McKinsey & Company Helps CWiB Members Find Meaningful Careers

meditateBy Amanda Ernst, ’14

First year CBS students have been going through the rigors of recruiting for summer internships since late September. So by the week after Thanksgiving, most recruiting students have a good idea of which companies they’ll be applying for and where they want to work this summer. They are also tired and drained from two months of presentations and networking, on top of a full load of core classes.

It was with this in mind that about 20 CWiB members met with representatives from consulting firm McKinsey & Company on the evening of November 26. These CBS women were there to learn about leadership, but also to meet some female leaders within the company and learn about some of the professional development and diversity programs offered by the firm. After a few minutes, however, attendees could see this was no typical recruiting event.

Though recruiting is a big part of the fall semester for many CBS students, there are also a large population that chooses not to go through on-campus recruiting for a variety of reasons. These students may be looking to work in other industries besides finance and consulting that don’t stick to a traditional recruiting schedule, or they might be sponsored by their employer, for example. But this particular recruiting event held insights for all students — not just those recruiting or looking to go into consulting.

Kate Hastings, an Engagement Manager in McKinsey’s Stamford office, first talked about what makes women different types of leaders than men. She discussed “centered leadership,” a model developed by McKinsey that highlights five themes successful leaders exhibit, such as meaning, energizing and connecting. People who learn these behaviors increase their personal fulfillment and, in turn, inspire others to follow. To illustrate these concepts Hastings asked the women in attendance to get into groups of three and discuss a meaningful moment that happened to them recently at school or work. The small groups talked about why these moments were memorable and important to them, and then everyone shared common themes with the group. The things that you find meaningful are the very same things you should seek out in your future career in order for it to be fulfilling, Hastings pointed out.

Lastly, Hastings had three steps for CWiB members to follow in order to be successful in future careers:

  • Play to your strengths
  • Aim higher
  • Take risks to be amazing

She also asked attendees to think about 5 qualities they each possessed that made them special and unique. What were they most proud of? What excited them to get out of bed? Thinking on these qualities can help you to discover your “signature strength,” such as humility or temperance. Those women in attendance left with a better sense of their selves, what they needed in order to have a meaningful career and what they could bring to the table in the form of their “signature strength.”

No matter how exhausted everyone there was, we were empowered by the idea of taking our careers in our own hands and we left ready to take on the world. We just have to finish that marketing paper first…

Amanda Ernst is the AVP of Communications and Technology for CWiB

Photo via flickr by jessebezz

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About cwib blog

Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) is an organization that strives to provide Columbia Business School women with resources and contacts to assist them in their academic, professional, and personal development. CWIB is committed to working with faculty, administrators, alumni and the greater business community to promote the role of and opportunities for women in business.
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