Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class of 2021: Kara Limchiu

Kara Limchiu

McKinsey Office: London, UK

Hometown: Metro Manila, Philippines

MBA Program, Concentration: INSEAD

Undergraduate School, Major: University of the Philippines, Chemical Engineering

Why did you choose McKinsey?  I chose McKinsey for the opportunity to create impact at scale. I wanted to help solve the most pressing global issues that our generation is facing while learning from some of the most brilliant people working to solve these problems. Since joining the firm I’ve worked on launching a non-profit centered on diversity, climate change strategy, and green business building – guess I got my wish!

What did you love about the business school you attended?  I loved how diverse it was. We had five different nationalities in my study group of five people! Working with a diverse group of people broadened my perspective and helped refine my world view. I felt we came up with the most creative and out-of-the-box ideas when we came together as a team and built on each other’s experiences and ideas.

What lesson or skill did you learn from training (formal or informal) at McKinsey and how has it helped in your role?  It was how to look at things from multiple perspectives. At McKinsey, you not only have to go deep into the details, but you also always have to keep the big picture in mind. It’s always about top down.

Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. In my fourth engagement at the firm, we worked on building a new green fuels business from scratch. We were working with very senior stakeholders and making decisions that wouldn’t just affect the company, but future generations as well. One thing I realized was that at McKinsey everyone’s voice is treated with respect and value, and this gets reflected towards the client’s as well. Knowing this increased my confidence in sharing my insights in the midst of world-changing work that would go to very senior stakeholders.

Tell us something you’ve learned about yourself or something that brought you closer to teammates or clients during the COVID-19 pandemic?  Virtual team events! My favourite was when we did a Japanese tea ceremony! One of my teammates was from Japan and we learned about the customs and traditions of doing a tea ceremony and the rationale behind them. We even made our own tea in the end!

What advice would you give someone interviewing at McKinsey? Let your personality shine! Don’t try to mold yourself into what you think a good consultant should be – be yourself and let the consulting part adjust to who you are.  One way to be unique and memorable in the interviews is to just be yourself.

Who has had the biggest impact on you at McKinsey and how has she/he helped you? My husband of course – Irvinder Noor Singh is also at the firm and he’s one of the most brilliant individuals you’ll ever meet!  He’s my sounding board for all things within and outside the firm! From the engagements I’ve done, Chantal Cox George, the engagement manager on my first study, was such an amazing coach and mentor. He was really committed to my development and made the effort to set me up for success at the firm.

My most meaningful achievement (professional or personal) and how it made a difference is… Starting (and then selling) a business! I built an e-commerce gifting business from the ground up. It involved a lot of creativity, and I eventually sold the business. In my current study, I’m working on green business building – but at a much larger scale. It’s a combination of engineering and business and something I want to continue pursuing at the firm given my background as both an engineer (ex-Shell) and business builder.

A fun fact about me is… I like experimenting with different cuisines. My most recent experiment was making a Korean egg drop sandwich!


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