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Cheryl Lim

Advises public- and private-sector clients in education, youth employment and engagement, and tourism, as they pursue policy, system, and organization transformation

Cheryl Lim is a partner in McKinsey’s Kuala Lumpur office. She is a leader in our Education, Public Sector and Social Sector Practices in Asia. Since joining McKinsey in 2008, she has worked extensively on system and organization transformation and business development in the fields of education, youth employment and engagement, and tourism, serving government-linked companies, public- and private-sector clients. She has led projects in Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

Cheryl’s recent work includes:

  • developing a national education blueprint (from pre-school to higher education) for a Southeast Asian country
  • developing the growth strategy for a major private university in a Southeast Asian country
  • reviewing the effectiveness and efficiency of education spending in an Australian state
  • improving the quality and productivity of a Southeast Asian Ministry’s technical vocational education and training (TVET) institutes
  • developing a literacy and numeracy improvement strategy for primary school students in a Middle East country
  • supporting the development of a five-year tourism development strategy for a major island destination in Asia
  • supporting the development of a national, economic transformation programme for a Southeast Asian government

Cheryl has also led research on Asian Millennial consumer patterns and workforce behavior in the travel and tourism industry, and on talent development solutions, particularly for entry-level positions. She supported the development and writing of McKinsey’s Center for Government global report, “Education to employment: Designing a system that works.”

Prior to joining McKinsey, Cheryl worked for a London-based think tank as an education policy analyst. During this period she conducted cross-country analyses of school system policies and outcomes, with an eye towards developing recommendations for the English context. Her research includes fieldwork experience in Canada, Sweden, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and England.

Published work

Spark & Sustain: How all of the world’s school systems can improve learning at scale,” McKinsey & Company, February 2024

How COVID-19 caused a global learning crisis,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

Cracking the world’s biggest business-travel market,” McKinsey & Company, July 2016

Unleashing Youth in Asia,” McKinsey & Company, October 2014


University of Oxford
MSc, comparative social policy (2005 Malaysian Rhodes Scholar)

Wesleyan University
BA, psychology and sociology (Freeman scholar)