Height, vision and diversity

Read more about: Innovation | Digital | Emerging markets

Liwei is an associate with Digital McKinsey in Beijing. Here, she describes how she’s learning and exploring with the support of her colleagues. To hear more about opportunities in digital strategy, e-commerce, cloud, big data and analytics, IT, IoT, machine learning, cyber security, and more, apply by 13th May 2018 to attend our Digital McKinsey Workshop in Shanghai on 19th May 2018.

Last summer, I joined Digital McKinsey in Beijing, mainly to work on some of the best projects in tech, helping organizations face digital transformations. This is my first job post-Wharton MBA, and, as my friends put it, my third “momentous gear switch.”

Liwei inline
Liwei inline

The first “gear switch” happened when I became a product manager at Microsoft after earning a liberal arts degree in French modern literature. The second occurred when I went to Wharton, where I discussed finance and management all day and researched how to sell small ads online more successfully. The third “gear switch” brought me to consulting and changed my role from a service purchaser to a service provider.

Is it easy to be a service provider? No. Is it fun? Absolutely. After half a year in this role, my life has undoubtedly been enriched. It’s all about height, vision and diversity.

Height. As a leader in the consulting industry, McKinsey takes projects that are particularly important and/or tricky for its clients. Helping clients solve their challenges is somewhat like mountain climbing; it requires courage, attentiveness, and competency at handling unexpected situations. So far, I’ve helped a leading multinational packaged goods company explore China strategy and partnership building. I’ve helped a global financial services player assess its Asia opportunities. I’ve helped a leading auto player to redefine its product and distribution network. When I help come up with an effective proposal and look back at the journey, I often find myself more mature, and my horizons broadened.

Vision. I’ve heard it said that where you are determines what you think. In the past, when my job was to deal with products, I focused on resource acquisition and progress monitoring, so I dug deep for insights of the internal situation, but lacked external perspectives. Now, as a consultant, I often provide industry data, analyses, and research to guide my clients’ decisions. There are also many senior leaders at McKinsey who bring years of in–depth experience in various industries, functions, and geographies; they add a lot of strength to our perspectives. When I discuss issues with our clients, I often develop new perspectives, inspirations or solutions. This exposure has broadened my vision significantly.

Diversity. I might work in one city for a few months on retail strategy, then city B the next month to study consumer trends in the auto industry. On each project, I get to explore different markets, tackle different challenges and think like different customers. I work side–by–side with different clients and colleagues, encountering many people who challenge me and many who are like–minded.

After joining McKinsey, I have experienced amazing personal growth. I have learned a lot, and there are many things yet to discover. For me, the most important thing is, within this excellent organization and with this group of the best colleagues, I can explore different paths of development, discuss the essence of business, and roll up my sleeves to make things happen.

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