I’ve benefited from a powerful mentorship network—and my managers have devoted hours a week to help me build my skills.

A remarkable mix of talent

I came to McKinsey from a nontraditional background—I studied history as an undergrad and completed my master’s in urban planning. Before joining the firm, I worked in a few different industries, and I think my varied experience shows the importance of professional reinvention and a continuous interest in learning new things. In fact, the unusual mix of professional backgrounds at McKinsey contributes to a better understanding of our clients’ challenges. McKinsey is increasingly trying to get unique points of view and expertise.

Deep collaboration, continuous learning

When I first joined McKinsey as a summer associate, I wasn’t surprised to find a demanding work environment. But it was so collaborative that I felt more professionally supported than I ever had before. I chose to return to McKinsey because of the amazing people I met during my internship and because I was impressed by the wealth of resources at our disposal to help support our clients’ needs. I also realized how much I could learn.

Beyond the comfort zone

At McKinsey, I’ve benefited from a powerful mentorship network, and my managers have devoted hours a week to help me build the skills for my role. That has really pushed me out of my comfort zone to discover new skills—such as leading teams of programmers, even though I don’t have a data-science background. For example, I led the advanced-analytics work stream in the commercial transformation of one of the largest retail banks in the region. We had incredible impact, increasing productivity by over 20 percent.

Bring out the true you

If you are considering applying to McKinsey, remember that your particular background and work experience are strengths. Don’t be discouraged if you think your area of study isn’t “typical” for management consulting. Just make sure you understand the interview process—and bring all your unique qualities to the table.

Education

Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, NYU
MA, urban planning

Tufts University
BA, history and international relations