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Creating your own flight plan

Aviation enthusiast, airplane geek and recreational private pilot Yun talks about his experiences as an associate in the Travel, Transportation and Logistics practice in Singapore.

Aviation enthusiast, airplane geek and recreational pilot Yun describes his McKinsey flight plan. Read to the bottom to sign up to meet Yun and his colleagues in the US in October:

Preflight check –I started exploring options with McKinsey as I was completing my MBA at Harvard. I connected with a McKinsey partner, Robert Carey, and he shared his experiences leading the airline practice. I had a strong interest and prior work experience in the aviation industry, so I asked about opportunities to work with airline clients if I joined the Singapore office. Robert shared that McKinsey’s staffing model aims to fulfill our dual mission of bringing the best to our clients and developing our people. Happy consultants do the best work, he told me. I would have plenty of opportunities to follow my passion and create my own flight plan.

Yun Inline
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Cleared for takeoff –At McKinsey, we take training very seriously. The firm invests $200M a year in developing and running formal learning programs for consultants. As soon as I joined the Singapore office, I attended a weeklong training lovingly dubbed “Learn to Swim” by the associates in my class. This program taught me core consulting skills such as how to conduct a good interview, create a nimble Excel model and give and receive strengths-based feedback. I left feeling prepared for my first role on a client-facing team. Since then, I have attended at least a couple of trainings every year to continue to cultivate my soft skills as a leader and client counselor and to build my content expertise in airlines.

Climbing at max rate –I recall one of my very first engagements. Be careful what you ask for, my fellow associates warned me. I didn’t listen; I jetted off to South America to join a large transformation for a major airline client. We worked directly with the Chief Commercial Officer of the company who was responsible for reimagining the company’s business model.

One of the initiatives I owned was creating a more effective pricing strategy for fares. We adopted a test and learn approach to test various strategies and implement the ones with the most positive impact on revenues. It was extremely collaborative. Our typical week started with working hand in hand with the clients to decide which routes and prices to test. The clients then filed the new fares into the revenue management system, and we observed and measured the market’s response. This agile approach required our clients to change their mindsets and traditional ways of working. We celebrated small wins and celebrated them often. Seeing the immediate results of our work and focusing on our successes fueled our energy.

Over the course of four months in South America, I was tested on all fronts –coaching clients as they implemented major changes, performing analyses to measure the business impact of multiple initiatives across the multi-billion dollar company, and being 26 hours away from home. I picked up enough Spanish to order lunch at the local café and made a lifetime’s worth of friends from the client (one of them recently visited me in Singapore). It was an only at McKinsey kind of experience, and one I’m so thankful I had so early in my tenure.

Cruise altitude –One of the things that makes McKinsey distinctive is the variety of work we do; we serve a wide array of clients, in many different aspects and capacities and we are constantly innovating to bring the latest thinking to our clients. In my short tenure, I have worked on a due diligence for a major European airline, helped a large SE Asian conglomerate select its executive team, developed industry 4.0 solutions for manufacturing companies, and more. What excites me most about McKinsey is the diversity of experiences I get: three continents, six countries and five industries just last year. Robert was right; consultants who follow their passions and do what they love are the best and I have gotten to chart my flight plan.

About Yun

Yun is an associate with our Transportation, Travel and Logistics practice. He’s based in Singapore. Originally trained as an aerospace engineer at the University of Michigan, flying remains his true passion. He also enjoys golf, tennis, classical music, and amateur photography.

Opportunities to meet Yun and his colleagues:

In October, several of our colleagues from Asia-Pacific will come to the United States to meet MBA students who are interested in exploring opportunities with McKinsey in this region. For details, please check out the website for the event nearest you: