"You need to prove that you can show initiative to find new opportunities and deliver on them."
After graduating from McGill University, Julien started being interested in a career in management consulting. Doing a master’s degree in Management from a reputable institution thus became key in reaching his goals.
Given the fierce competition of the market, Julien knew he had to work hard at IE to try to stand out as much as possible, which is why he was very involved both inside and outside of class.
Julien Somogyi, Switzerland
Junior Associate at McKinsey
- Program studied
By Martin Fontaine (IE Master in Management February 2018 intake).
Can you please tell us briefly about your new job (functions/company/industry)?
I joined McKinsey as a fellow, which is the equivalent of a junior associate.
My responsibilities as a fellow is to perform analyses based on client’s data, prepare and conduct presentations for internal leadership and clients. Our recommendations synthetize the insights that our team gathered over the course of the project we are staffed on.
So far, I have been working predominantly in three industries: Pharmaceuticals, Banking and Consumer Goods. Most of my work has revolved around the commercials functions (e.g., sales, products growth, market-entry). I have worked in both Europe and the U.S.
How was the recruiting process: How many interviews, any tests etc.?
The recruitment process is tough but clear.
I had to send my CV along with my academic records (both from undergrad and IE) and a cover letter. Then I got invited to the interview day. The process was very pleasant as the HR coordinator made sure I had enough time to prepare for the interview and even provided me with a coach (a current consultant from McKinsey) for a 1-hour session before the big day. I did not have to do any test, but I know some office have a numerical test to pass.
I had five interviews (mix of personal experiences questions and cases): three in the morning with managers and junior partners and two in the afternoon with partners from the Swiss office. I received the positive answer the same day by one of the partners.
Would you want to share any tips or advice with students interested in applying to McKinsey? To your job position in particular?
I think preparation is key, and it is long. Take your time before applying, make sure your CV and cover letter are on point. Contact some people who work in the industry for advice, they will provide precious tips on what to expect as a consultant, how to apply, when to apply and it will generally be perceived positively by the recruiters if they know you actively contacted some consultants within the company. I think it is way better to send a few very good and tailored applications to the companies you really want to join than to apply to hundreds of them generically.
For how long do you see yourself at McKinsey? What is the promotion structure within the firm?
I don’t know yet how long I will stay. For now, I enjoy the ride and try to get the most out of this very special job. McKinsey, as other Consulting firms, has an up-or-out policy, meaning if you don’t get promoted within the planned timeline, you are counselled to leave. You are generally promoted every 2 to 3 years if your performance is within the norm of the firm.
What is the average length of projects you are working on? Any particular one you found particularly interesting?
The average length of a project is 6 to 8 weeks. I have really enjoyed working in the e-cigarettes space as I felt like this was very much aligned with the trends I witness on a daily basis in my environment. The advice I would give to students who want to go into Consulting, or any other position that require distinctiveness, is to proactively seek for opportunities outside the classroom. I know this sounds ‘cliché’ but entrepreneurship and ambition are appreciated by any employer. You need to show to you can go out of your way to find opportunities and deliver on them without anyone asking for it. I personally participated to business case competitions in St. Gallen (Switzerland) with a classmate, went to a Google “innovation” day, and was active in different clubs on campus. It definitely helped me to land job opportunities and it was really fun!