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Design Lead, Singapore

Bring the best of yourself to the table

Won over by inspiring individuals

Coming off sabbatical, I was seeking new growth experiences, especially in my first love—public-sector work. While I was interviewing, I happened to sit in on a senior leaders' meeting that was helmed by two McKinsey partners; watching them increased my curiosity to join. Since joining the firm, I’ve witnessed firsthand the intense focus of the inspiring individuals we have at all levels in the firm. It’s galvanizing to be in the midst of a community of people who, in their own ways and areas of expertise, are here to stand for something bigger and are going to put skin in the game for it.

Designing for human needs

My role entails going out of the office and into people’s everyday realities to derive insights for organizations. Working closely with clients has showed me how radically different technological-adoption appetites can be in Asian cities, at their respective growth stages, and what drives citizens to think and behave the way they do. It’s been a great journey, bringing the deep understanding that comes from ethnographic research to bear upon the daunting business challenges we help clients tackle—from logistics to banking and government services—and unearthing the nuanced human factors that can either help or hinder strategic efforts to ultimately better serve people.

Leading by learning

We have a commitment to being a learning organization, and you can see this in the thoughtful investment we have placed in formal training platforms online and in person, and in the fact that it is peer colleagues taking time out to deliver content as faculty—passing down tacit consulting skills that can’t be wholly codified in a textbook. Sharing knowledge happens equally in and out of the office: it’s in conversation, coffee catchups, and plain interactions that I derive a lot of learning by osmosis as well, where it is not just the intellectual content but the character of the person that inspires.

Balancing autonomy with accountability

What has surprised me about the firm is the unique way in which we balance individual autonomy with collective accountability. “Make your own McKinsey” is an oft-repeated phrase at the firm, which to me encourages everyone to take on the challenge, and expresses the firm's commitment to keeping our culture diverse and evolving. I was, in addition, surprised during my training program for new hires to learn how much of a focus there was on the human, empathic aspects of consulting, which made me feel immediately more at home—that I’d made the right choice to be here.


Brandeis University
BA, English literature and East Asian studies