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Exploring the world through McKinsey

Operations expert, Thomas, describes the global adventures that led him to Jakarta.

Twenty client engagements in 13 countries across four continents and 16 industries; 670 flights and 1300 nights in hotels, four official McKinsey offices, four job titles, and more than 100 recruiting interviews conducted…and still numbers barely describe my approximately six years at McKinsey.

Thomas H inline
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I joined the firm in 2011 as a business analyst in the United States, straight after university. I initially intended to apply as a generalist consultant, but during my recruiting process, I met some consultants in the Operations practice. Their experiences excited me. One of them had optimized operations on a cruise ship while another worked with a client to build a highway at night. These roles sounded so much more exciting than office-based work. Therefore, I joined McKinsey’s Operations Excellence Program in the Chicago office. My experience did not fall short of my expectations; I worked in more than eight states through the Midwest and South Eastern parts of the country and served clients in industries ranging from aerospace manufacturing to financial market trading, spirit bottling and steel component procurement.

After 15 months in the U.S., I needed to return to France to fulfill the two-year home country requirement from my Fulbright scholarship. McKinsey helped me transfer to the Lyon office as part of the Operations Excellence Program. Doing so, I fully experienced the diversity of the firm, working with colleagues from all over Europe. I vividly remember a Monday when, after six months in the cold winter of Nottingham and Birmingham, I boarded a jet to Morocco, then Mauritania to start a four-month program in the Sahara desert. What a change temperatures up to 51°C were.

I wasn’t done exploring. An engagement manager I previously worked with asked me if I would be interested in a project in Malaysia. I had always wanted to go to Asia, so I agreed. I liked it so much, I eventually transferred to McKinsey’s Singapore office and then to Indonesia.

Transferring to Southeast Asia brought a new set of challenges. Some of them I expected – a different set of industries, longer travel, new languages and cultures. Some of them surprised me – being unable to use my laptop trackpad because of moisture, fighting my way through a durian-eating challenge with clients on the road in Malaysia, and drinking oyster-soju with colleagues in South Korea. The past three-and-a-half years in the region have been extremely rewarding, providing me with opportunities to work with extremely welcoming clients and entrepreneurial colleagues; experience the energy of a region in full transformation; and, travel to pristine diving sites. I’ve made many friends and even met my future wife.

McKinsey truly had a lot in store for me, and who knows what will come next. Six years with McKinsey have not been nearly long enough for me to experience all the firm has to offer. I’m thankful I’m part of this vibrant community and can’t wait to see where this journey leads.

Explore opportunities to start your life-long journey of exploration as an Operations and Implementation consultant in Jakarta, like Thomas.