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Deciding how to spend my third year as a BA

– Hello again from Washington, DC! It’s been a great few months since my last post. In addition to exploring several new client settings, I finalized my plans for my third year as a BA with the firm.

Growing through client work

I realized very early in my time at McKinsey that building relationships with clients and helping individuals take on new challenges was one of the most energizing parts of my work. I therefore make an effort to choose projects that are heavy on client coaching, with more time spent in meetings and working sessions than staring at Excel (though I do love pivot tables as much as the next BA!).

A teamroom selfie with the other BAs and Associates on my team: (l-r) Anil, Marti, Abby, and me

For my last project, I decided to build on this strength and interest by signing up for a four-month transformation engagement. These kinds of projects are centered on helping clients build the capabilities necessary to sustain a major operational change. I knew it would test my abilities to really support and enable clients and to work independently, as we’d be a large team where I wouldn’t get much close supervision.

This turned out to be one of my most rewarding projects because I got to see an organization and the individual clients I supported change in front of me. Members of my client team became stronger communicators, took on larger leadership roles, and helped create opportunities for others. The client organization has an important social mission, so I was particularly excited by the impact our work had.

Plans for my third year

It’s a little bittersweet, but that project will be my last as a US-based BA, at least for a little while.

After completing two years of client work, senior BAs at McKinsey are invited to spend a third year in secondments, new geographies, or in specialized roles within the firm. I’ve long known that I wanted to spend my third McKinsey year in London, but wasn’t quite sure of the best way to do that while also continuing to grow professionally.

After speaking with my mentors and exploring some of the fellowship opportunities in the office, I decided to split my year across two third-year BA programs. I’ll spend part of the year doing client projects in the public and private sectors, and part of it on a fellowship with the McKinsey Global Institute, our economic research branch.

As much as I’ve loved my time in the Washington, DC office, I’m excited about the move. On a personal level, I’ll get to be closer to the London-based “significant other” and friends I picked up when I went to grad school in the UK. It’s also an exciting professional opportunity to get to stretch myself by working in a different cultural setting on new types of problems.

I’ll look forward to sending my next update from across the pond!

About the blogger

Senior Business Analyst


Sarah joined our Washington, DC office after completing an M.Phil. in nuclear energy at Cambridge University and studying chemistry and Middle East Studies at Brown University. In her first two years as a BA, Sarah enjoyed the opportunity to explore a range of industries, including healthcare and energy in both the public and private sectors. She is now spending her third BA year in London. When not working, Sarah enjoys baking and running.