Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class Of 2017

Kat Recto

McKinsey Office: New York City

Hometown: Manila, Philippines

MBA Program: Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

Undergraduate School, Major: Ateneo de Manila University, Management Engineering

Focus of current engagement: Smart capex for a telecommunications company.

Why did you choose McKinsey? McKinsey offered the perfect combination: being in the Marketing and Sales practice; working in New York; an exciting and challenging environment; a culture of mentorship; and kind people I love working with every day. Coming out of business school, I realized I didn’t want to hone in on a specific industry just yet. I wanted to keep learning and exploring while developing expertise in marketing. The firm serves Fortune 500 clients in a spectrum of industries and functions. I love that my day to day changes. I’m constantly surrounded by talented people who are so willing to share what they know. I’m truly amazed by the work we do and by the people I work with.

What lesson from business school best prepared you for your career in consulting at McKinsey? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The people I met at Kellogg were as humble as they were brilliant. There were so many times when I felt like the person in the room who knew the least. At first, I found it uncomfortable, but I realized you are presented with an opportunity to learn from your friends. I find the same experience true at McKinsey. On any new project, you may come in feeling like you know nothing. There are resources available to help you do well such experts, best practices, and knowledge documents. I’ve had teammates willingly explain concepts I didn’t understand, even drawing them out on a whiteboard to make sure I can follow.

Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. I was in the middle of a meeting where I was the most junior member of the team. The meeting was not directly related to my workstream, so I stayed in a corner of the room expecting to just listen in. The partner on my study moves his chair to the side and motions for me to join the circle. He also passes me a note encouraging me to speak up when I was comfortable doing so. That was a simple act that made a lasting impression on me and spoke volumes about this truly encouraging environment. People are inclusive and want to see you shine. Everyone has a voice, no matter your tenure or depth of expertise.

What advice would you give to someone interviewing at McKinsey? Preparing for case interviews can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never cased before. Instead of feeling anxious about the process, try to think of it as a time to evaluate how much you will like the job. The more cases I did, the more I realized that this was something I would enjoy doing. Consulting prep takes time and simulates what we really do.

I would also advise you to connect with consultants at the office you’re interested in. Don’t do it for the sake of networking, but really get to know the people and the culture. These could be your teammates on a project or people you would hang out with after office hours. I met some of my co-summer interns and knew I had to accept my offer. They’ve been such a good support system in a city where I didn’t know a lot of people.

What do you expect to be doing in 5-10 years? I want to be a partner at McKinsey and create opportunities for women to rise to senior leadership. I see myself actively involved in recruitment efforts and ensuring we continually create a diverse, inclusive environment where people from different backgrounds can succeed. I see myself achieving work life balance – spending sufficient quality time with family, growing in faith, maintaining good health, and winning with clients and colleagues. I expect to still feel like myself and find something to smile about every day.

My greatest personal or professional accomplishment is…It would be moving to New York the day after graduation and building all my furniture with my own hands. It’s not easy adjusting to a new city and overcoming homesickness. I finally feel like Manila and New York are both home. Yay!

A fun fact about me is…I find baking therapeutic. I have a secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies I bake for people I care about. If I bake for you, you must be special.

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