Back to Careers Blog

Second chances

Zoltan moved back to Budapest after studying in Switzerland. Being an entrepreneurial spirit, consultancy was a good match.

Why did you choose McKinsey?

While studying, I tried lots of things including consulting, working at an established start–up and founding my own. After my first start–up failed, I realized I needed much more business and domain experience to be successful. Consulting was the obvious choice because it would be the fastest way to build relevant experience.

I chose McKinsey because I wanted to work in a global firm filled with exceptional people. At the time I applied, I already knew many McKinsey employees, and was amazed at how open, caring and smart they were. When I joined, I planned to stay for a few years and then try again as an entrepreneur. However, the more familiar I got with the firm, the more I realized I could fully satisfy my entrepreneurial spirits within McKinsey and I didn’t need to leave.

For example, as a new business analyst, I approached the office manager with a mobile application idea. To my surprise, he liked the idea and provided funding to develop it into a product. Next, I developed several new product ideas and submitted them to the New Ventures Competition, our venture capital model internal idea competition. Along the way, I pursued my own education path instead of an MBA. I learnt software engineering and worked as a product owner at a fintech company during a secondment. Today, I use the skills I gained on almost all of my projects. From the very first day, I could guide my career toward industries and topics I was interested in. As a result, today I spend majority of my time on technology, telecom, and digital transformation projects.

Why did you choose the Budapest office?

I wanted to move back to Budapest to be close to my family. In a typical week, I spend Monday to Thursday in another European city, where I work with an international team for a global client. Weekends are sacred – it’s a great part of McKinsey’s culture – and I always return to Budapest where I can make social plans with my friends and spend quality time with my family.

Zoltan inline

What have you done in the last 2 years?

I have spent 95% of my time on technology, telecom and digital transformation projects.

What’s one thing readers might be surprised to know about your career?

I applied to McKinsey after completing my undergraduate degree, but got rejected. Looking back (and now being an interviewer myself), I completely understand this, because I was neither ready for the job, nor prepared for the interviews. I am really glad I took the feedback and better prepared for my second try.

What do you love to do outside work?

Sports (ski, tennis, soccer), travelling to new countries, DJing.

Find a role like Zoltan

Never miss another post

Receive new stories once a week directly in your inbox