Q&A with Clair
1. What did you know about McKinsey before joining the firm?
Very little – but once I started doing the necessary due diligence (asking family and friends and extensively Googling McKinsey) I knew it was pretty special. When I walked into reception on the first day and met my colleagues, my initial feelings were confirmed - I wanted to work at McKinsey. Unlike other large firms, there is something very unique about working here. Even though I was new, I felt respected and very much part of the team, and it didn’t take me very long to begin expanding my network within the Costa Rica Knowledge Center and much further afield. This helped me in terms of building strong foundations, really learning about the way McKinsey works and consequently identifying areas where I could make the most impact.
2. How has the firm impacted in your life?
McKinsey has been key to how much I have grown as an individual in the past couple of years. I have come to recognize my journalistic abilities and have kicked my fear of presenting in public to the curb. I now play an active role in new starter training and can say that instead of shying away from this, I very much look forward to it.
3.How has been your development/ career trajectory in the firm?
I started at McKinsey as a Knowledge Operations Administrator and was promoted to Coordinator after a year. Aside from my core responsibilities, I have also been given the opportunity to participate in several exciting multi-media projects.
4.What is your most memorable moment in McKinsey?
The past three years have gone past so quickly, but I have lots of memorable moments. The work environment in Knowledge is fantastic and I look forward to spending time with my colleagues. My biggest highlight to date, from a journalistic perspective, would be the video interview with Dominic Barton. I would also say that my internal communications have helped get the word out in terms of how much of an impact the Costa Rica Knowledge Center continues to enjoy.
5.What adjective best define the firm?
Innovative – The firm is very much about innovation and the Costa Rica Knowledge Center is recognized for this. I have the pleasure of working with some fantastically intelligent and talented people, and whenever I learn about a new tool that someone has designed or an engagement they have been involved in, it makes me feel really proud that I get the opportunity to work alongside them.
Dynamic – As the Costa Rica Knowledge Center continues to grow, it’s clear to see how dynamic the firm is in terms of how colleagues welcome change, have a positive mindset, and are skilled in finding solutions. The Costa Rica Knowledge Center is well known throughout the firm for being a great place to work and I think that has a lot to do with its dynamic environment.
6. Is the promise of doing “work that matters” at McKinsey just a marketing hook, or is it something that you found to be true in practice?
I would answer that by saying it really is up to the individual to determine whether they feel they are doing work that matters.
Although the Costa Rica Knowledge Center is not client facing, I can say we have become well known throughout the firm for the work that we do. There are several colleagues that have been directly involved in client engagements and many who have successfully defined their own knowledge spikes.
What makes the Costa Rica Knowledge Center truly unique is the amount of Practices that have teams here, which really opens up a lot of opportunities in terms of identifying areas where you can have the most impact.
7. It is said that you can make your own McKinsey. Have you seen examples of that in your short time with the firm?
I’ve experienced this first hand – and it’s something I admit I talk a lot about when I deliver the new-starter training. You can make your own McKinsey. I have also seen plenty of my colleagues begin with an idea, identified a Knowledge white-space, and become known throughout the firm for their expertise. I feel that the continuous innovation that the Firm has become synonymous with is a direct of result of folks feeling that they can explore areas they feel most passionate about.
8.What keeps you coming every day?
Knowing that another day brings with it a whole new set of exciting opportunities, opportunities to start exciting new projects, talk to colleagues from around the globe and learn more about new initiatives my friends are working on in the Costa Rica Knowledge Center.
9. How do you find balance between work and your personal life?
As I mentioned before, I have grown as an individual since being at McKinsey and this has really helped me recognize what I enjoy doing most. The time that I spend outside of McKinsey is in many ways enhanced by the time I spend at work and vice-versa. I enjoy my work at McKinsey so don’t have this mindset of dreading Mondays – after all I get to work with many of my closest friends and I genuinely enjoy what I do.
I enjoying reading the latest advances in the realm of business, so the line between what I do at McKinsey and how I spend my downtime is a little bit blurred in that sense. I meditate and rollerblade, and continue to work on improving my cooking skills. I also love watching British comedies.