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A career in reverse

Mark, an associate partner in McKinsey Digital Labs, describes how here at McKinsey he can be the adviser he wants to be.

Read more about: Innovation | Digital

In many ways I did my career in reverse. I started coding websites in college, then joined several marketing agencies. I led the global brand marketing team at adidas, and headed up marketing for the London 2012 Summer Games – a high point since they were in my home town.

When I was ready for a new challenge, I entered the startup world, leading marketing for the game Candy Crush, then took Chief Marketing Officer roles at Beats Music and HotelTonight. After a few years in the startup scene, I was at a crossroads. Did I want to go back to corporate life or even to an agency? Did I want to work for another startup? The answer was I wanted aspects of all three: to make a significant difference; to be part of a small, agile team; and to be a holistic partner, bringing the best solutions to my clients. For me, McKinsey was the only place where I could do all three.

Mark P inline

At McKinsey Digital Labs, I advise clients on a much broader range of topics than just product, media or creative; instead, I focus on building business success and clients’ capabilities overall. For example, at one recent client, my team started out assisting with a merger. The high-level corporate strategy evolved to identifying specific market opportunities and product development needs. To address them, we started physical “tear downs” of products to understand and quantify how they could be better constructed and manufactured. We simultaneously conducted extensive user research to understand customers’ needs and desires before we designed and modelled a new range of products. What started as one question wound up turning into several more that spanned multiple functions; I got to be at my client’s side through the whole process. I would never have had such a broad and deep opportunity anywhere else.

I’m able to support my clients through such a variety of experiences because I’m surrounded by exceptional, mentally agile and curious people at McKinsey. Most of my team is made up of experienced hires; we come from startups, tech companies, agencies, and many other backgrounds. We are all multidisciplinary. Our designers think like strategists, and vice versa, and that’s what makes our team nimble, innovative, and effective.

More about Mark

Mark’s broad digital experience includes all aspects of marketing and experience design especially around mobile and e-commerce, in sectors including entertainment, telecom, retail, automotive, commercial aviation, and start-ups. Today, Mark is an associate partner in San Francisco, and is helping grow our Digital Marketing Operations & Technology team globally.

At McKinsey, some of Mark’s recent engagements include advising an entertainment client on the design and development of a multichannel, digital, direct-to-consumer subscription platform and helping a major telco with the development and launch of an innovative telesales platform.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Mark was the Chief Marketing Officer at Beats Music and HotelTonight and a marketing leader at King Digital (for Candy Crush). During more than eight years at adidas, he delivered high-impact sales growth in digital and brand marketing across retail, fashion, and online at global, regional, and local levels.

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