Taking the plunge

I didn’t study software engineering or computer science in school. I started my career in finance, but grew tired of the lifestyle, so I taught myself how to code. I love it–I feel like a nerdy artist when I take a concept and create my own solution.

After a few years working at startups, a friend told me about McKinsey’s tech work and I decided to apply. I didn’t know much about McKinsey but I was excited after hearing about the cool projects and challenges I could take on. Now, I’m using development tools like React, Nodejs, Express, Angluar, Jquery, and various cloud tools to solve tough, interesting problems.

Paulina Husband
Paulina Husband

Building a digital factory

My first project upon joining the firm was an digital transformation for a life insurance company, where we rapidly established digital labs, a digital factory, technology transformation squads and a digital talent effort.

We launched a simplified digital term life application in just four months, using Java on the backend and React on the front end. I worked using agile methodologies with a mix of McKinsey developers, and the project required a lot of pair programming, where we worked side-by-side.

Our efforts decreased time required to process a policy and place in force from more than 20 days to less than 15 minutes, a 95%+ reduction. We achieved a 70% reduction in questions with no impact on pricing or risk, five times faster payment processing, and full user transparency into the process. The team I worked with on this project was fantastic, and we did so much great work together and with the client.

Jumping in to new projects

I’m grateful to have formed strong relationships through the 4.5K+ person tech family at McKinsey. Everyone is supportive, and I’ve seen I can discover new opportunities by expressing my needs and interests.

For example, I was staffed on a series of front-development roles and wanted to start a project where I could develop another skillset. I spoke with Thomas Newton who is a senior knowledge expert and fellow software engineer and one of my mentors, and he brought me onto a large client engagement in the oil and gas industry. On this project, he gave me the confidence and support I needed to work on data functions in Azure for the first time. With the encouragement and confidence from my mentors, I’m not afraid to jump into any project and learn the tech stack as I go.

A strong community

I feel truly supported here. I originally joined the Denver team, and my husband and I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth from California visiting his family. My team was very flexible with my travel schedule, and was extremely helpful when I decided to transfer to the Southern California office.

My advice to McKinsey recruits is to be yourself. Our teams thrive and succeed because of individuality. Be vocal about your career aspirations, and you’ll be able to carve out your own path at McKinsey.

Find a job like Paulina's

About Paulina

Paulina is a software engineer based in Southern California. She has a bachelor’s in communication and media studies from University of California, Davis. Prior to joining McKinsey, Paulina worked in the mortgage industry and was a full stack developer at Laso Concepts and Applied Automated Solutions.

For more information on McKinsey's software enginerring career paths, visit mckinsey.com/TechCareers


Never miss another post

Receive new stories once a week directly in your inbox