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Meet our Next Generation Women Leaders: Vera

Read more about: Diversity | Community | Supply Chain

– I participated in the Next Generation Women Leaders event last year while studying for my master’s. It was great to talk to such variety of people working at McKinsey. Every story was different yet they shared a common theme: you can make your own McKinsey. If you are a professional violinist and want to develop an e–commerce strategy for a retailer, you can. If you are a mother and want to travel less, you can. If you want to take a two–month vacation between projects, you can. This ability to shape your work life to your personal situation attracted me and led me to apply.

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It’s this flexibility that has made my McKinsey experience so positive. I get a lot of choice in the engagements on which I work. If I want to travel more and work abroad, the staffing team will try to find a project to enable that. If I need to stay closer to home, they will also help me to find an engagement near my hometown. For example, last summer I actively looked for an engagement in France to test my language proficiency. Now, I feel confident in my working French. I also have a say regarding topics on which I want to work. For example, after I had completed a few warehouse diagnostics, I looked for an engagement in supply planning. I opted to follow team members I enjoy working with to a new engagement, as well. Collectively, this firm provides amazing opportunities for me to pursue my interests.

Second, as long as I get my work done, I am largely free to manage my time. We do not have anything like face time at McKinsey. At the beginning of every engagement, we have an internal team kick–off to discuss working norms. This conversation helps us understand each other’s working preferences, personal commitments (evening classes, gym time, etc.) so we can set a cadence that works well for everyone and help each other achieve our goals.

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This autonomy enables me to pursue my personal interests within McKinsey, too. For example, last year I planned a holiday party for my Operational Excellence Program colleagues. This year, I’m supporting NGWL as part of the marketing and communications team. We developed the flyers and posters you’ve seen on social media and elsewhere. We’re deciding on the prizes for referral contests and creating the timeline for promoting this opportunity. Even though I am helping on the marketing side, I don’t have a background in marketing. So, this has been a great learning opportunity and very exciting.

I hope you will apply to join us for NGWL. When we meet, you can ask me anything you want about life at McKinsey and especially any questions you have on becoming an operations specialist. I look forward to seeing you there!

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