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A key to happiness: Looking forward

– Hi everyone,

Happy spring! I hope that these last few months have been good ones for you. I’ve had a few big changes since my last update. After I returned from my second maternity leave, I decided to transition to a non-client facing role for a while. I was the Senior Manager of Client Services for about two years. This role allowed me to do something different and take a breather to figure out what I wanted my future at McKinsey to look like.

My decision…

I’ve decided to return to a traditional client service track. I formally returned to the Associate Principal role at the beginning of the year, but with one big change: I am not travelling at all—my client work is 100% local, which is wonderful for me and my family. I’m considered a first year Associate Principal since I’m not working with any of my previous (non-local) clients and am building my program from scratch with new clients in new industries. In some ways this is very exciting: I’m really broadening my client development scope and am developing new clients in the auto, banking, and petrochemicals industries (all new to me, since I used to work almost exclusively in consumer goods and retail). I’m building relationships with new people, learning a lot about different industries, and figuring out exactly where and how I’ll eventually focus.

A recent family portrait

Right now I happen to be working on two client engagements in the consumer/retail industry: one in whiskey and one in retail. For our whiskey client, I ended up with two associates on the team but no engagement manager. One of the associates didn’t think he was ready to start acting as an engagement manager. The other associate is a little less tenured at McKinsey, but joined us as an “experienced hire” with prior work experience. He was very interested in acting as an engagement manager, but I was concerned he didn’t have enough McKinsey experience for the role. In the end, the two associates both acted as “JEMs” (junior engagement managers), which worked out great. They ended up having very different strengths that played off each other nicely: one was great with the client and one was fantastic with the problem solving. It gave them both confidence in their engagement manager skills, which was a win-win for everyone. I was excited to be a part of their simultaneous development!

Training for non-consultants

I am always very interested in coaching other colleagues. Over the past few months, I led a series of four workshops for our non-consulting staff on McKinsey’s approach to solving problems. The workshops were held over lunch and were a great opportunity to share some of our consulting skills with the rest of the office. We talked through real problems and demonstrated our seven steps of problem solving, which helped our staff think about how they can apply this approach to the challenges they face on a daily basis. I think the workshops also helped us all feel like we’re part of the same community.

A key to happiness
Another family trip celebrating Lunar New Year in Kyoto, Japan

My family just came back from a fantastic long weekend in Bali. My daughter is now old enough to join the hotel’s kids’ club during the day, which she loved. She made lots of friends at the kids’ club and would track them down during dinner so that she could hang out with them instead of us.

Within a day of returning home, I’d planned our next trip: a four-day weekend in Tokyo over the May 1 holiday (our Labor Day holiday). This is one of my keys to happiness: always having something to look forward to!

Until next time,


About the blogger

Associate Partner


Tina joined McKinsey in 2001 as a Business Analyst in the Boston office, and spent time in the Shanghai office before transferring to Taipei. Tina primarily served consumer packaged goods clients before taking a non-consulting role for a couple of years. Now back in consulting as an Associate Partner, she is exploring new industries and local client opportunities so she can spend more time at home with her husband and two young children, Olivia and Owen. Tina holds undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University.