Back to Careers Blog

Friendships and growth: My time with McKinsey

Dörte leads a team of 65 Client Capabilities Network (CCN) colleagues in 19 locations around the world, and works on a wide range of topics to help drive meaningful change. She reflects on how mentorship, feedback and other factors have guided her since she began as an intern in 2002.

My journey at McKinsey

I have been a member of our Düsseldorf office since 2003 and am currently leading a global team of 65 client capabilities professionals in 19 locations. My role is extremely varied and includes people, content, and strategy topics. I spend a lot of time talking to team members about their development programs and how I can help them grow.

I work within the Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Practice, which covers a range of fascinating topics in fast-moving industries. I am currently co-leading a project to develop a platform that synthesizes all our TMT-focused knowledge and capabilities to provide a one-stop shop to our internal clients. I regularly work with several industry leaders to determine how best to align our TMT CCN team with our clients’ needs and decide which new capabilities we should introduce.

I originally joined McKinsey as an intern in 2002, after graduating university with a business degree. I had studied in the United Kingdom, had my first internship experience in a large media company in London and was moving back to Germany so I was looking for a job that allowed me to work in a culturally diverse company with fun and driven people. I was seeking an environment that would allow me to grow as a person and that would challenge me every day. I feel fortunate that I found McKinsey.

Nearly two decades of friendships

I love working in the TMT sector. After nearly 20 years, the firm is really like my second family and home. We get to cover exciting topics—such as tech trends—that have an impact on so many other sectors. I don’t think I have had a single day where I felt bored. Prior to studying business, I was a certified goldsmith, and I can honestly say that the work I am doing at the firm draws just as much upon my creativity. I am not designing jewelry any longer, but I am designing new capabilities, finding answers to difficult questions and strategizing about the future of our team. And I work with the most amazing and talented people around the globe, many of whom I call my friends.

Guidance through mentorship

McKinsey provides an amazing ‘feedback and learning’ culture. We receive trainings when we reach new career levels, or change roles. One of the things that had a large impact on me was when there was no obvious next training for me to attend and a mentor approached me to suggest I consider becoming a faculty member myself. I used to get dreadful stage fright and presenting to a large room full of people was a terrifying thought. Stepping up as faculty and eventually becoming lead facilitator helped me overcome those fears.

One of the things I am most proud of in my current role is the transformation of our global team. Before I took the global role, we worked in three regional, largely separate, units. I merged the teams and started addressing our internal clients in a more strategic and structured way. Looking back and seeing how mentorship, trainings and many more factors have contributed to this—and improved my skillset—makes me excited for what’s to come.

Dörte’s advice for applying to McKinsey

Come with an open mind and be flexible toward out-of-the-box opportunities. I originally applied as a generalist but found a real home in the TMT Practice. Also, I was approached several times during my career to take on projects that did not seem to fit my skillset or immediate interests, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and agreed. Taking on those opportunities were some of my best career choices, as it really pushed myself to think out of the box, and I got to work with some of the most inspiring mentors and sponsors along the way.

Outside of work

I am married and have a young daughter. Spending time with my family gives me energy and helps me stay balanced. To unwind, I love to exercise or work in our garden. One of my biggest passions is stand-up paddle surfing.