Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shadow Alum Initiative - McKinsey Delhi Office visit

McKinsey’s Delhi office is located in Sector 32, Plot No. 4 in Gurgaon. The office visit was scheduled for 12:30pm to 3pm on the day of our visit. Ours was a small group of just 4 people (Neha, Piyush, Swati and Vaibhav). We were greeted by Ruchi Kalra and Amit Jain. Below is a list of all the alums whom we met.

Amit Jain (Class of 08, HLL 4 yrs)
Neha Kalra (Class of 08, ITC 3 yrs)
Neha Mittal (Class of 08, Deloitte 2 yrs)
Sambit Sathapathy (Class of 03, ITC 11 yrs)
Vikas Chadha (Class of 07, L&T 6 yrs, Sharp 6 yrs)
Lav Agarwal (Class of 2005, HLL 5 yrs)
Raj Kamal (Class of 03, IAS 8 yrs)
Ruchi Kalra (Class of 07, Evalueserve 2 yrs)
Saket Pradhan (IIMA PGPX, 10 yrs)

I feel that the highlight of the visit was getting to know the work culture more closely instead of the usual projects or the life of a consultant at McKinsey.

Life at McKsiney
Our conversation started around trying to understand the work-life balance at Mckinsey. We spoke at length about different support systems available at McKinsey that help employees cope with their work mixed with travel and their personal lives. We got a first person account of this from Bharati, who is the recruiting coordinator at McKinsey. Since joining McKinsey, she had to quit the firm 3 times for personal reasons and was able to join back again. She also told us how flexible McKinsey was, and that the company was willing to work with her and gave her the option of working part time when she had to quit for personal reasons. Our conversation also revolved around the up-or-out policy that most of us are familiar with. It was pleasantly surprising when our alums told us that they know of no one who had been asked to quit. They admitted that on a day to day basis, work does get stressful, but that there are excellent support systems available to help employees to cope with it and the firm makes all possible efforts to retain its people.

Experiences of Alums
The alums shared some of their experiences with us and their motivation for being a part of McKinsey. A theme that resonated across all of them was the opportunity that McKinsey provides for individual development and personal growth. Each of them related a unique memorable experience at McKinsey. Besides this, Ruchi walked us through the different phases involved in a typical client engagement and answered some of the questions we had. The alums also highlighted McKinsey’s role in ensuring implementation of its recommendations after the consulting phase is over in order to ensure the client’s success.
Office tour
We also had a quick office tour where we got to know about the facilities available to employees. The office does not have cubicles for every employee since most people travel often. It instead has team rooms where different consulting teams work together on their projects. The McKinsey office also houses a Gymnasium and a cafeteria. There is also VA (Visual Aids) group dedicated exclusively to the Delhi office. This group provides support to the consulting teams by helping the teams with their PowerPoint and any other form of communication document that they want to present to the client. We also had a quick chat with a partner who shed some light on the clients served out of the Delhi office. The Delhi office serves clients in various sectors including power, healthcare, retail, infrastructure, real estate, technology, government, public sector, non-profit, media, etc.
Life after McKinsey
Towards the end we also talked about some exit options that consultants have. The alums were very open about discussing this topic. Around 20% of people leaving McKinsey go on to become entrepreneurs. Most others go on to join PE firms or some top management position in the industry, depending on the position from which they leave the firm. Quite a few of them also opt to work in the development sector with NGOs.

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