Taking a chance on fate

Susan at Yankee stadium
Susan at Yankee stadium

I joined McKinsey by chance.  I came across an advertisement and the words “engineer” and “lasting impact” struck me. I had little understanding of what management consultants did, and even less knowledge of the Operations practice. I decided to allow fate to take its course and applied. When I joined McKinsey, I expected to work on clients’ most difficult challenges. I never expected to have such a wonderful team to learn from and help me develop along the way.

My Ops mentors

In the Operations practice, I have a group of extraordinary mentors who are passionate about everything from designing a capital governance process to the size of material coming from a mill.  These individuals are the best in their fields, and they take time to help and coach me to so I can bring my best self to clients.  My colleagues often review my work in the evenings and return it to me the following morning with specific feedback.  Recently, my mentor acted as a sounding board, allowing me to test the most important messages and coaching me on how to effectively communicate these to clients.  More important than all the Excel and technical things I have learned (which is a lot!), my mentors have shown me it is ok to bring my whole self to work.  It doesn’t matter if I am meeting the CEO or an underground machine operator, I have the confidence to make a meaningful contribution to a client discussion.

One of my favorite phrases at McKinsey is that an “inspiring leader means that a person has one or two traits or behaviours you admire and strive to obtain.”  Working at McKinsey, I have identified the type of leader, mentor and friend I strive to be.

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