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Moving to a knowledge expert role

– Hi everyone –

It’s been quite a while and I have major changes to report!

A new role

First, as of Jan 1 of this year, I transitioned from the Engagement Manager role to a knowledge expert role. You can learn more about our knowledge network online, but in short, I now work (almost as a contractor) with various clients and client teams from all over the world, while also building our firm’s knowledge in procurement.

I debated my future at McKinsey for a while. As a senior Engagement Manager on the west coast, I found that I was spending a lot of time travelling, managing people, and managing processes. As time went on, I knew I would be happier doing more content work – I am fascinated and energized by procurement work and I wanted to spend my time focusing on procurement solutions and staying current with the most cutting-edge knowledge in this area. I spoke to my Professional Development Manager (PDM) about my dilemma: although I love McKinsey, I thought the time had come to pursue an external role.

Incredibly, my PDM did some digging and came back to me with an opportunity I wasn’t aware existed: a Knowledge Expert for the purchasing and supply chain service line of our Operations practice. There are only four people at McKinsey with this role globally, so I was thrilled when I was given the offer.

The new role fits very well with my PhD background, as I love research. I am able to bring knowledge and expertise to many high-level clients, like the CFO of a chemicals company, while working with many different McKinsey teams.

Hiking on the Inca Trail

I’ve also been able to really foster my client capability building in this role as I get ‘hired’ to run a lot of procurement trainings at different clients now. Just a few weeks ago I was in Japan for a workshop where we role-played a large negotiation event coming up with over 10 participating suppliers. Based on this work, the team was able to achieve massive savings in the 10-15% range for our client.

Office transfer

My other big news is that I moved from San Francisco to Chicago. Professionally, the move made sense as our Operations practice has a strong presence in Chicago and Chicago is also a very convenient travel hub in the U.S. I now have more local clients, so I can make one-day trips to visit other clients and still make it home to sleep in my own bed. On a personal level, I love Chicago! I feel so at home in this city and in our office. Being geographically close to so many other people within the Operations practice has also given me more connections, more support, more mentors, etc.

Growing my network

Over the summer I attended “EM College” in Cambridge, a week-long training program for people at the Engagement Manager level, and “Operations Day” in Miami for the North American operations practice. Since I often work remotely with teams from around the world, both of these events were wonderful community builders and opportunities to connect real people with the names and voices I’ve worked with in the past. I am amazed at the number of people I’ve met, either virtually or in-person, over my six years at McKinsey, and it feels great to know that I have such an expansive network here.

I also attended a recruiting training session to prepare me to interview candidates. I’m pretty excited to help the Operations practice hire more great people!

Adventure and family
At the Conjunto Arqueologico de Moray - early Incan agricultural laboratories

I’ve kept quite busy with my personal time as well. In August, I took a multi-sport adventure trip in Peru with a friend. Among other amazing experiences, we hiked Machu Picchu (see pictures). And I’m really looking forward to an upcoming trip in October – I will be going to Hawaii for more hiking and SCUBA diving.

As I write this, my parents are in town from Germany. It’s their first visit to Chicago, so they’ve had a wonderful time exploring the city during the day and enjoying the fantastic restaurants with me in the evenings.

Until next time,


About the Blogger

Senior Knowledge Expert


Britta obtained her PhD in economics from Georg-August-University Göttingen after studying business administration and economics in Magdeburg and Sydney. She originally joined our Frankfurt office as an associate and has since transferred to San Francisco and then her current home office of Chicago. As a senior knowledge expert, Britta works with clients and client teams serving consumer and retail goods companies throughout the world while contributing to our overall knowledge in the procurement space. When not working, Britta loves to travel and recently accomplished her goal of visiting every continent on earth.