From serving the country to serving clients, and back again

For Veterans Day this year, we shared a post about why former service women and men excel at McKinsey. It prompted another question: is it always either/or? The answer is no, it can be and We have several reservists, like Jack , who balance serving clients and country. Read on to learn how this San Francisco-based pilot and associate navigates both jobs and how the firm supports him.


Tell is about your journey to McKinsey?

When I left Active Duty military service after almost a decade, I wasn’t ready to give up serving my country, leading Marines, and flying attack helicopters. It was relatively easy to stay in the Marine Corps Reserves during business school, but when I started interviewing for consulting internships, I was concerned about whether I’d be able to continue with the military while being a full-time management consultant.

I was drawn to McKinsey because of the challenging and interesting problems, meaningful work, and inspiring people–not unlike my experience in the Marine Corps. During my summer internship, I focused on getting the full consulting experience and asking as many veterans as I could about staying in the Reserves. One friend and mentor told me: &lduo;You can absolutely do it. It will take ruthless prioritization and efficiency.” That lesson has served me well in many different facets of life.


How has McKinsey supported your service in the Reserves?

There are many challenges to being in the Reserves while working at McKinsey; the additional time I spend away from home has been my biggest hurdle. However, my colleagues have consistently and repeatedly rallied around me to make it as easy as possible. Even though I live in San Francisco, I drill out of Camp Pendleton, CA. The firm allows me to fly directly to San Diego between travel weeks to minimize the amount of time I spend on planes I’m not flying.

I’ve also been straightforward with my client service teams about drill weekends; they help me to protect those times so I can be fully engaged in the Marine Corps while I’m there.

Between each engagement, I usually take a week or more of PTO to get back in the cockpit and focus on being an attack pilot. The project-based nature and flexibility of McKinsey work is great for scheduling regular times to maintain aviation proficiency.

I also take full advantage of Take Time, which allows consultants to take additional periods of unpaid leave (5-10 weeks a year) to pursue whatever is important to them. A lot of my colleagues use it to travel, climb mountains or volunteer. I’m using it for an upcoming activation where I will return to flight school and learn to fly the Marine Corps’ newest attack helicopter.

Outside of client work and reserve duty, I like to give back to the firm and community. I’m the leader for our West Coast chapter of Veterans@McKinsey, a global network of former service people. I also sit on the board of The Wingman Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting the families of fallen aviation service members. McKinsey has given me an amazing platform to do impactful work and continue to serve my country, clients, and community.

More about Jack

Jack is a McKinsey consultant who is passionate about global energy & infrastructure development, focusing on capital projects, renewables, and clean tech. He is also an attack pilot and a Major in the US Marine Corps Reserves. Jack lives in San Francisco with his fiancée Ashley and their puppy Harry.


Meet more of our veterans including Wes and Kelemwork.

Learn more about Veterans@McKinsey

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