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Driving impact in healthcare

Kasia brings technical expertise from the United States Digital Service, MIT Media Lab, and Google to their role as a product manager on the healthcare systems and services team. Read how they use tools like Jupyter notebooks and nodeJS to build and maintain a large healthcare data platform that enables consultants to draw quick, powerful insights.

When I was a kid, my parents told me to follow my passion. That happened to be using numbers to solve hard problems–even if at first, that just meant making sure my Halloween candy lasted for more than two weeks.

Kasia Sitting
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Over the years, that passion has dictated a nonlinear path I have enjoyed immensely. I studied physics at Harvard, and then accepted a position in communications at Google. I wanted to be involved earlier in the product development pipeline, so I transitioned out of Google to build and lead the product organization at a start-up using AI and modeling to identify holes in consumer lending. This taught me how to consider AI’s ethical implications, like how to think through the tradeoffs between the mathematical accuracy of algorithms and their potential impact on society.

After several years as the project lead for the Scratch platform at the MIT Media Lab, I joined the United States Digital Service in the White House, where I worked with federal agencies to improve government technology for the American public. At USDS, I worked on projects relating to migrant farmworker visas, interventions into the opioid crisis, and research supporting Census 2020.

As I learned more about the healthcare industry, I was intrigued by how interesting, broken, and complicated it was. McKinsey presented the opportunity to continue that expertise. At McKinsey, I am surrounded by extremely intelligent people from all corners of the industry who teach me new things every day. For example, on my healthcare projects, I work with medical doctors who practice medicine on rotation a few months out of the year. These doctors bring practical expertise into the team room and help us build the right technology to support the need.

Being this close to so much information, energy and excitement is very exciting for me. My work here is fast-paced, project-based and driven by real business questions.

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Leveraging powerful technology

As a product manager on the healthcare systems and services team, I work with a team of engineers, designers, and subject matter experts to build and maintain a big data platform that enables consultants to draw quick and powerful insights. These insights are then leveraged for impactful client engagements.

I see the happiness on consultants’ faces when I introduce them to new technology that can impact their work. It’s very exciting to watch the technologies I develop be adopted and drive impact for clients.

My work involves a lot of user-centric design, user interviews, and prototyping. I work alongside engineers and designers within an agile scrum framework with two-week sprints. Whether we’re passing Jupyter notebooks back and forth with our data scientists or prototyping nodeJS data visualization applications, our scrum teams move nimbly in lock step across the healthcare organization so that we can collaborate to solve challenging issues together and on a rapid timeline.

For example, we recently introduced a new platform during the COVID-19 pandemic that makes global data and analyses available to our consulting teams on a daily, or sometimes hourly, basis, resulting in quick analytical insights that would have taken clients a month to develop on their own. During a pandemic, every day counts.

Personal growth

I’m a member of GLAM, McKinsey’s global LGBTQ+ affinity network, and Asians at McKinsey, our Asian and Asian-American community. I’ve recently been involved in many important intersectional conversations about everything from queering the workspace to how we can show up as allies for our black and brown colleagues. I have deeply benefited from the conversations, suggestions, Zoom calls, YouTube videos, book lists, and resources being shared within these networks. 

Advice for recruits

Be open minded–there are a lot of opportunities at McKinsey. If you’re a technologist who is interested in strategy, how the world works, and helping companies use technology, the reach you can have is enormous.

It’s the different way to think about tech work that I find fulfilling both personally and professionally. It may feel like the only way to do technology is at a big tech company, but it’s challenging and rewarding to become a technologist at a firm focused on business strategy. You can make technology here that solves problems while also driving the mindset change of clients and colleagues around the role of tech and how it can improve the way we live and work.

Find a job like Kasia's

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About Kasia

Kasia is a product manager in New York City. Prior to joining McKinsey, they were a communications manager at Google, VP of product management at ZestFinance, product and partnerships lead at MIT Media Lab, a digital service expert with the United States Digital Service at the White House, and an open leader at Mozilla. Outside of work, Kasia is a long-distance cyclist, bird-watcher, and freelance documentary producer. Little Chief, a short narrative film about the intersecting lives of a school teacher and a young boy, that Kasia produced, premiered at Sundance 2020. Kasia studied physics at Harvard University.

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