Back to Careers Blog

Starting from scratch

Joost enjoys shaping strategy and building products from the ground up as a product manager in Amsterdam.

McKinsey product managers build innovative solutions and deliver high-valuable, usable products for colleagues and clients. We sat down with Joost, a product manager in Amsterdam, to learn about his experience and advice for recruits.

Joost Thumbnail
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:

Tell me about your career before McKinsey.

I studied movies as a theoretical film student and from there I rolled into IT work. Before McKinsey, I spent six years at ScreenImpact, a digital media startup, where I built software, sold products and coordinated marketing and sales efforts. From there I moved to a mid-sized software company, where I ran a business unit.

I always considered myself a startup guy, and never imagined I’d end up at a consultancy–I had to buy a suit for my interviews. I soon realized how much of my startup knowledge applied I could use. I knew more than I thought, which was a great feeling.

What was different about your opportunity at McKinsey?

When I joined, I had been in a good position for more than a year, but I found myself getting bored easily. During the interview process I learned that that I’d get to start a new project from scratch and build new teams two to three times per year. McKinsey presented the opportunity to engage in many different types of meaningful, impactful projects.

My feeling was that McKinsey would be the best place to develop myself and that it would fit my restless character. Luckily, I can say that my first 18 months at McKinsey have exceeded my expectations on these fronts.

For a product guy like me, there’s nothing more exciting than building a product from the ground up. At McKinsey you have the opportunity to do so multiple times per year–I’m on my third study in 18 months–which makes this a great place for anyone with a passion for product.

Can you talk about an interesting project you’ve worked on here?

My second study was a greenfield project, meaning we started from scratch, which is exciting because we didn’t have to deal with legacy tech and old code–we were free to begin with the latest solutions.

The client was in the luxury cruise industry, with prices in the 10-50K range. The high cost and the company’s older customer base meant they deal mainly with travel agencies. A significant percentage of this company’s revenue was from business-to-business sales, but their focus was on business-to-consumer initiatives. Business-to-business deals were still done over the phone, and they had some very outdated digital channels.

We created a modern agent portal that combined all their resources and greatly reduced costs. A team of the client’s travel experts and McKinsey designers, researchers and developers worked start to finish, from the content sprint and validation to building the digital product.

How does McKinsey support your growth as a product manager?

What’s different about running a McKinsey engagement is that in other organizations there are problems outside your scope and power, but at McKinsey about ninety percent of the problems you identify can be fixed. There are almost no boundaries. For example, in my last engagement we realized the teams were set up in a way that was hindering our work, and we were easily able to reorganize.

Do you have any advice for applicants?

You’ll work with a lot of smart people and will always learn something from your colleagues and mentors. If you are keen to apply your product knowledge to many different organizations, and if you’re interested in shaping strategy, beyond simply building a product with development teams, McKinsey is a great fit.

Find a job like Joost’s

Joost Inline
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:

About Joost

Joost is a product owner in Amsterdam. Before joining McKinsey, he was a product manager at ScreenImpact, a digital signage company that developed a unique and extremely user-friendly digital signage software and at WoodWing Software. Joost has a bachelor’s in culture, film and media from the University of Amsterdam and a master’s in film and visual communication from Universiteit Antwerpen in Belgium.

For more information on McKinsey's product management career paths, visit