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The three things I love most about McKinsey

Hi everyone, and thank you for visiting my blog! This is my very first post and I am so excited to start sharing snippets of my McKinsey life with all of you. Let me be honest, I am a little biased here—I decided to join the McKinsey Women blog because I’ve been loving my McKinsey experience and I care deeply about women in the workplace.
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Wenting is a business analyst in our Houston office. She graduated from Harvard College, where she studied economics, environmental science, and public policy. Prior to joining McKinsey, Wenting interned at an investment bank and a stock exchange. She is passionate about international development, energy transition, and clean technology; in her free time she loves learning about different cultures via travel and has already visited 30+ countries. Wenting has truly enjoyed her time at McKinsey and is very excited to have the opportunity to share her experience with her blog readers.

Welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone, and thank you for visiting my blog! This is my very first post and I am so excited to start sharing snippets of my McKinsey life with all of you. Let me be honest, I am a little biased here—I decided to join the McKinsey Women blog because I’ve been loving my McKinsey experience and I care deeply about women in the workplace. Hopefully, I can convince some of you that McKinsey is the right place for you as well!

I’ll start my blog by writing a bit about my three favorite parts of McKinsey: the people, the work, and the responsibility.

First, the people. This may sound clichéd, but let me try to add a little color to it because I think it is truly the best part of the firm. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by inspiring people who I genuinely like and enjoy hanging out with. People come from very diverse backgrounds but the common thread is that everyone is passionate about something, which leads to awesome conversations over team dinners and coffee breaks: exciting travel plans, evolution of trade policy, climate change, income inequality, virtual reality…the topic of the day could really be anything. Even more importantly, I love hanging out with my McKinsey friends outside of work and I’m proud that some of my closest friends now happen to be my co-workers. We not only share our McKinsey journey, but equally importantly, we share many road trips, birthday celebrations, weddings, house parties, movie nights (we just saw Incredibles 2 together this weekend!), bar crawls, weekend brunches…and many other memories together. I cannot wait for more adventures with these amazing people!

Second, the work. I actually love the work that I do: the skills that I’m building on the job, the freedom to explore various industries and functions, and the excitement of every day being a slightly different challenge. When I was going through the recruiting process, I was told that McKinsey will teach me a way of thinking and how to break down complicated problems. That has certainly been true of my experience so far—each engagement requires both structured and innovative thinking and usually involves a mix of qualitative and quantitative work. For example, it’s not enough to have a solid quantitative analysis but also important to show how it ties to the larger narrative and drives real impact. In addition, I think the firm provides a fantastic platform for someone with diverse interests and there is a real push for the new people to do “random walks” when they first start the job. Lastly, I love how there is no “standard day” and I enjoy the challenge to adapt to evolving situations.

Third, the responsibility. This is definitely something that I was pleasantly surprised about the job. I remember very clearly that on my second day at my first project, the associate partner turned to me during a team problem solving session and asked, “So, what do you think about this, Wenting?” Everyone on the team is not just encouraged to contribute but expected to bring new ideas and take ownership of the work. People genuinely care about your perspective regardless of how junior you are and you have the potential to shape how your workstream and study evolve. In addition, the responsibility is also manifested through the access to senior leaders. On the McKinsey side, you will regularly tackle interesting problems and bounce ideas off of thought leaders in the field. Many of them also happen to be great people leaders. Personally, I’ve met several incredible mentors who have really made an impact on me and have been very supportive through my McKinsey journey. On the client side, I have been given the opportunity to run meetings with very senior leaders and have been encouraged to establish and grow my own client network. Sometimes, I still find it a little hard to believe that I am working closely and building relationships with some of the most respected senior leaders in these industries.

Thank you for reading through my long post. If there’s an aspect of McKinsey that you are particularly interested in learning about, feel free to email me (wenting_gao@mckinsey.com) and I’ll try my best to answer your questions! As a sneak peak, in my next blog, I’ll be writing about the highlights of some cool Houston women’s events this past month. Talk soon!

Wenting