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McKinsey Q&A: Bill

– Meet Bill, an associate principal in our Atlanta office. He joined McKinsey after working in the commercial power sector and U.S. Navy for more than 15 years and now focuses on operations and risk management for energy clients.

Interviewer: Tell us about your path to McKinsey.

Bill: I didn’t know what McKinsey was four years ago. A friend of mine from college urged me to apply. It took much more convincing than it should have since I had a position with another company I really enjoyed. The path ahead didn’t excite me though; it would take me several years and position changes to have the influence I so craved. Now that I’ve been with McKinsey for more than three years, I know the risk I perceived in applying was ill-founded.

Interviewer: How has your prior experience helped you succeed at McKinsey?

Bill: I leveraged my functional and sector experience from day one with my first clients. I had a few initial hiccups caused by a couple of behaviors I brought with me from my past life. The McKinsey leaders with whom I worked were extremely patient and helpful; they provided fantastic feedback on how I could improve and they saw a lot more in me than I saw (and sometimes still see) in myself. My prior experience helped me to build a network at the firm. The friend who recruited me introduced me to many colleagues working in the space and helped me get involved quickly.

Interviewer: What has been your most rewarding engagement at the firm so far?

Bill: That’s really hard to answer – I’ve been part of so many fantastic projects. If I must choose, it would be a recent opportunity to support a mega-project recovery in Europe. We helped an energy client that was behind schedule and over budget on a facility upgrade and facing significant regulatory pressure for poor operational performance. For me, it was a “McKinsey-only” experience; I never would have worked on something this large and had so much impact in my previous roles.

Interviewer: What advice would you give to others considering McKinsey?

Bill: 1) You bring a lot to the table on day one at McKinsey, and you’ll start learning immediately. 2) If you have an entourage coming with you (significant other, kids, dog, mortgage, etc.), you will be able to make it work well and have a full life here. 3) You will be surrounded with people who want you to succeed, and will work really hard to help you.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of work?

Bill: I love leading a small group for our church, mountain biking with my son, teaching my daughter to surf, and cooking with my wife. As you can probably tell, I’m most passionate about my family. McKinsey has completely helped me to focus on that passion.

Learn more about Bill’s typical day.