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Entering the business world while keeping my technical development going

As a product manager for Build—a community of designers and technologists within McKinsey Digital—Tanya learns continuously and is never bored.

After three years at a tech company, I was bored working on the same solution every day. I decided it was time to pursue my passion for business and began exploring opportunities. I considered continuing as a purchasing product manager for a high-growth tech company when a McKinsey Digital recruiter reached out and suggested my profile might be well-suited for a product manager role. I was surprised and excited to learn the firm had opportunities for designers and product managers to serve clients.

Continuous learning

Entering the business world while keeping my technical development going
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McKinsey is a great place for people who seek constant learning, are curious, and enjoy pushing beyond their limits to solve problems. I’ve worked on digital strategy and Agile delivery projects, and I’ve served companies in telecom and consumer sectors. I am excited by the learning curve when I try something new. I like the rush that comes with embarking on a new project in an area I’ve not worked in before. I enjoy networking with experts around the globe and problem-solving with team members, mentors and clients to solve some of the toughest business issues. More importantly, I have the freedom to choose projects in industries and sectors that excite me.

A few reflections:

  • McKinsey turbocharged my learning. I gained more business skills than I ever imagined on my first strategy project serving a hi-tech client to conduct a cost diagnosis. I was nervous, knowing that business skills like top-down communications and breaking down problems were areas I needed to develop. A mentor spent time coaching me and trained me on the consulting methodology. He supported me by allowing me the space to try to solve some of the problems on my own, and then acted as a sounding board for me to test my work. After one month on the project, I built a financial model, led a workstream and confidently presented in front of the client.
  • McKinsey supports you to exceed your own expectations. I’ve met many friends and formed lifelong relationships with team members and clients. Connections are easy because my colleagues and I share goals and values. We work hard to make distinctive and lasting impact for our clients; we are persistent when facing difficult situations; and we uphold rigorous professional standards. Mentors and colleagues give me the confidence to show my expertise regardless of whether I’m presenting to the team or the client CEO.
  • You can live a full life at McKinsey. The hours and pace here are definitely different from my previous job. At the beginning, I needed to adjust my working style to suit some tight timelines. However, flexible programs like Take Time, which allows up to ten additional weeks of unpaid leave a year and the firm’s general respect for every individual’s working preferences allow me to find balance. I love having the explicit support to allocate time for things that matter to me like continuing my education. Unlike some organizations that may require you to work on weekends, McKinsey is respectful of my personal time and weekends are largely off-limits. I take advantage of this to pursue a part-time MBA. Gathering with classmates for study groups and exchanging knowledge and ideas in a classroom setting gives me energy and helps me live a full life.

More about Tanya

Tanya is a product manager with McKinsey’s Digital practice in the Beijing office. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wuhan University, and is currently pursuing a joint executive MBA with Peking University and University College London in the UK. Prior to McKinsey, Tanya was a senior product manager in the international e-commerce business units of Alibaba.

Outside of work, Tanya enjoys traveling, financial investments, art, and making new friends, especially with those from different backgrounds.

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