When I left the U.S. Navy submarine force in 2011, I had devoted more than nine years of my life to active duty. I was ready for a new challenge through which I could continue to build on the leadership skills I developed in the military, have a positive impact on peoples’ lives, and spend more time with my family. In my search for a new career, I reached out to other veterans who had made the transition to the private sector. One of the vets I spoke with was a McKinsey partner from Atlanta who was a Marine and, like me, a Naval Academy graduate. He explained to me how, at McKinsey, I would have the opportunity to achieve my goals and be supported by an incredible veteran network that would help me succeed. After four years with the firm, I can tell you he was right.
I have used my leadership skills to help our clients realize tremendous impact virtually from my first day at McKinsey forward. During my first study, I was on a team of four people charged with implementing an asset reduction strategy for a state agency in the U.S. My responsibilities required me to travel, on my own, to different regions across the state to work with frontline managers. Together, we identified underutilized, state-owned equipment that could be rented (instead of owned) to improve reliability and cost effectiveness. By the end of the engagement, we helped tax payers save more than $650M and we improved the working conditions of the frontline employees.
One thing about McKinsey that has surprised me has been my ability to spend significant quality time with my family. I typically travel Monday through Thursday with my teams and clients, meaning I am able to spend four nights a week at home. I take my son to school on Fridays, help him with his homework and go to his sports practices and games. Additionally, travelling during the week lets me segment my work from my home life. This allows me to be fully present during my time at home. One other amazing benefit of the firm that’s worth mentioning is the time I was given when my daughter was born. I took off six weeks with pay and it had no impact on my career trajectory (now, the paternity leave policy provides eight weeks). Being able to stay at home and focus on helping my wife with our newborn without worrying about repercussions at work was awesome.
I have been extremely well supported at the firm, especially by other veterans. My exposure to the Veterans@McKinsey Network didn’t end with that first conversation I had with the partner from Atlanta. My first week here, I had a two-hour-long conversation with a submariner now-Philadelphia-based partner who talked me through how the firm works in comparison to the Navy and gave me advice on how to approach my first few studies.
Since then, the members of Veterans@McKinsey have become like my own family within the firm. It has been really inspiring to watch the network grow and strengthen. We recently held our first conference in Baltimore on the days leading up to the Army Navy football game. More than 120 veterans from all roles and tenures attended and, although the game didn’t go as planned for my midshipmen, we all had a great time.
If you are a veteran thinking about transitioning out of active duty, I encourage you to consider McKinsey. I also recommend reaching out other veterans who have made the transition. In my experience, they are the best source of mentorship and advice.