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Healthcare work, a pro-bono project, and my third year as a BA

– Hi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a lovely summer. I have a few interesting work (and life!) updates on my end.

On the client side, I spent almost the entire past nine months working with a Midwestern state’s Department of Medicaid, building a patient-centered medical home (PCMH). A PCMH is a program aimed to improve primary care quality and efficiency by changing the way physicians are compensated to incentivize different behaviors. This project was a change for me as it bridged strategy and implementation, which means I got to see the program all the way through from the design phase to the launch this September. We worked with both the federal government and the state legislature, and even had to write a new law—pretty cool! This project was very exciting for me for a few reasons. First, it’s in my sweet spot of public sector healthcare work. Second, the outcome of the project will meaningfully improve the healthcare for all residents of the state, particularly those on Medicaid. And third, I had the wonderful experience of acting as a junior engagement manager (JEM) for a summer associate on our team. I’m happy to say that he received an offer to return full-time, which we hope he accepts!

Right after that project ended, I did a short stint serving a private payor client. This was the polar opposite of the above client experience—it was a traditional McKinsey strategy engagement, but also an interesting exercise in that our clients were the board of directors. Given the seniority of our clients, our team learned a lot about the right ways to frame ideas and communicate effectively. I also had the opportunity to act as a JEM to a brand-new business analyst on this engagement. As an added bonus, we did most of our work in New York, so I was able to stay local with only the occasional trip to Chicago.

My third year BA path

In other news, I just celebrated my two year anniversary as a BA at the firm and started my “third year,” which means that I was able to choose from a range of options including internal fellowships and external secondments. I will be spending the next year as a fellow with our Center for Healthcare Reform, which is an internal hub for all topics related to the Affordable Care Act. The “Reform Center,” as it is nicknamed, conducts and publishes tons of independent research, which is quite often picked up major news outlets. I will have the potential to interact with a lot of different teams while doing knowledge work, which will likely focus on recently-announced government programs that are top-of-mind for many clients. Obviously this will be very different from traditional client work, and I’m excited about the opportunity to gain a broader perspective of the HSS (healthcare systems and services) world.

A pro-bono project

I have been doing some pretty exciting work “on the side” as part of a pro-bono project out of the New York office. A while back, an email went out about an opportunity through the Robin Hood Foundation to help various local NYC nonprofit organizations with their strategic planning process. I spoke with some people who had done this type of work before and had great experiences, so I decided to go for it. I had to submit a detailed application to be selected for the team as it’s a serious time commitment that needs to be balanced with regular client work. We’ve had three-hour working sessions with our client, a Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Brooklyn, every other Thursday night, which I’ve had to balance with Thursday afternoon client meetings in the Midwest!

My summer associate bought me four pies for my birthday!

It’s been incredibly interesting to learn more about how the nonprofit world operates. Many nonprofit organizations don’t have the types of strategic planning resources that large corporations do, so it’s an honor to be able to help them with their five-year vision and execution plan. We’ve learned about their growth goals, hope for geographic expansion, and biggest challenges, and helped them prioritize the factors that are most core to their mission. In truth, I have gotten as much out of this experience as the client has. My main client contact at the JCC is their executive director, who has been with the organization for 25 years. It has been humbling to work so closely with such a senior person, and a bit exciting to see how much my opinion is valued—even though I’m a 23-year old with limited experience in the nonprofit world.

In personal news, I am planning a trip to Armenia to visit one of my best friends from college. She is half-Armenian and half-Lebanese and she went to Armenia for a six month internship after college. She ended up staying there for good, so I am really excited to see her and learn more about what she’s up to.

Have a great fall!

About the blogger

Senior Business Analyst


Isabelle joined our Washington, DC office after graduating from Columbia University with a BA in African History and Environmental Biology. As an undergraduate student, she had broad social impact experience, from interning at Amnesty International to teaching health education to seventh graders in Harlem. She’s now making a difference through her work at McKinsey, where she has focused on public sector healthcare work, while also working in healthcare provider strategy, risk management, and recovery and transformation services. Now based in our New Jersey office, she recently began a fellowship with our Center for US Healthcare Reform. When she's not working, you'll find Isabelle studying contemporary dance and Ashtanga yoga in New York City.