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My rotation with the McKinsey Global Institute

– Hi everyone,

When I last wrote, I was a few days into a new fellowship with the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). It’s been an exciting few months since then!

Since February, we’ve released two MGI reports focused on the future of Europe and the challenges facing European business at a critical moment 60 years after the Union first came into being. You can read these two reports here and here.

It’s been a fun transition, and I’ve been excited by how much I’m learning from the new role.

In Barcelona with fellow BAs Sloan and Yigit

In many ways, work with MGI is very similar to standard client work: We start each study with a thorny question, develop an initial hypothesis on what that answer could be, work as a team to collect data and run analyses to test that answer, and then continue to iterate as a group until we get to a good place.

However, as an MGI team, the ‘answer’ we’re trying to craft is a distinctive perspective on a global economic issue or trend, rather than direct impact for the client we’re serving. That means that the kind of work we do day-to-day looks quite different from client service. Rather than running a workshop for a client’s executive team or analyzing their revenue streams, I found myself surveying 2,000 business executives across Europe and trying to synthesize a global discussion on the impact of trends like aging and digitization into a coherent article.

It’s also exposed me to new parts of the firm, and to colleagues who work in our knowledge centers and communications and media teams. On my last team, one of my colleagues had written books about European education systems before joining the firm; another was pursuing a PhD in Economics while still in his role managing a complex econometric tool that McKinsey uses to model out economic growth.

It’s been a terrific opportunity to get to work with different types of colleagues, and to push myself to think, write, and solve problems in new ways. I’m very glad to be doing it.

Outside of my projects, I’ve been working with a new McKinsey service line focused on enabling more effective contractor management. Along with an Associate Partner who worked with me on a contracting effort at a previous client, and some other consultants across Europe, we’re developing new tools to help clients manage contractor spend more effectively. We just entered an internal innovation competition (the New Ventures Competition) to get support to expand these tools. We’ve moved on to the next round—we’ll know soon whether we’re progressing to global final rounds!

On a more personal front, I just came back from a weekend trip to Barcelona with two friends who joined McKinsey as BAs with me. Especially after having been at the firm for almost three years, I’m really happy to have such a strong BA community at McKinsey.

I’ll look forward to sharing more soon!

Until then,

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.