Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class Of 2018

Lorelei Gertz

McKinsey Office: Paris, France

Hometown: Strasbourg, France

MBA Program, Concentration: INSEAD

Undergraduate School, Major: McGill University, Political Science

Focus of current engagement: Strategy and M&A for a large retail player

Why did you choose McKinsey? I chose McKinsey specifically because of the breadth of projects, quality of the people, and the ability to work on both local and international projects. McKinsey’s culture of being one firm across 60+ countries and many industries, functions and specialties is quite impressive. Any person in the firm is available for a quick chat at pretty much any time. This culture of sharing knowledge across the firm is a real strength. The learning opportunities for consultants and the ability to serve clients better because of our network, access and culture is extremely valuable.

What did you love about the business school you attended? That’s an easy answer since it’s hard to not talk about the diversity at INSEAD. Most of the work done throughout the year was completed in groups, so exposure to the diverse mix of the students and professors was all-pervading. The group work was an eye-opener in terms of diversity of responses and points of views linked to cultural backgrounds. This was not only a great way to learn about many cultures but also a way to question how our own reactions can be limited by our own education and background. More importantly, it is a lesson and a reminder about how we can almost always benefit from diversity in points of views.

What lesson from business school best prepared you for your career in consulting at McKinsey? Connecting with people in an honest way and taking the time to know your counterpart. As a consultant, we are regularly introduced to a new project, with a new team, within a new industry. Humility will help you work alongside clients and really listen and build on their internal expertise without imposing ready-made solutions.

What advice would you give to someone interviewing at McKinsey? Feedback culture is very important at McKinsey, and when done properly, can be of tremendous help for one’s development. Showing you are open to feedback and to identify areas for your own development will resonate with McKinsey’s culture as well as reveal humility.

Another important aspect is communication; stay structured. Start with your answer and then logically order your supporting ideas.

Who has had the biggest impact on you at McKinsey and how has she/he helped you? On my second project at McKinsey, I worked with a partner who was very open about some of the challenges that can be faced when working in consulting after your first professional experience. I was able to talk openly with him about aspects of the job that surprised me and he offered a lot of explanations on McKinsey approaches and advice for my future development. There are great mentors to be found everywhere at McKinsey and finding those you can truly connect with will bring you a lot of answers and support.

My greatest personal or professional accomplishment is…Following my BA in Canada, I moved to China, initially to study Mandarin for a year. I ended up staying for almost five years, working in renewable energies. To date, this was perhaps one of the best decisions I made. The years I spent in China definitely had an important impact in shaping my personality and my choices in life, thanks to my experiences there and the people I met.

A fun fact about me is…During my years in China, I had a short-lived violinist career. A friend of mine convinced me to accept a weekend job for an F&B advertising company touring the country to promote a product. I ended up playing violin in nightclubs in more than 30 cities, together with four Russian dancers and a South American saxophone player. It was all very unreal!

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