nontraditional roles, such as data scientists and engineers, in Southeast Asia to talk, network, and meet leaders around the firm.
My professional development manager and my performance evaluator, both McKinsey veterans, have helped me find the right projects, build a thriving network, and develop as a seasoned analytics counsellor for clients. I want to support my colleagues the way they support me.
More about Deepti
At McKinsey, Deepti serves as Equal at McKinsey Ally to McKinsey’s LGBTQ+ community. In her free time, she loves to write poetry.
For more information on McKinsey’s data science career paths, visit mckinsey.com/TechCareers.