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Kumaran Nathan

Associate, London

My favourite aspect of problem solving at McKinsey is the lack of hierarchy. I’ve disagreed with senior partners, and they always receive this with enthusiasm and curiosity. 

My Path to McKinsey

I grew up in Australia. After graduation, I worked as an electrical engineer at Australia’s largest electrical utility, before deciding to pursue a PhD. Based on my interest in the integration of renewables into the grid, I decided to go to Cambridge where I spent four incredible years researching and playing ice hockey for the university. It was the latter that led me to McKinsey, as it was a hockey teammate and close friend who suggested consulting, a career path I hadn’t previously considered.

Choosing McKinsey

During the last year of my PhD, I met fantastic people from a range of companies. Ultimately, I decided on McKinsey because of its staffing model, scale, and global structure. With projects running across a variety of industries, functions, and geographies, consultants have more opportunities to undertake work that truly excites them. Since joining the firm, I’ve had a strong say in the projects I work on, often choosing between multiple interesting options.

Rewarding and Meaningful Experiences

Some of my favourite projects have been in Private Equity, where I’ve had the opportunity to do several due diligences. I love these because within two to three weeks you’ve spoken with the world’s leading experts and quickly become aware of all the ins and outs of an industry. I’m not sure I’ve ever learned so much in such a short time.

Another memorable project was helping a large power company manage their transition to a portfolio of renewable assets. Not only was I able to draw on my previous engineering experience, but I was incredibly excited that my work meant a step towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

Non-hierarchical culture

My favourite aspect of problem solving at McKinsey is the lack of hierarchy. I’ve disagreed with senior partners, and they always receive this with enthusiasm and curiosity. They are excited to understand views they may not have considered and potentially change the path forward based on my input.

The People at McKinsey

McKinsey is filled with diverse, truly exceptional individuals. One of my most interesting colleagues is a U.S. Marine with a background in leading teams and working with senior military leaders. Surprisingly, I find him relaxed and incredibly fun; thanks to him, our team spoke exclusively in military jargon. I did my initial training with Germany’s second female fighter pilot, who also happened to be one of Germany’s first female astronauts. I’ve also worked with people who were previously medical doctors, PhDs, and start-up cofounders.

Advice for those considering McKinsey

I think McKinsey is the perfect place for people who crave variety in their work, are interested in understanding how businesses work, and want to develop a skillset complementary to what is typically gained from working in an academic setting. Compared to an academic pathway, it’s a very different pace and lifestyle. It is certainly less predictable, though I think that is what makes this place so fun! 

Education

University of Newcastle, Australia
BEng, electrical engineering

University of Cambridge
PhD, engineering (with a research focus on renewable energy)