McKinsey Digital is where I belong

I was raised in a small town in India, and from early on, my parents emphasized the importance of education and being courageous, and that has driven me to take chances in my career. I have an engineering degree, and prior to McKinsey, I worked at Walmart Labs and IBM Software Labs in India, so I have experienced life and work at a tech giant.

Then about six years ago, looking for a change, I moved to Nigeria to join an e-commerce startup, and build technology for their ventures across the continent. The startup was founded by former McKinsey consultants, and I was impressed by how they worked and approached projects, and so when I decided I wanted to work on a larger scale across geographies, McKinsey was an obvious choice for me. During my career, I had worked in North America, Africa, and Asia, so after earning my MBA, I joined McKinsey Digital in the Middle East, a region I hadn’t done much work in.

As an experienced hire and have previously worked with tech giants and start-ups, the lengths at which McKinsey as a firm would go to make its employees grow, evolve, feel safe and nurtured, is a unique experience.


It’s been just under two years since I joined the firm, and I am still so excited to work alongside the best minds solving the most complex problems across the globe with technology.

My role at the firm

My title is Digital Specialist, and I am a product owner. So far, I have worked mostly with banking clients.

I am focused heavily on product strategy and how the product should evolve to cater to customer needs and requirements. I also manage the product development side, working with the development team on product design. I work with clients to brainstorm their requirements from a business perspective, and I translate those requirements into technical requirements for the development, testing, and implementation teams. Then we develop the minimum viable product (MVP) in about three months and help the clients launch. We also help the clients onboard the solution, train employees, and ensure they have the right talent to take over management of the solution.

Stepping outside my comfort zone

Prior to McKinsey, I did a great deal of work in e-commerce, so banking was new to me. Initially, I was a little hesitant to dive into an industry I knew nothing about. However, I am glad I took the leap. This region has experienced a wave of digital transformation in banking, and the work we do can have a big impact on our clients and the people they serve.

The work is meaningful to me because we are a part of a huge change in how people bank.

We’re developing and integrating cutting-edge technology into these banking institutions; however, the end users may have never banked online or even be Internet savvy. They are still comfortable walking into a branch. At every step, we’re trying to do something advanced in terms of technology, but also keeping in mind that it must be simplistic and intuitive enough for any customer to navigate.

Support through a rough patch

When I first joined, I was thrilled and grateful to participate in challenging, impactful client studies. Still, new joiners experience a steep learning curve, and the work is incredibly fast paced.

One of the many things I admire about McKinsey is how the firm genuinely wants us to succeed and flourish. I remember my first client study, which was a complex, fully remote project. At times, I felt lost and worried I wouldn’t be able to catch up. When I expressed my concerns to my team, I was overwhelmed with support from all directions.

The experience was extremely significant to me. Those were uncertain times during peak pandemic when people had their own battles to fight. I was new to the firm, still in the process of establishing myself, and it was remarkable how supportive the community was. It convinced me that McKinsey is the right place for me, and I look forward to continuing my journey within the firm. This is where I belong!

More about me

Padma and her dog at the beach during sunset
Padma and her dog at the beach during sunset

I am passionate about rescuing animals, and outside of work, I volunteer with some of the rescue organizations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I live with 3 rescue dogs whom I adopted here in the UAE. They take up most of my time outside work. Though they have been through some of the traumatizing time in their lives before they were rescued, they have not only changed my life for good but have also changed my outlook towards life. I enjoy our walks, our time together in the dog parks, drives to the beach, and thanks to them I get to spend time with umpteen other dogs in the dog parks :)

I started to paint last year, and it quickly turned into one of my hobbies. I also love spending time with my nephews and nieces, fully engaging in activities they enjoy, such as building Legos and playing outside.

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