A crazy few months topped off with awesome travel

Hi everyone! It’s been a crazy few months for me. 

A short return to the Engagement Manager role

As you know, I switched from the traditional consultant role to a knowledge expert role a while back. Well, I got a call a few months ago from a client team that was in a tight situation—their Engagement Manager received an amazing job offer from another company and ended up leaving in the middle of the project, and the team really needed someone to fill in. So, I ended up being an EM again for about three months for a project up in Toronto. 

Up close and personal while SCUBA diving

It was fun to return to the consulting path for a short time, on a project that complemented my current knowledge expert role. We worked very closely with the client in an effort to capture savings across a host of different categories. We had a small team and a demanding workload, but the team was fantastic and everyone had a positive, “can-do” attitude. The project was gratifying because we created some great new content and drove immense impact for our client, with 30-50% savings in two categories. The challenging aspect of this time period was that I was still working my “real” job! In the long run, though, this was a good experience for me as it helped me think about different paths at the firm and feel confident that the knowledge expert role is the right one for me. 

I have been super busy with other client work as well. We wrapped up a project in Texas, and I also just completed a capability building workshop with about 40 people from a large insurance client. 

Procurement meeting in Dallas

On the knowledge side, I have been working on an additional service offering for our indirect spend service line called “rapid procurement contract insights.” I put together a pitch document for the service line and presented it at our first-ever Americas-wide procurement meeting, which took place over three days in Dallas. We also shared some of the packaging work we’ve been doing and the related portal we’re creating. Both topics were very well received and we learned of interest from teams who want to bring these tools to their clients, which is exciting. 

Fascinating stingrays

The meeting itself was amazing—we spent three days sharing what’s going on in the practice and learning about cool new innovations. On a personal note, I won an award for submitting the most knowledge documents in the months leading to the practice meeting. I’m enjoying my prize, which I didn’t even know I wanted—an Apple watch! 

A lot of what was presented at the meeting, including the rapid procurement contract review and our new packaging portal, are part of an internal innovation effort, the new ventures competition. This competition is a really exciting way for people to be entrepreneurial at McKinsey. People with ideas for new knowledge, tools, or solutions can pitch their ideas to the firm, similar to pitching an idea to an incubator, and McKinsey will support (with funding and people) some of these ideas and eventually bring them to clients. The best aspect of the firm’s support is the access to talent, which is invaluable given that we have so many knowledgeable people with expertise in so many areas. One grand winner across the firm will be hugely celebrated, though there can be many runners-up that also receive support. And even if you don’t win, the competition is a great way to get your idea out there and create excitement around it. 

Conferences and trainings

A few weeks ago I was at an external conference for procurement professionals in Indianapolis, and it was pretty interesting to learn about what’s going on in the rest of the United States. Following that conference, I attended a faculty training program for facilitators of our global “Cambridge College” event in the UK, which is McKinsey’s week-long learning program for engagement managers and equivalent roles. The session I’m running in Cambridge will teach participants how to work with diverse profiles and other groups within McKinsey. As the firm grows and expands our offerings, we are hiring many more colleagues who don’t fit into the traditional “generalist consultant” role—people like data scientists, digital designers, and implementation coaches, as well as knowledge experts like me. So that’s one more reason I’m really looking forward to this event in July. 


You know it wouldn’t be a blog post from me unless I included travel updates! I’ve just enjoyed several weeks of vacation. I spent my first day of vacation volunteering for the Louis Vuitton Americas Cup sailing race here in Chicago, which was awesome! I then headed out to Florida for some SCUBA diving, followed by a friend's wedding in Bulgaria. From there I went to the Maldives for more SCUBA, and then to Cambridge for the Cambridge College program. And now I am (finally) returning to work. 

Until next time,