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Challenge accepted

Berlin-based product manager Kristina describes the enriching, digital-transformation work that brought her to McKinsey.

When I considered McKinsey, friends questioned why I’d want to leave my cool and cosy product job at a growing company in the center of Berlin to become a consultant, which sounded more stressful to them. I replied, “I don’t want cosy and easy. I want challenge! I want to continue growing and developing.”

This might surprise you, but after working in fast-growing start-ups for almost four years, I reached the crest of my learning curve. Seeking new experiences in a product tech environment, I decided to switch gears into consulting. I chose McKinsey so I could work on strategic decisions with leaders of organizations, together with the best teams. McKinsey gave me the best opportunity to see as many digital products as possible in a given time.

At McKinsey progress is continuous. Someone – anyone - has an idea to improve something all the time. I gather my team and mentors and come up with a plan to make it happen. I was already used to this in my former roles, but I wanted to get a better understanding of how it worked at a higher strategic level. McKinsey gives me this.

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In my first six months at the firm, I worked on three digital products in different industries and countries. It is difficult to dive into a new context in a short amount of time, and it’s impressive how much you can improve products, people, and yourself in that short time span. When we help clients build their digital businesses, we support them with both expertise and coaching. It is hugely satisfying to see myself, my teammates, and our clients to improve. McKinsey provides the greatest playground to learn and grow.

I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people. I expected the same from McKinsey and I’ve not been disappointed. The working style is different in consulting than it was in start-ups. I’ve developed a different perspective on how to approach problems, and I have a great support system to teach and guide me.

The other day, I had dinner with the friends who were hesitant about me switching to this job. Two friends hugged me saying, “we’re so glad you’ve remained your bubbly self and that you’re enjoying what you’re doing.”

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About Kristina
Kristina is a product manager based out of McKinsey’s Berlin office. She holds a bachelor’s in management from Sabanci University and a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Cologne. Prior to joining McKinsey, Kristina was a product owner at startups Department47, Home24 and FlixBus.

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