I’ve worked at great places in different industries throughout my career, from defense to semiconductors, where I’ve contributed to large-scale projects and enjoyed building products as an engineer. I took my chances at McKinsey because I wanted the challenge of working in different industries and functions, studying various types of data, and constantly problem-solving in a fast-paced environment. Had I stuck with my previous career track, I would have missed out on great development opportunities here.
The support of a great team
Many factors contribute to McKinsey’s high-quality output, but what stands out to me most is collaboration. At McKinsey, every team member collaborates with colleagues and client teams in a way that best ensures success.
For example, I was on a recent engagement for a banking client in Turkey to improve its deposit levels. We were faced with a huge optimization problem with hundreds of thousands of constraints every week, which would take a very long time to complete using a typical setup.
Instead, we structured the optimization task in PyTorch, which is a deep learning library that works very efficiently on the graphics processing unit. This allowed us to solve the optimization task in less than an hour.
Ownership is another key contributor to McKinsey teams’ success. People are detail-oriented both in their individual workstreams and in the overall project, which ensures an uninterrupted flow of progress.
I witnessed this myself recently when my son was born before his expected due date. I suddenly had to take two weeks off with no proper handover, so I expected the progress on my project to pause. On the contrary, my teammates picked up where I left of and worked smoothly while I was gone.
Advice for experienced hires
As an experienced hire without a consulting background, I struggled with a few new skills including presentation and client communication. McKinsey was prepared to help people like me and supported me with workshops, trainings, and mentoring.
I was worried I wouldn’t develop strong friendships, as teams are formed on a short-term project basis and disbanded afterwards. Conversely, I met more people in a short time span than I have anywhere else, and I’ve found great friends here.
Joining a consulting firm as a technologist might be an adjustment at first, but it all makes you stronger. Be resilient, take advantage of all the support McKinsey offers, and enjoy your time at the firm.
Ferit is a data scientist in Istanbul, Turkey. He has a bachelor’s in electronic engineering from Bogazici University and a master’s in computer science from the Technical University of Munich. Prior to joining McKinsey, Ferit was a design engineer at Turkish Aerospace Industries, a software engineer at Net Scientific, and a team lead at Global Kapital FX and Maxim Integrated.
For more information on McKinsey's data science career paths, visit mckinsey.com/TechCareers.