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Hard to choose

Associate Katherine finds it hard to choose her best experience at McKinsey, so she names five.

Last night, I stood in the same room in which, five short months ago, I nervously chatted with numerous colleagues before deciding to join the firm. This time, I felt completely differently. I was the one encouraging potential recruits to come to McKinsey. I couldn’t decide what my best experience has been, so I shared five:

  1. Learning new skills: by my second month at the firm, I had received feedback that I needed to speak up more during team problem–solving sessions and client meetings. This is a skill many associates have to learn. A few weeks later, I attended a full day workshop on this very topic. Led by an actor, the training dealt with projecting confidence beyond our tenure. I know I learned a lot because last week I led a workshop with multiple senior clients and my team said it went really well.
  2. Exploring different industries: as part of my first engagement, I visited our client’s manufacturing plants across Europe. Coming from a job in antitrust economics, this was different and exactly the type of learning opportunity I wanted.
  3. Bonding with my team: while touring plants, my team ended up in Italy. Though we didn’t arrive at our hotel on the outskirts of the city until after 9pm, we decided we just had to have fresh pasta. After all, we were in Italy! While there were some restaurants near the hotel, five kilometers away was a highly–rated neighborhood trattoria. We forgot the time and headed to the restaurant. It was absolutely worth it. Not only was the meal fabulous, but our spirits were lifted as we finished our visits the next day and made one last push to meet our deadline.
  4. Working with the best people: people at the firm truly care for each other. I’ve seen colleagues go out of their way to help me and other new joiners. Other associates have willingly given up their time to teach me the tricks of PowerPoint, while partners have told me about their work and listened to me over countless cups of coffee.
  5. Attending the GLAM conference: I attended the GLAM (i.e., McKinsey’s LGBTQ+ network) conference this summer. While the event itself was engaging and a clear demonstration of how much emphasis the firm places on inclusion, the highlight for me was meeting fellow GLAMies from around the world and hearing their inspiring stories. One speaker was the first GLAM member in a country where being gay is illegal. Kevin Sneader, the global managing partner, shared how his own experience, growing up Jewish in Glasgow and witnessing the workplace struggles faced by his wife, shaped his value of inclusion. Not surprisingly, Kevin has made inclusion one of his top priorities for the firm.
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