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Looking back

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Senior partner and leader of our Growth and Innovation practice, Yuval reflects on the lessons he learned in his 15 years at McKinsey:

I loved McKinsey for many reasons, but especially because it let me collaborate with and learn from so many exceptional people.

I left to join a start–up for several reasons, but especially to embark on a different kind of learning curve. I am thrilled by the opportunity to help build a tech enabled disruptive business from the ground up. It will push me further away from my comfort zone than anything has for a while. It’s exciting and a little scary in a good way. I’ll be posting more about it on LinkedIn soon.

It’s hard for me to say good–bye. So many people in the firm inspire me: my most recent amazing assistants (Hollie and Lizzi) and the great administrative leadership, my teams, my dear friends who span the globe from Tel Aviv to the UK to China, our amazing Strategy & Corporate Finance practice leaders professional development managers, communication specialists, new ventures team. I can go on.

As I reflect over the past 15 years, I am so grateful and I realize I could have been even more appreciative and happy along the way. So I wanted to share a few things I wish I knew when I was younger in the firm.

Yuval inline

1. The world is your oyster (and in a lot more ways than Shakespeare ever intended). You have tremendous freedom to follow your passions and explore the world literally and figuratively. With every role your freedom increases.

2. It’s always going to be a seller’s market. Great talent is scarce. Spend most effort on doing your work really well, step up and do the right thing to live our mission and values, and know something about something in a way that will help others do their work better. It’s that simple.

3. Get to know your colleagues deeply. If you are not sufficiently inspired, it’s because you are too focused on how demanding the role is and not how amazing are the people who are doing it. The more you get to know them as people, the more inspired will you be.

4. The system is working for you. Outside your family, it’s unlikely anyone would ever spend so much time talking about how to make you successful and happy. This is the corollary to how scarce and important your talent is. We are positively biased. We help our colleagues lean forward, give them more opportunities and continually stretch and challenge them.

5. You will never stop learning. I learned more in the last year than any year before that. This was true almost every year of my time at McKinsey.

6. Our opinion really matters. Our clients want us to tell them what they should do, not merely frame the options or summarize the facts. They value the quality of our insights and well–constructed arguments. How you say it is often as (or more) important than what you say. So synthesize more, create fewer back–up pages, spend more time role–playing important conversations, and make sure you’re getting plenty of time to rest and recharge so you can be at your best for your clients.

7. The net present value will be hard to match. If like me, you care about money only as far as it helps you not to care about money, you’d feel overpaid sooner than you think and very few jobs will earn you more in the mid–term even if they’ll pay more tomorrow.

8. Comparison is the thief of joy.We are driven people, we want to go for gold, but bronze medalists are often happier then silver earners. Do you know why? Their point of reference is everyone else, not the first–place finisher. Enjoy your own journey and the success you’ve already achieved.

I owe huge gratitude to so many past and present colleagues. I have been absurdly lucky. I tried, but fear I have a long way to go to pay it all forward.

More about Yuval

Yuval was the global leader of McKinsey’s Growth and Innovation practice and a leader of McKinsey’s EMEA Consumer and Telecom, Media and Tech practices. Based in London, he worked with multinational companies on strategy and business transformation topics, especially on growth, innovation, consumer insights and commercial excellence.

Prior to that, Yuval spent six years in Shanghai leading the Strategy practice for the Greater China region, helping international companies navigate China’s rapidly–changing economic landscape and working with government agencies to leverage consumer insights and private–sector collaboration for economic development. He also led McKinsey’s Insights China consumer market intelligence group.

Outside of client work, Yuval likes to write. He frequently contributed to the McKinsey Quarterly and the Harvard Business Review online. He was recently recognized as one of LinkedIn’s top contributors.

He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a law degree from Tel Aviv University.

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