Meet the McKinsey MBA Class of 2021: 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 problems facing our generation while learning from some of the brightest people working to solve those problems. Since joining the company, I’ve worked on launching a nonprofit focused on diversity, climate change strategy, and building green businesses – I guess I’ve granted my wish!

What did you like about the business school you attended? I loved its diversity. We had five different nationalities in my five-person study group! Working with a diverse group of people has broadened my perspective and helped sharpen my worldview. I felt we came up with the most creative and original ideas when we came together as a team and drew on each other’s experiences and ideas.

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

Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. On my fourth engagement with the firm, we worked to build a new green fuels business from scratch. We were working with very high-level stakeholders and making decisions that would not only affect the company, but also future generations. One thing I’ve come to realize is that at McKinsey, everyone’s voice is treated with respect and value, and that’s reflected in the customer’s as well. Knowing this, I increased my confidence in sharing my ideas in the midst of world-changing work that would be entrusted to very high-level stakeholders.

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

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

Who has had the most impact on you at McKinsey and how has he/she helped you? My husband of course – Irvinder Noor Singh is also in the firm and he is one of the brightest people you will ever meet! He is my sounding board for everything that happens inside and outside the firm! From the assignments I’ve done, Chantal Cox George, the assignment lead when I first studied, was an amazing coach and mentor. He was truly committed to my development and made the effort to set me up for success within the company.

My most significant achievement (professional or personal) and how it made a difference is… Start (and then resell) a business! I built an e-commerce giveaway business from the ground up. It involved a lot of creativity and I eventually sold the business. In my current study, I work on building green businesses – but on a much larger scale. It’s a combination of engineering and business and something I want to continue to pursue within the company given my experience both as an engineer (ex-Shell) and as a creator of ‘business.

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

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