This is a profile image of Julia Paykin

Julia Paykin

Engagement ManagerLondon

McKinsey’s professional development is world class. It has helped me define who I want to be as a consultant and leader and develop the skills I need to be successful. 

Making my own McKinsey

Everyone makes his or her own individual journey at McKinsey. I came to McKinsey to explore different industries, projects, and problems. Because the London office is quite big, the opportunities for exploration are endless. With help from my colleagues, who introduced me to people in different sectors and functions, I was able to explore a different industry with each project I took during my first year and a half at the firm. What’s the secret to successfully exploring? I have found that it is important to keep one thing constant—whether it’s working with the same colleagues, solving a similar problem, or staying within one industry. That said, this has been “my” McKinsey, and you are free to make your own.

Developing professionally

McKinsey’s professional development is world class. It has helped me define who I want to be as a consultant and leader and develop the skills I need to be successful. With topics ranging from mindfulness to centred leadership to advanced analytics, the trainings are diverse and meaningful. The leadership-development trainings are among my favourites because they encourage me to introspect and understand how to leverage my existing strengths as a leader. I also like that I can sign up for trainings based on my interests. For example, I am now a certified advanced-analytics translator.

Developing personally

At McKinsey, I have also learned how to solve problems more efficiently as well as how to communicate more effectively. Both skills translate to life outside of work and have helped me grow as an individual. Now, when faced with a problem outside of work—whether it is my own, a friend’s, or a family member’s—I am able to solve it quickly and confidently.

Collaborating at McKinsey

Getting to an answer at McKinsey is a highly collaborative process, where every voice counts—whether you’re a senior partner with 20 years of experience or it’s your first week on the job. I’ve always been inspired by how we encourage people to voice their opinions and truly foster diversity of thought. And the longer I am at the firm, the more amazed I am at the quality of readily available expertise. We have expertise on every topic, from predictive maintenance in manufacturing to palm-tree-oil production. During one of my studies, I was impressed at how quickly a senior expert in Indonesia was willing to make time to discuss the future of transportation with me.

Handling work–life balance

At McKinsey, we are encouraged to take responsibility for our work–life balance. But I was surprised to find that we are also supported in achieving the right balance. I’ve exceeded my expectations for a balanced life, which includes spending time with my family and prioritizing activities that give me energy and happiness.

Preparing for your interview at McKinsey

Focus as much energy on preparing your personal stories as you do on preparing your case studies. Often, people overprepare the case but neglect the “fit” interview part. Be sure to take time to think about who you are as a person and how to frame your experiences. 


London Business School

McGill University
BEng, chemical engineering