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
We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at:

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