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A move to McKinsey supercharges your tech career

After one year, the fast pace, steep learning curve, and pure data science work at McKinsey keep Felicia, a data scientist with QuantumBlack, AI, feeling anything but stagnate.

I’m Dutch, but I decided to go to college in Belgium because I wanted a new experience. I studied economics, and I took several courses on machine learning and software engineering. After graduating, I accepted a job as a data scientist for a health insurance company, and moved back to the Netherlands.

Felicia Reinders
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I was excited about the job because it was in life sciences. I started in a traineeship and had fun, but after I rolled out of that program the learning wasn’t as steep. After two years, I felt like I was plateauing.

I wasn't looking for a job in consulting, but I mentioned to my friends and family that I wanted to do data science with international organization and have a steep learning curve. Several people told me to look into strategy consulting companies. I was on LinkedIn, saw the McKinsey job ad for data scientists, and decided to apply. Everybody said it would be a good fit for me, and they were right.

Data science at McKinsey

I joined QuantumBlack, AI, the advanced analytics arm of McKinsey, as a data scientist. In less than a year, I've worked on many projects across geographies and industries, all focused on in-depth data science – building models, putting them into production, and advising clients on what data to use.

Why McKinsey

Felicia Reinders
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What’s different about data science at McKinsey is that we develop a wider view. We can’t just focus on the analytics. Here, we might need to help build project management capabilities, teach the client’s data scientists how to use models or introduce them to new tools.

The other big difference I’ve experienced is the pace. Everything moves so fast. I come on a project, and within a week, I’m learning tools I’ve never used before or creating models for a new industry or topic. Coming from my previous job, where I was feeling stagnate, I welcome the fast speed.

I thrive on that initial part of a project where everything is new, maybe a little scary, and you have butterflies in your stomach.

Learning on the job

McKinsey sets me up to succeed. We have an in-depth onboarding training, which focuses on McKinsey best practices, communication, and presenting to clients. It helped me shift into a role where I would be engaging with clients and taking ownership of a work stream or specific product.

McKinsey also offers an outstanding data scientist onboarding program, in which I spend a week with other data scientists and engineers being introduced to McKinsey’s data assets. For example, I learned Kedro, a library of code that enables me to create data and machine-learning pipelines and makes it easy to put code into production and standardize it.

For ongoing development, McKinsey offers a large library of online courses, webinars, and knowledge-sharing groups. The bulk of my knowledge has come from doing the work and taking on different roles in projects. I enjoy working with other data scientists on coding sessions, where we give one another tips to make our coding more efficient.

When I join a new project, I can find courses at the firm on any of the tools I will need to use to prepare for the engagement. And I can always call a colleague for information because people are so willing to share insights and feedback here.

My advice for women pursuing a career at McKinsey

Felicia Reinders
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McKinsey is working hard to bring more diversity and equality to the tech. Here, you can build a strong international network of women in tech roles at every level, including leadership. You find mentors who look like you. That is supremely important for our development as women in this field.

The perception is McKinsey is only a place for economic or finance experts. That’s not true. The firm is a place for people who love to geek out on numbers and data. You're going to do real data scientist work here.

More about me

Felicia Reinders
We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at: McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com

I am active in the QuantumBlack digital community and attend as many events as possible. I am also collaborating with other colleagues to organize get-togethers for QuantumBlack, AI colleagues in Brussels, so we can get to know each other on a more personal level.

Outside of work, I love to dance, specifically salsa and bachata dancing. I also do CrossFit and love to hike. I live with my boyfriend and our two ridiculously cute cats.

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