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We’re accepting applications for Insight Asia-Pacific, a three-day immersion in management consulting in Chicago in June. If you are a PhD or MD student in N America and interested in a career in Asia-Pacific, apply by SUNDAY Apr. 8.
Fern, an engagement manager in Bangkok, came to McKinsey after graduating with her Doctorate of Business Administration in Technology and Operations Management from Harvard Business School:
When I participated in Insight Asia Pacific in 2012, my knowledge of management consulting was limited. I flew into Chicago for the program looking forward to learning more about the industry and McKinsey itself. To my surprise, the program delivered much more; it was a memorable experience that has since significantly shaped my journey at the firm.
The most memorable part was the day we spent working through an example engagement. The 30-40 of us who were attending were split into teams. We were mentored by associate partners and partners from all over the world who would pretend to be clients and other team members to simulate the interactions we would have in real life. The activity, while challenging, was so much fun and it gave me a clearer idea of what to expect at McKinsey.
Through the case, I learned just how critical (and time consuming) it can be to define the right problem. My team was helping a pretend supermarket in Latin America turn around its business; at first, it seemed like the challenge was competition from other companies. In the end, we came to realize the biggest problems lay within the culture of the organization. This became evident as we interviewed many “clients” and just goes to show how important it is to really listen. This exercise also taught me how important it is to build answers with my clients, something I still do today. Without the right people invested in the solution, whatever I propose will never stick. When I was at Insight, I wasn’t sure how realistic this sample case was, but now that I’m here full-time, it’s obvious how well it captures the scenarios we face in actual client situations.
Over the course of Insight, I bonded with several inspiring people who had career paths and aspirations like mine. We maintained contact after the program; we helped each other prepare for interviews, shared our daily challenges and hopes for the future, and nervously awaited our offers. I credit these wonderful friends for being a big part of my professional journey. I still cross paths with some of these friends today, both at McKinsey and outside of it, and we reminisce fondly of the Insight program.
It has been six years since the closing day of Insight, when we sailed along the Chicago river in the warm summer sun, and four years since I joined McKinsey. It has been a memorable ride and fulfilling experience throughout.Find roles like Fern’s