I have found great support in pursuing my passion for energy-transition topics at McKinsey and have always been told to do what makes me excited, and to “make my own McKinsey.”
I actually had several internships, including BearingPoint, Bain, and McKinsey. McKinsey was the obvious choice, and really felt like “home”—not to mention that I got to travel to different countries during my internship, visiting cities like Washington, DC, in the United States, and Vienna in Austria. I also worked on an extremely inspiring project about building out the power sector in a developing country in Africa and even got to meet several members of the ministry. Such an internship experience can only happen at McKinsey.
People at McKinsey are truly special, and there is such a good mix of smart, brilliant people with a nerdy side. Additionally, I really liked McKinsey’s international staffing process, because it’s possible to go to the other side of the world for a cool project and really learn about working with people from different cultures. Working with German, American, and Japanese clients, amongst other nations, was an extremely rewarding experience that really allowed me to grow.
Expectations for working at McKinsey
I expected a high paced, high-impact workplace with senior experts solving the toughest problems to help clients navigate a complex and changing world. I was not disappointed! Every project we do is different, yet each of the projects are important, in the sense that we support our clients on the most challenging topics and decisions.
Most unexpected was perhaps the level of care and commitment coworkers show toward each other and how everyone is always trying to help one grow and get better—no sharp elbows here. From the outside, McKinsey appears a bit tough, but inside, people are truly dedicated to making colleagues succeed, whether it’s through finding good opportunities, coaching, and giving advice or just getting on the phone for 20 minutes to problem solve and share insights.
My second unexpected experience was that we have experts on the strangest topics—there is always someone with experience who you can call, for example, when working on a due diligence for a lipstick packaging manufacturer!
Rewarding and meaningful experiences
I have done many exciting projects, but two stand out.
One, I spent nearly a full year working to create and publish a report on the trajectory of hydrogen technology. That allowed me to really understand this emerging industry before many others, at a time when the topic was viewed as niche. Since then, it has only accelerated and is now on the mind of many clients (and media, too). For me, this project started my “hydrogen journey” and introduced me to my McKinsey “family.”
Two, I worked with a relatively small Norwegian client to assess the potential for changing part of their company into a pure hydrogen vehicle, which was extremely successful. I have been on a journey with them to grow the organization, set up their manufacturing, develop their digital edge, and become the most renowned company in their field.
Collaborating with colleagues
McKinsey people are unique, smart, funny, nerdy, and passionate. Two personalities that stand out to me are a senior partner I work with a lot and a junior colleague.
The senior partner is a character—he owns a vineyard in his home village, he has no less than 60 pairs of shoes and owns three chainsaws—in case one of the others breaks down, of course. He is also one of the most caring people I know. He is dedicated to mine, and others’ success, and goes out of his way to create opportunities for us to grow.
The second person is a more junior colleague who is the most energetic, motivated, fun, and smart person I have ever met—there is nothing he cannot figure out, and he always has a joke, or five, in his back pocket.
Advice for applying to McKinsey
I would say that the background is very well suited for consulting. The ideal consultant is well-rounded and able to grasp new topics and concepts fast, which is exactly what we spent five years learning at Indøk. Further, McKinsey is a fun place to work with exciting projects and smart, fun people, and allows you to remain on a steep learning curve even after university.