Swapping the C-suite for a career in consulting

I spent 26 years of the last 28 years of my career as a banker. I started in an entry-level role at Citibank in Poland and worked my way up to become a deputy CEO of that bank. Then one day, I decided that, after nearly two decades, it was time for a change. The next thing I knew, I found myself on a plane heading to Malaysia to take up a position as the head of consumer banking at the Standard Chartered Bank. This opened my eyes not only to a new job, a new bank, a new market, or even a new home, but a whole new way of seeing the world—in banking and beyond. And it inspired an enduring appetite for change that has never left me.

After several satisfying years in Malaysia, I again grew hungry for change and moved to Singapore to serve as COO of DBS Digital Bank. During my time there, I set up a digital bank from scratch in India (which was eventually named the Best Digital Bank in the World) and fell in love with digital banking. From there, my journey led me to New York where I took up a position as the head of technology and agile transformation at JPMorgan Chase.

Then, in 2020, I decided it was time for a real change. Sure, I had worked in four banks on three continents, but I had always remained in the banking sector. This time, I was determined to try my hand at consulting. I’ve never looked back.

Sonia Wedrychowicz
Sonia Wedrychowicz

Fulfilling work on and off the clock

At McKinsey in Dubai, I feel I’ve finally found a place that satisfies my appetite for change. The work is fast-paced, and we’ve tackled transformation projects that could take years in a matter of months—sometimes even weeks! I do everything from helping financial players to transform through the use of new technologies to building businesses from the ground up through LEAP by McKinsey projects.

I can choose my projects, clients, and teams while continuing to pursue my interests in digital banking and transformation. What more could you ask for?

As a firm, McKinsey is non-hierarchal and results-driven. It fosters an environment where I can not only grow, but I can help others grow. We have a culture that ensures feedback flows not only from the top down but also from the bottom up.

Sonia Wedrychowicz
Sonia Wedrychowicz

McKinsey has afforded me opportunities to not only enjoy meaningful client work, but also given me the space to pursue pro-bono work and share my experience along the way—including through this blog post.

On a typical day, I might work on a study with a banking player looking to expand family banking services and better facilitate daily customer journeys. In the afternoon, I might find myself sharing insights on fintechs with entrepreneurs and executives. And at night, I could be mentoring young female entrepreneurs through the Dubai International Financial District’s AccelerateHer program.

Sonia Wedrychowicz
Sonia Wedrychowicz

More about me

The biggest achievement in my life is my family. Outside of work, I spend as much time as I can with my 18-year-old daughter, who will leave for college soon, and my son, who recently graduated and is now working at a bank in Dubai (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree). We love spending time together—go-karting, bowling, dining, watching movies—as long as we’re together. We also love to travel and I’m planning to visit 150 countries (almost 80 down, 80 to go).

I swim every day and, a few years ago, I picked up kickboxing. I must be one of the oldest people to get a black belt in American kickboxing. I also love reading detective stories, especially by Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle; I suppose I find a certain thrill in trying to keep up.

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