Temporarily leaving McKinsey to earn my MBA

Hi everyone! I wanted to write one more update before I depart for INSEAD to realize my dream of earning my MBA. I am so incredibly excited for this next adventure. I really believe that continuing my education is the next step of my personal growth, and the step that will prepare me for my next role at McKinsey. I can’t wait to be exposed to so many new things, including perspectives from classmates who will join me from everywhere in the world (although a few colleagues from the Warsaw office are also joining the INSEAD class of 2017!).

INSEAD is waiting!

My program is a little less than a year long and I plan to return to McKinsey once I have completed my degree. One little anecdote that made me happy: I announced my plans to a team that I had worked with for a long time (eight months!). The team gave me such an enthusiastic round of applause, and they were incredibly complimentary about the time I spent with them and grateful for the impact we achieved together. It was one of the best “feel good” moments I’ve had at McKinsey.

Discovering the MOMA in New York City

On the client work side, I have two updates. I recently had the good luck to experience a “dream project,” which for me was a banking project that included travel to the US. I had wanted to travel to the States for work, this particular engagement was in my preferred industry, the client was great, and there was tremendous opportunity to achieve meaningful impact—it doesn’t get much better than this! It was my first time in the US, and it was really interesting to see how different things are versus Europe. This experience cemented my decision to return to McKinsey after my MBA.

My other client experience is a bit different but also had a very positive outcome. I was asked to do a local project, and to be honest, I didn’t think I wanted to do this particular project. I was worried that I wouldn’t learn or grow very much, and I wasn’t particularly interested in a sector.

A true fan visits the M&M World in New York City

I’m happy to report that my concerns were unfounded. Our professional development team members are amazing, and they were right when they told me that this would be a good experience for me. I learned a lot by going outside of my comfort zone of banking. We involved about 50 McKinsey experts from around the world. I was amazed by how responsive they were and how much knowledge they shared with us. People even reached out to us afterwards to ask if we needed more help, just because they thought the work was interesting and they wanted to make a difference. We achieved impact that exceeded all my expectations. I derived a lot of personal satisfaction from this experience.

My preferred US first aid kit!

On a final note, I have stayed very involved with our women’s initiative in Warsaw. We just hosted an event with two powerful female speakers who spoke to us about using our time at McKinsey wisely. The event included dinner at a special venue, and it was a lovely opportunity for more junior colleagues to connect with senior women and learn about their career paths. I am very excited to work on our women’s initiative again when I return to the firm next year.

I have had a lot of fun sharing my McKinsey experience on this blog, and I’m hoping to share a couple of updates while I’m at INSEAD. Stay tuned, and farewell for now!