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McKinsey Q&A: Sophia

Sophia, a member of our business and economics research team in Dusseldorf, is in between her bachelor’s and master’s studies.

Sophia, a member of our business and economics research team in Dusseldorf, is in between her bachelor’s and master’s studies. She started the program last August and has already developed ideas around how the market for electric engines will develop by 2025 and how the demographic shift will impact industry structures and day-to-day corporate life.

Interviewer: What led you to McKinsey?

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Sophia: I studied economics and international relations at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, then spent a year volunteering in Mexico. I wanted to keep working in economics and business without losing any links to the free economy. The research role at McKinsey seemed like the perfect fit. I was thrilled to be accepted. I’ll spend one year with the firm, then start studying towards my master’s in economics.

Interviewer: What actually happens in McKinsey’s research department?

Sophia: My team is made up of Knowledge Professionals with a range of backgrounds. Most of my colleagues studied economics or business management, and there are also psychologists, IT specialists, and political scientists. My day-to-day work involves responding to requests for information from consultants around the world. Often these queries relate to developments in specific markets, but they can also involve economic forecasts and questions about individual German companies. I have an extremely broad range of German and international sources from external providers at my disposal, alongside the wealth of information and experts at McKinsey. Consulting teams ask more general questions on issues currently affecting German industry – such as the effects of the demographic shift or digitalization. My research findings and analyses contribute to the success of our consultant teams in their client work.

Interviewer: What other topics have you worked on?

Sophia: each participant is encouraged to work in multiple areas. In addition to economics, I spent a little time working with the Automotive and Assembly research team in Munich. Typical questions in this area relate to the development of sales figures for specific makes of car, for example, or how many electric engines will be produced in the next few years. I supported a longer-term project where I explored recent increases in rates of in-house production at mechanical engineering firms in Europe. This experience was incredibly useful and exciting for me. Not only did I get to know new colleagues, I also discovered new subjects and ways of working.

Interviewer: What has been the best part of joining McK?

Sofia: Being part of a team. At McK, we emphasize solidarity among colleagues. This is demonstrated through many team events, such as “Professional Day.” At this event, my department spent an entire day discussing innovative trends and services, as well as potential improvements in the way our team works together. One aspect of teamwork that stood out to me is the value awarded to each individual’s voice.

My time at McKinsey has already left an indelible mark. Everything I’ve learned here will be useful to me in the future, especially ways to organize work, tricks for using Microsoft Office, and knowledge about the economy and German companies.