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Ekaterina Kuznetsova

Associate, Digital McKinsey, Zurich
Masters degree and research in physics

I wanted to work on something where I could have a more immediate impact than traditional research.

From fundamental physics to the fundamentals of business

I enjoyed studying fundamental physics and loved how engaging it could be, but I wanted to work on something where I could have a more immediate impact than traditional research. So I was looking to enter the business world and, as I neared graduation, started attending company fairs. By chance, I went to an event where there were a lot of McKinsey representatives and once I saw how I could be a good fit with the company, I was sure that I wanted to work here.

3 ways to grow

At McKinsey, there is a very strong “growth” culture, and everyone is interested in your development. From my experience, there are three parts to this: training, on-the-job learning, and mentoring.

Everyone starts with a week of basic consulting-skills training. Since I had very little business background, I was offered a 2-week business course. And since I had joined Digital McKinsey, I received specific IT training. In addition, there are also skills and personality training. All of this education also allows you to build a strong and diverse network and grow together with your peers.

Starting with your first study, you will be learning by doing, and your team members will help you to acquire the necessary skills for a McKinsey project—how to create presentations, how to conduct client interviews, and how to problem solve with the team. Team members will give very open, honest, and direct feedback. However, you are ultimately responsible for your development path, and you choose your challenges and studies—or, as we say, “Make your own McKinsey.”

In terms of mentoring, you are connected with a development leader who provides sound advice, but every colleague here is eager to share their experiences to help you grow.

Applying my physics background

I was part of a great digital project—supporting a major telco in its digitization effort. We worked at the intersection between IT and business, and had to understand both sides really well and identify together with the client team the most significant set of digital efforts. Here my physics background helped me not only to understand the technical side, but also to build the business case—I love numbers and, even without a formal business background, accounting was really fun to me!

A passion for Zurich

At McKinsey, you will meet very interesting people with lots of energy and drive. We have all kind of groups in the office—whether it’s soccer or theater, you will for sure find people that share your interests. One of my passions is the city of Zurich, and I regularly share recommendations with my peers. Many people are still new to Zurich, and—as with so many other things in life—you have to know where to go and what to do in order to fall in love with the city immediately.


ETH Zurich
MS, physics
BS, physics