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Ride the McKinsey roller coaster with Matej

Matej wanted to have tangible results from his work. His technical translator role at McKinsey gives him the opportunity to make a difference every day.

“Imagine you could change your job every three months to try something new and unexpected” was perhaps the best description of consultant’s life I’ve heard. During my PhD, I realized that my side projects such as teaching high-school students in Slovakia or helping my mum with her poverty reduction projects made me happier than taking apart my research question in Neuroscience. I wanted to try new things and see the impact of my work right away.

Since I have always been passionate about technology, I applied to McKinsey and joined as a junior associate in 2015. In my very first project we were asked to create a digital app to help people manage their finances better. I was suddenly back in my research days, going through articles and discussing human psychology with experts. But this time, to my pleasure, with a practical touch and an end goal. About 9 weeks later, after working hard on the project, the digital app was deployed and covered across the media in the UK. I left for Christmas holidays happy but also very impressed by how fast this experience was and moreover, how quickly I could move on to other projects.

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I came back and “changed my job” to another project or “study” in McKinsey-speak. This time, we were trying to find an answer to a CEO’s question as to how his bank could stay relevant in the 21st century, what services, and more importantly across what channels these services should be offered. Six weeks later, I was helping find new ways to help diabetic patients adhere to their treatments. As I write this paragraph, I am working alongside data scientists to develop machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to target treatments for patients better.

My experience is not exceptional. When I walk the corridors of the London office, I pass people who helped create a strategy for refugees from Syria, who work alongside ministers to develop educational strategies or who create new approaches to improve cold-chain logistics for the delivery of vaccines in poor rural regions. As I look back to my switch from my PhD to consulting, my working hours are less flexible than they used to be but I am never bored and the outcome of my work has tangible results.

Each study is “a new job” with new intellectual challenges and puzzles to solve. Work can be a rollercoaster but at the end of each ride, I get out and feel that I have made the world a slightly better place.

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About Matej

Matej is a translator and engagement manager in McKinsey’s London office. While working on his PhD at UCL and following his passion to improve education, he, together with his friends started a summer school for high school students (DISCOVER) who were interested in learning about university courses they would like to pursue. He joined McKinsey as a junior associate in September 2015 and is currently working primarily on digital and machine learning projects.

For more information on McKinsey's tech career paths, visit