Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class Of 2017

Shaina Milleman

McKinsey Office: Chicago

Hometown: Charleston, SC

MBA Program: University of Chicago (Booth)

Undergraduate School, Major: Clemson University, Chemical Engineering

Focus of current engagement: Transformation – Operations

Why did you choose McKinsey? For me, it was simple: opportunity, resources, and people whom I aspire to be like. I knew by joining the firm, I could build on my existing expertise, while being rapidly exposed to challenges in industries and functions outside my experience. The firm’s resources are very focused on allowing consultants to do their best work – this means providing us with tools that make everyday tasks more efficient. Lastly, the opportunity to work with people whom I greatly admired and wanted to be like one day, and whom I knew would not only push me professionally, but also support me along the way.

What lesson from business school best prepared you for your career in consulting at McKinsey? Be willing to put your pride aside and admit when you need help. Everyone in business school has an impressive background and a natural area of expertise. Depending on the class, you may be a rock star or you may be the person who feels like the only one hearing about a concept for the first time. Despite a little hit to my pride, I found I learned the most when I sought help from my classmates in subjects in which I had the least experience. At McKinsey, the pace of work is fast and the expectation to deliver is high – if you are struggling in a particular area, the sooner you admit it and ask for help, the more successful you’ll be.

Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. There are quite a few that come to mind, but a recent moment was jamming out to the extremely talented Chicago McKinsey band while catching up with my colleagues during our weekly Friday happy hour. It made me stop and realize it doesn’t matter what the activity is or subject of discussion, someone around you is going to be amazingly and unexpectedly good in a really inspiring and energizing way.

What advice would you give to someone interviewing at McKinsey?
Be authentic. Be real with yourself on why you want to work at McKinsey and what makes you interested in a career in consulting.  Also, relax and enjoy the process. You have the opportunity to meet so many great people who are genuinely interested in getting to know you – at the end of the day, the interview process is about people talking to people.

What do you expect to be doing in 5-10 years? It’s hard to be extremely specific at this point, so I’ll give a more general answer. We all want to be impactful and find meaning in our work.  I want to look back and be proud of how I’ve spent my time professionally.  I hope that in 5 – 10 years, I will mimic those I admire so much today and be excited about each day ahead of me.

My greatest personal or professional accomplishment is…As a native South Carolinian, making it through five Chicago winters.

A fun fact about me is…I recently survived a crash landing on the beach while hang-gliding in Rio. I was visiting Brazil to watch my friend (and now colleague) tie the knot.