Meet Alethia, a Manager
who transferred to Chicago in 2017
Having spent all her life in Singapore, she wanted to accelerate her personal growth, explore new cultures and indulge her love of travel
What were the factors that made you want to transfer?
There were 3 factors in my decision. Firstly, personal development. I believed mobility would be a good opportunity to expose myself to different cultures, different backgrounds and try something new. Secondly, professional growth. Transferring offices would allow me to get a global understanding of the industry by working with different types of clients. Thirdly, traveling. I’ve grown up and spent all my life in Singapore, so I felt it was the right moment for me to start a new chapter of my life. I had always enjoyed my travelling experiences in the US, so I thought moving to the Chicago office would be a good choice.
What was the process of transferring like?
Before the transfer, the entire leadership team was very supportive of my decision, and thought it was a great personal development opportunity. During the transfer, the HR team and McKinsey’s mobility coordinators took care of all logistical aspects, guiding me every step of the way. When I finally reached Chicago, I got support from both the Singapore and Chicago teams. My new colleagues shared with me lists of places to go, where to stay, and the all-important - how to survive Chicago’s winters!
What did the change in location mean for your role and responsibilities?
Though clients and working styles differ, the day-to-day work is similar across the offices. The team is very open and available to help me. I was assigned a buddy to help me navigate Chicago and the office. Moreover, since I wasn’t previously familiar with the project I’m working on, I had frequent catch ups the Manager to ensure I was on track. I’ve also been trusted to assume a bigger role and responsibility in coaching less experienced team members. This transfer has really allowed me to try new things and experience new projects along with gaining new skills.
How do you find adapting to your new city and country?
People are very open and friendly in the US. During the summer weekends, there are many activities to get involved in so I felt easily integrated into the culture and lifestyle. For example, as Americans are heavily involved in sports, I got to watch live basketball and baseball games with colleagues and have also started taking part in barre and salsa classes. Just like the Singapore team, the Chicago team also likes to catch up over drinks every Friday, which allows us to build relationships with our colleagues outside of the work environment.
Is your transfer experience what you had in mind when you decided to move?
The move was similar to what I had in mind in terms of work and client exposure, and the ample opportunities to travel. What I didn’t expect, however, was the ease of transitioning, which wouldn’t have been possible without a supportive team. It has been nice to see the company culture is the same across our different offices.
What are your plans now? Transfer to another office? Move to a different team?
In terms of work, I plan to take on bigger roles in the next few years, and progress within the company. Because this transfer experience proved itself to be extremely valuable and enriching, if and when the opportunity presents itself, I’m definitely open to another transfer, be it a different office or team!