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Autonomy in Australia

Nathan, a business analyst in Perth, describes the amount of independence, exposure and support he’s enjoying at McKinsey.

Nathan joined McKinsey as a business analyst in our Perth office after completing his bachelor of law and commerce degree at the University of Western Australia. As we near the upcoming Mar 5th application deadline for students at his alma matter, we sat down with Nathan to hear his thoughts on why others should apply to join our community.

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Interviewer: What brought you to McKinsey? What keeps you here?

Nathan: Three main things:

  1. The exposure and responsibility I’ve received from the start. The type of work I’m doing now as a business analyst is something that I envisioned myself doing 20 years from now after I’d built a lot of experience. McKinsey has enabled me to think and act like an executive from day one. No other firm provides that level of responsibility and exposure.
  2. The continual opportunities for learning and development. Compared to my internships in investment banking and law, my role at McKinsey challenges me much more – and that’s a very good thing. I’m learning soft skills I’ll use throughout my career – how to influence people, communicate effectively, etc. I receive feedback from my teammates every day and can see myself growing faster than ever.
  3. The infinite options I have within the firm and beyond if I ever decide to leave. I have so many options and so much say in the type of work I do. I’ve expressed my preferences for the engagements I’ve wanted to do and been staffed on those teams. I’ve said ’I would rather not work in that industry’ and that’s accepted and respected at McKinsey. Since it’s a large firm we have scale and there are always options to find something that sparks my interest and imagination.

Interviewer: What about working at McKinsey has surprised you the most?

Nathan: I’m having twice as much fun as I thought I would. I really enjoy being around such incredibly diverse and accomplished people. I appreciate the strong emphasis my colleagues place on having fun and making McKinsey the best place to work. And, I love the independence I have as I work with my team to tackle large problems.

Interviewer: How do you find the balance you need?

Nathan: As cliché as it sounds, health is really important to me. If I eat well, I feel better about myself and have more energy. Also, I don’t let anything come between me and exercising. I work out at least four times a week. During the week, I usually take an hour to myself every day to relax and reflect. I also keep my weekends free. I switch off from Friday late afternoon to Monday morning so I am fully present to spend time with my friends, family and girlfriend.

Interviewer: What’s your favourite app?

Nathan: I’m usually glued to my phone and I feel uneasy when it isn’t within vibrating distance, so I have a lot of favourite apps. Snapchat is probably my ultimate. It’s the best way to stay in touch with friends without exchanging huge messages. It’s been really helpful and fun when I travel.

Interviewer: What’s your best piece of advice for someone considering applying to McKinsey?

Nathan: Make the interview fun. Challenge your interviewers’ thinking at times, come up with creative solutions and enjoy it. If you treat it like an exam, it will be one and McKinsey colleagues will never see who you really are.