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Getting support to find balance

Flexible programs allow Sidney to work on exciting projects and live a full life.

This post features Sidney, a business analyst in our Melbourne location. She came to McKinsey with a background in law. If you have a similar background and are interested in exploring a new challenge, join us for a virtual Women in Law event on Dec. 3. Apply online by Dec. 1.

After studying for more than five years for an economics/law degree, I spent 18 months as a law graduate at a big commercial firm. I soon realised it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t passionate enough about the work I was doing to make the intense hours worthwhile, and it made me feel burned out. I was working on some of Australia’s biggest commercial transactions, but I often found myself wondering about the more strategic purpose of my work.

I followed my curiosity to find out more about the choices and thinking behind these transactions, and decided to make the switch to management consulting. After some research, I chose McKinsey as it stood out as a truly globally leading firm that did interesting and meaningful work in areas that interested me – consumer and retail.

I threw myself into life at McKinsey. With every new client project, I met so many inspiring people to learn from and valuable skills to develop. I learned more about myself in two years at McKinsey than I ever had before. I’d found my passion – thinking about interesting and complex problems, whilst being on a turbocharged development trajectory.  

Time to recharge

The most valuable support I receive at McKinsey is the flexibility to look after my health and achieve balance. The people and programs at McKinsey, like part-time work options, make the firm a remarkable place to live a full life and do exciting work. Earlier this year, I started feeling fatigued from client work. I was really nervous to admit it, worrying what my colleagues might think or if I’d lose out on exciting opportunities because my managers might doubt my ability to handle tough projects.

But, when I did voice my concerns, questions and needs the reactions of overwhelming support took me by surprise. Not only were my managers and team members supportive, but colleagues from my office, training programs, and HR all called to check in with me and ask how they could help. The firm was quick to devise a plan to help me get the mental breathing space I needed while allowing me to work on client engagements about which I’m passionate.

Currently, I’m working four days a week on an exciting project shaping a major retail client’s strategy. I love the topic and the space I have for things outside of work that energise me, like spending time with my family and friends or getting outdoors to the beach. McKinsey’s commitment to creating an environment for exceptional people to be at their best is second to none. 

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About Sidney

Sidney graduated with a bachelor of economics/bachelor of laws degree from the University of Queensland in 2016. Prior to McKinsey, she worked as a lawyer in mergers, acquisitions and capital markets. Now Sidney is a business analyst in Melbourne. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, dancing, music, and exploring her new hometown of Melbourne.