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An engineer’s desert and arctic adventure

From the desert to arctic, petroleum engineer turned consultant William describes his exhilarating experiences with McKinsey's Oil & Gas practice.

I like working in the Oil & Gas industry because I can make a real difference every day. Whether it is testing exploration wells in the desert or problem solving why a well shut down unexpectedly, there are always new challenges to tackle. That is what keeps me excited to come to work. I also like the people in this industry; they tend to be interesting. No one joins to sit at home.

Why McKinsey?

I was attracted to McKinsey's Oil & Gas practice, because I could move out of a purely technical role in geoscience and broaden my skills. I was initially considering an MBA, but joining McKinsey allowed me to flex my existing skills while learning new things.

Full support

My experience has been what I expected, though faster and more intense at times. The huge store of knowledge my colleagues have about the industry continually amazes me. Someone, somewhere in the firm has an educated perspective on almost any topic or question... even personal questions, such as how to organise and prioritise my day. I like the great spirit of cooperation I’ve found within McKinsey.

Inline
During a recent engagement, a client asked, “what does best performance look like for certain activities?” I reached out across the internal network and find experienced personnel who were happy to provide their expertise on every dimension of the topic. Within a few days we had assembled a comprehensive playbook of best performance from people who had worked on every aspect of the subject.


My advice

I have had many conversations with former colleagues about making the jump to consulting. My advice is to read about the industry and talk to current consultants to decide if it’s what you want to do next. Consulting is intense, with a rapid tempo and steep learning curve, especially in non–technical areas like time management, prioritisation and people skills. I am happy I made the switch, and I am certainly going to see where it takes me.

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About William

William is London-based consultant, specializing in the Oil & Gas industry. He has a master's in petroleum engineering from Heriot–Watt University, and bachelor's in computational physics from Trinity College Dublin.

He is an aspiring science–fiction author, and often uses his commute to write (he takes a slightly longer commute to make sure he gets a seat on the train and has some productive time). William recently proposed to his girlfriend and they are busy planning a wedding in Vienna.

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