Back to Careers Blog

McKinsey Q&A: Asuka


– Meet Asuka, an intern with our Risk practice based in New York. She is an MBA at NYU Stern School of Business, a classical pianist and a childhood TV star from China. Here she shares a bit about her interview and on-boarding experience and tips for others considering applying to McKinsey.

Interviewer: Why did you decide to summer with McKinsey?

Asuka: I was particularly impressed by the people I met during the recruiting season, starting with my campus ambassador, Sarah. She helped me navigate the firm and the recruiting process. As I went through the interviews, I knew I would enjoy working with the people at McKinsey, whose diverse experiences fascinated me. I wanted to learn from them – especially about communication, leadership and generating impact.

Interviewer: Tell us about your experience at Embark, the new hire orientation program.

Asuka: The best part was getting to know my fabulous peers and the faculty members. We’re keeping in touch and sharing our summer experiences, which has been really helpful. I also found the role plays at Embark to be great practice for what I’m experiencing with my clients. The scenes felt so real, I’m still convinced some of my colleagues were professional actors.

Interviewer: What advice would you share with others considering a career at McKinsey?

Asuka: Talk to people – as many as you can. You can best get a feel for what life is like here by speaking with people from different backgrounds and specializations. If you feel comfortable chatting with the people, going through the events and interviews, then McKinsey is the right place for you.

Interviewer: What is one thing you've done that surprises people?

Asuka: Both of my parents are big movie fans, so they were elated when I was chosen – sort of off the street – to host a brand new children’s TV show when I was five years old. I trained for two years, and the show lasted for seven. It was quite successful with children in northern China, and opened the door for me to other roles in film and theatre. The experience was precious, but I decided to return to normal life when I started junior high school. Looking back, I learned how to express myself and communicate to the greater audience during those years.

Interviewer: What keeps you busy in your free time?

Asuka: I love classical music and got serious about playing the piano during high school. It is a great channel for me to express my feelings in creative ways and share my thoughts with the audience. I am participating in a national piano competition in China this August. It’s right after my summer internship finishes so practicing keeps me very busy on the weekends. If anyone has any ideas on how to combine my workstream into my Chopin etude, I’m all ears…