This Women’s History Month, we’re chatting with McKinsey leaders about their role as women in the workplace and beyond. Today, we’ll hear from Jin Wang, a senior partner in Shenzhen who specializes in the healthcare space. For more Q&As throughout the month, bookmark this page.

Tell us about a career defining moment.

The most recent defining moment for me was last summer, when a senior partner shared her plan to leave McKinsey after ten years. When she shared this with a group of women senior partners globally, many people started to email and share stories of how she had changed their lives over the past ten years, when they were young analysts on her team, when they were sitting across from her at the dinner table, or when they saw her on the stage of a large training program.

She wasn’t aware of most of the stories, and she had no idea how she inspired so many of us by role modeling leadership and generosity for our next generation. I was struck by the thought that we all could massively underestimate the power of role modeling and the power of the impact we have on people in our daily life. If I could be a source of inspiration for someone today, the effect can be amplified by a factor of ten, a factor of 100. It’s magical.

What are you most proud of?

I’m very happy that I have lived a very real and full life. Last week, a younger colleague shared with me the answer she [received] from ChatGPT to her query, “How to be happy.” The answer resonated with me. I was very impressed but also a bit jealous. How can this machine come to an answer so quickly and so effortlessly? It has taken me years and decades to search for those answers. But then I thought, “No, actually, I am the lucky one. I have lived through this journey to find the answers.”

When I started at McKinsey 20 years ago, I had no idea if I would fit in. All my friends said I have a very romantic love for life that is probably not going to be compatible with the intensity of the consulting profession. But 20 years later, I still love the consulting life, I love McKinsey, and I love all of this in a very romantic way. I’m grateful for the journey. It’s not effortless, but it’s priceless.

What’s a big or surprising lesson you’ve learned as a woman in the workplace?

For me, the surprise is the importance of friendship. I think we talk a lot about sponsorship and mentorship, which is critical for our growth and success, but we don’t talk enough about friendship.

I have lot of friends and colleagues across ages, tenures, and different roles at McKinsey. It is so important for my happiness and fulfillment. When I have a tough day, when I have doubts, I always have a reason to laugh and to smile. I always feel like I have the energy and strength because of those friends.

How do you stay energized?

The answer is quite simple, but it’s not easy. It’s sleep, reading, and other beautiful things in life that have been kept me energized. I’m not the type of person who can survive on five hours of sleep every day. I need sleep. I remember when my children were smaller, and on the weekend, if I really wanted to catch up on sleep and my husband wasn’t around, I would give them an iPad so they could quietly play for a few hours while I took a nap.

I didn’t feel particularly guilty about it, because it was really a question of survival for me. But my children are bigger now, and I certainly have so much more time to read my own books, not their picture books. Reading has given me so much pleasure, inspiration, and consolation. Even if I only read a few paragraphs a day, it takes me to different time and space. It is deeply calming and healing.

What advice do you have for women in their professional journeys?

I think I would say, “Take your time.” When I was young, when I was new to McKinsey, I always measured my journey and my growth by months, by years. But now, looking back and looking forward, the professional life is so much longer than what I thought it would be 20 years ago.


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