Equal at McKinsey is family

Profile photo of Meghna in Japan
Profile photo of Meghna in Japan

What does McKinsey Equal at McKinsey mean to you?

In one word, family. Equal at McKinsey has been a constant in my McKinsey journey from the beginning. I first reached out to the Equal at McKinsey leader in my local office as a new business analyst. I didn’t know what to expect from McKinsey in a country where, at the time, homosexuality could still be interpreted as illegal. I was surprised to find a vibrant and tight-knit community of other LGBTQ+ individuals and formal Allies who were committed to creating an inclusive environment for their colleagues and friends.

Since then, I’ve found friends, mentors and a sense of belonging in the Equal at McKinsey community. From giving me McKinsey 101-type guidance in my first few months here, to pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and lead discussions with office leadership or speak in front of a live audience, to being available when I wanted to talk about life, Equal at McKinsey has been my primary pillar of support in the firm.

Meghna with friends and cherry blossom trees
Meghna with friends and cherry blossom trees

Bringing my authentic self to work

McKinsey not only welcomes diversity, but provides opportunities to bring our authentic selves to work. This goes beyond the obvious ones of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation but  includes less obvious aspects like working styles.

I’m a tech geek with a slightly creative side who did not pursue a serious career in tech or the creative arts. Through my undergrad and grad school experiences, I realized while I loved studying psychology, I didn’t enjoy the career paths to which it led – the most common being clinical psychology and HR / organizational development work. In my university days, I tried a variety of things, including clinical work, pure research & analytics, learning & development, even marketing.

When I first heard about consulting, it seemed like a career where my broad range of experiences and love for doing something new every few months would be assets rather than hindrances. By speaking to post-PhD consultants, I learned the industry was fast-paced and akin to a real-world version of academic research, something I loved at the time.

When I started at McKinsey, I was convinced my tech and creative interests would be side hobbies and never contribute to my work. McKinsey promptly proved me wrong and demonstrated it values all kinds of skill sets & mindsets, ranging from super quantitative & analytical to more creative and empathetic.

In the past couple of years, I’ve found my niche in digital business building and digital transformation work, especially on the consumer-facing side. Whether I’m imagining technology-enabled customer journeys or creating financial models for new business ideas, these areas let me bring my full self to work. In the McKinsey Digital community, I’ve found other tech enthusiasts with whom I share obscure interests – namely Dungeons & Dragons – and a common language.

I like to think I’ve “come out” twice at McKinsey – once for my sexual orientation and again as a geek who takes tech and video games VERY seriously. Coming from an environment where being gay is wrong and video games are considered childish, I’m used to downplaying or hiding these aspects about myself. At McKinsey, it’s been a refreshing change to be able to talk about my personal life with my team. I’ve even had intense problem-solving sessions with senior partners about which Assassin’s Creed game I should play next.

Meghna in front of cherry blossoms
Meghna in front of cherry blossoms

More about me

I majored in psychology at Delhi University, took a gap year, then went to Columbia University in New York for a master’s in business psychology. During my gap year, I did research & analytics for a social sector startup and international business strategy & marketing for a telecom startup. While in grad school, I worked for the United Nations Development Programme for almost a year doing talent development and internal management consulting. Then I joined McKinsey in Gurgaon  as a business analyst. After two years, I relocated to Tokyo as part of the six-month Accelerator program. I stayed for nearly a year.

When I’m not working, I’m usually reading my favorite genres of fantasy & historical fiction, studying Japanese, experimenting in the kitchen, or playing on my Xbox. I’ve also been re-watching my childhood favorite anime shows such as Spirited Away and Bleach to practice my Japanese.

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