Research Analyst at McKinsey & Company
- Program studied
- Current Location
Q&A WITH ANGELA
How did you land your current position? Did IE help you in any way and, if so, how?
Throughout my time at IE I’ve periodically received recruiting emails from my current company, McKinsey, which were specifically addressed to German-speaking IE students. These emails are what initially sparked my interest in the firm. Later, as I started searching for jobs post-graduation, I remembered McKinsey and had a look at their website, which is where I found my current position. IE was; therefore, kind of a link to my current company, which I might not otherwise have considered applying to.
IE, and specifically my academic counsellor Laura Simons, moreover also helped me improve my CV and motivation letters throughout the years. Hence, when I applied to this research position at McKinsey, I already had essentially all my documents reviewed and ready to go.
Soon after I sent in my application documents, I was invited to an interview day, where I had 3 interviews right after one another. At the end of the day, I got the call that I was chosen for the role.
I believe the 3 main reasons I managed to land the job at McKinsey are my previous work experiences, the amount of time I spent preparing for the interviews, and the open-minded, international mindset we all get when studying in an environment like IE for several years. Therefore, I would definitely say IE has had an important impact on getting me to the position I am in today.
How did your experience at IEU prepare you for your professional career?
First, working in large, global companies requires the ability to work with people from different countries and cultural backgrounds – a skill we practice on a daily basis at IEU, both inside and outside the classroom.
Second, at IEU I have learnt to work hard, be disciplined with my time management, and be proactive about pursuing opportunities that interest me. I believe these qualities are tremendously helpful in any career.
Last but certainly not least, my time at IEU has taught me to approach challenging situations and obstacles in life from a hands-on, practical perspective, and most importantly, with a certain sense of humor.
What advice would you give to IEU students and alumni who are looking to pursue a career in the consulting industry?
Get exposure to different industries through internships and other work experiences prior to applying as that will later allow you to understand the cases you’ll be working on better and give you the opportunity to provide more valuable insights.
Make sure to have good Excel, PowerPoint, general math, and presentation skills. You will definitely need them to work in the industry.
Prepare really well for your interviews, learn how to solve cases and work under pressure, and never forget to smile, be open and ask questions during the selection days. Remember that they not only want to see your technical skills, but they also want to see if you are someone teams would enjoy spending (lots of) time with.
Be open-minded about the different career paths that exist within consulting. Many people are not aware of roles, such as my research position, for instance, which require quite different skill sets, knowledge areas, and working methods than “traditional” consultants do, yet they are also crucial in the consulting firm-client relationship. Find the one that suits you, your aspirations, and your working style most.
Tell us about the IEU alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and/or career
I have only been a member of the IEU alumni community since quite recently but, above all, the community has always served as an inspiration and a guidance for me to see where I can potentially get career-wise with my IEU education. Moreover, I have made great friends who are within the community, who I would not want to ever miss.
Why do you think it’s important to engage with the IEU alumni community?
I would say the community is a great place to find people to give you advice on how to get into certain job positions you’re interested in. Once I have made my current position public, for example, several members of the community have reached out to me to ask me questions about the consulting industry, the firm I work for, and my job in particular, and I have always been happy to provide them with answers and tips.
Moreover, if you move to a new city or a new country, like I have for my current job, it is comforting to know that there will most likely be other members of the IE alumni community who you can reach out to and connect to in your new home.
What skills would you recommend job seekers develop in order to make them more competitive in today’s workforce?
I would recommend making sure you have good IT skills. No matter the position, they are always considered valuable. Furthermore, use the opportunity at IE to learn how to be a hands-on problem solver, who can work well in a team. Lastly, find a topic that interests you and really focus on developing your knowledge and skills around that. I believe, if you can demonstrate a clear interest and can show that you have put time and effort into further developing that interest, you’ll stand out a lot more to future employers. (And don’t worry if you have several interests. Just focus on developing one for now, you can always switch later. This is just to have a first steppingstone to get into the job world.)
What’s the best career advice you have ever been given?
Don’t forget to smile in an interview and show you’re a cool/interesting/nice person to work with, who treats others well. At the end of the day, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your future colleagues and no one wants to work with an unpleasant person in their team, even if they have the greatest technical abilities.
And a bonus one, specifically of importance to girls: be confident and don’t undersell yourself! You are talented and deserve this opportunity at least as much as the next candidate – don’t tell yourself otherwise and limit your possibilities.
What is the competitive advantage that studying at IEU provides or has provided you?
The most valuable thing IEU teaches us is the ability to find concrete solutions to various problems we’re confronted with in an independent and proactive manner. We learn that in our various assignments, moot court competitions, etc., but also simply by navigating through the messy reality that can be living abroad, visa processes, learning new languages, making friends from different backgrounds, amongst others. And this is a skill that makes us stand out in the professional world.
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