Finding a support system virtually

What interested you about McKinsey?

Capri shorts, flip flops, hotpot and bad jokes are the first things that come to mind when I recall the moment that sparked my interest in the firm. I first met some McKinsey colleagues at a friend’s gathering, and I'm grateful for the experience because I met great people, listened to their stories and learned about the supportive community at McKinsey.

After having worked in tech for four years, I chose to join McKinsey to sharpen my business knowledge and expertise across industries while continuing to build products that excite customers. Most importantly, I enjoy working with McKinsey people, who are passionate about technology.

How was your onboarding experience?

Because of COVID, my onboarding was entirely virtual. I was introduced to different parts of the firm through well-produced videos and candid stories shared by leaders and colleagues. In breakout rooms, small groups tackled real cases as a team. What excited me most was the inclusive environment. I could see the firm was committed to including everyone’s ideas in discussions and tapping into each person’s strengths.

The highlight of the training was the comradery that evolved out of the sessions. I felt very connected with my peers and reconnected with them in the Ho Chi Minh office afterward. As we each embark on different projects, we check in with one another and support each other.

How was your first project?

With no previous consulting background, I was nervous joining my first digital project helping a client build a fintech product. At McKinsey, I’m challenged to take on a strategic role and work with colleagues to define business strategy, competitive advantage, and process. Leveraging these insights, I defined the product vision, roadmap and prioritized features for each release. I worked closely with the development team to build the product following a Scrum framework. We only had two months to build and launch the first product release so the learning curve was steep. I love it because I realize how strategy and product development work together to meet end users’ needs.

While I was worried at first to connect virtually with my team and the client, I was relieved to receive a warm welcome from everyone. Senior team members took extra time to help me understand how product development fits into the wider business strategy and coached me on top down presentation skills. The project was challenging at times, but team members checked in on one another to make sure everyone was well. The environment allowed me to bring my whole self—my team welcomed my new ideas and pushed me to take my thinking further.

How has the Southeast Asia office product owner community supported you?

Marie Guilhem
Marie Guilhem

I was happy to discover how active the Southeast Asia office product owner community is in supporting and sharing tips with new members. This community connected with me virtually and shared valuable insights on how to navigate the firm. They also offered tips on organizing backlogs to give more visibility to the team. I was fortunate to buddy up with another product owner who shared insights on how to work with different workstreams and manage client expectations. These insights have been my survival kit during the first few months.

My journey at McKinsey has just begun. Tackling some of our clients’ most difficult challenges can be overwhelming at times, but support from colleagues and team members who share my passion for technology give me the confidence to be my best self.

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More about Marie:

Marie is a product owner with McKinsey’s Digital practice in Ho Chi Minh City. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business information systems from University College London. Prior to McKinsey, Marie worked as a business analyst for Nestle in the UK and Cisco Systems in the US. She was also a product owner for NashTech and a marketplace product owner for Global Fashion Group in Vietnam.

Outside of work, Marie enjoys reading, being a total nerd for neuroscience and human behavior, Pilates and dark humor.

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