McKinsey @ AUBG
Contributing author: Boban Markovic
A big corporate name, four gentlemen in suits, a PowerPoint, some wine waiting in front… everything an aspiring business analyst could ask for. When AUBG students welcomed McKinsey & Co to campus last Monday, Sept 30, this was exactly what they found.
Instead of meeting just “a partner,” “an associate partner,” or an “engagement manager and associate,” AUBGers met four splendid gentlemen: Levi, Boyan, Georgi and Nemanja. Down to earth with a good sense of humor and relaxed but still highly professional, the four started an inspiring story which might change the lives of many AUBGers.
With excitement and pride, and without a pinch of arrogance, they reminded AUBGers of what McKinsey means. McKinsey & Co is a leading global management consulting firm with 102 offices around the world (by the time you check their website, this number will increase). The fact that they serve and advise 90% of the world’s 100 largest companies and use 127 languages is enough to stimulate your imagination. However, our guests didn’t spend much time presenting something that can be found on a Wikipedia site or the corporate homepage.
AUBG alumni Georgi and Nemanja provided insights on what working for McKinsey looks like. The company offers a wide array of options. During the first year or two, the new business analysts work across a broad range of industries such as telecommunication, finance, media, energy and many others, to build knowledge and leadership skills. As the third year begins, opportunities expand. One can choose to work for an office in a different country, travel around the world, or advise important clients in public or private sectors. Another option is to continue your professional development at a graduate school with the firm’s financial support (read: INSEAD, Wharton, Sloan, Kellogg…). The alternative is a partner position. Whether you choose to stay with McKinsey or to pursue a different career path after a few years, you will have gained a rich network of connections, incredible knowledge and a world class experience.
One might say it is not worth it if you are going to spend five years in a cubicle with a spreadsheet waiting for you every day. As Boyan pointed out, this doesn’t happen at McKinsey. Work is dynamic and rewarding. You travel, communicate with world class customers, and feel fulfilled when you know you’ve made an impact. Outside of work, options still keep on accumulating – sports activities, community service, social events, office retreats and whatever else you can handle.
Apparently with McKinsey you know where you are at every point and you could easily predict what lies ahead. From day one you face the policy “up-or-out.” In other words, you use enormous possibilities to develop and grow or you look for another job. If you choose the former, your performance will be tracked and you will be entrusted with more power and responsibility and offered a chance to grow even more. It’s the place where meritocracy is the only measure of your success. It may sound unbelievable that you can find a job without having to fulfill “newbie” tasks like brewing coffee, translating ads and bringing doughnuts, doesn’t it? If you get there, you are treated like a team member – with respect and dignity.
But how do you get there? The answer is not “go to our web site, see the requirements and apply.” Levi, Boyan, Georgi and Nemanja went into various details in explaining the procedure. The event suggested where to find sample case studies, how to prepare, what to expect at the interviews, whom to contact for advice and further questions and for which offices to apply. Boyan noted that you can be a sergeant, a philosopher, an architect or radio reporter and still work for McKinsey. Also, Nemanja shared an interesting anecdote – he left the office for a week and by the time he came back his 29-year-old colleague with a degree in philosophy and ethics became the Minister of Finance in Serbia. Basically, you don’t need a business background – just analytical skills, people skills, professional behavior and eagerness to learn and work.
It is interesting to note that when the lecture started just a few people expressed a desire to apply for a job – but by the end of it, almost everyone in the auditorium raised their hands. After the lecture and a round of applause, the students present had the opportunity to mingle and get more insights from McKinsey representatives.
McKinsey’s representatives Mr. Levente Janoskuti, Partner, Mr. Boyan Stefov, Associate Partner, Mr. Georgi Konov, Engagement Manager (AUBG alumnus) and Mr. Nemanja Grujicic, Associate Manager (AUBG alumnus) were surrounded by students for quite some time after the presentation, and many students shared the opinion that the event was truly impressive and “there should be more events like that at AUBG.”