Costa Rica Office History
Today McKinsey Costa Rica is home to a diverse set of functions that form an intrinsic part of the daily impact the firm delivers to its clients. The success that the center has achieved over the past 5 years is a clear example that we are more than colleagues and functions - we are a growing family, and we plan to keep growing!
However all this success didn’t fall out of thin air either … it all started back at 2010, when a talented group of people had one big task ahead: set up a McKinsey office from scratch in Costa Rica.
Why Costa Rica? It’s simple. Costa Rica offers a very highly skilled labor market of professionals, and is aligned with the Americas time zone, which makes it even more attractive for international companies to expand their operations to Central America.
The first thing that had to be done: real estate. We started in a tiny space while our offices were getting ready. We put a lot of effort to create the McKinsey brand in our space combined with the Costa Rican feeling and warmth of the people. That’s why all of our premises use protected Costa Rican wood.
“Literally, we waited for trees to fall!” – Bjorn Meyer (Visual Graphics & Design Center Director, Toronto Office)
We also made sure that tropical colors and vibes were used. Our facilities are testament to the Costa Rican culture, with meetings happening in rooms named “Tortuguero” or “Irazu”, and printing done on a network printer called “Chirripo”. Even though we are continuously growing, it is important for the Costa Rica office to keep that distinctive family feel that characterizes Costa Ricans so well.
With the office ready, our next challenge was: how were we going to fill all that space? We knew top talent existed in Costa Rica, now we needed to find the best of them to start operations.
Our IT Global Helpdesk and the Visual Graphics & Design Center teams were the first two functions to join the Costa Rica family. We trained the first 15 colleagues that joined us and successfully started providing world-class service. Many of those 15 colleagues are still here with us; they can definitely tell you some cool and funny stories about these exciting first 5 years!
"I remember how our internet connection was cut one day way back then and we could not figure out why - till we realized that we had completely missed the bill ( which by the way used to be thrown into our little basement window). With little or no Spanish then, and a lot of help from our band of 6 colleagues, I had figured out how to run to the ATM , get some money and pay the bill in record time for 45 minutes. Pura Vida ! Love this place and all my friends.” – Kiran Ramnane (Colleague from the Toronto Office)
A truly diverse office
Our office is as multicultural as the United Nations. We have colleagues from Canada, US, Australia, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and India, and all of them have found Costa Rica as a warm home away from home. Today the McKinsey Costa Rica Center is home to the most diverse functions compared to other shared service centers around the world.
“Costa Rican experience for me was an adventure when I first came here. My first impressions of a welcoming and caring family so far from home has stayed true 4 years on! I loved the experience of learning a new language – Spanish, Tico style – as soon as I moved here. So different from my native Indian language, and so enriching to help me settle into my new home” – Liz George (Colleague from the Trivamdrum Office who moved to Costa Rica in 2010).
Build your own McKinsey History!
It has definitely been a very exciting experience for all of us to be a part of this history. We faced challenges and we successfully overcame them. At the very beginning we had no idea if we were going to make it, but we had high hopes in this country and we’ve had amazing results! Costa Ricans are genuinely interested in expanding their knowledge, and there is definitely exceptional leadership talent! We are proud of our history and we are committed to keep building this center with exceptional talent.
“The SJO Center is my home away from home. Ever since my first trip to SJO in 2009 I have been blown away by the friendliness of colleagues there. I have so many great memories of the center from starting in the basement of Ultra Park 1 (worrying about paying the internet and phone bills ) to moving to the fantastic space we have now. From my first earthquake to our first Values Day, every moment has been one to cherish.” – Kiran Ramnane