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Turkish female to McKinsey Istanbul

Did you enjoy the program? If yes, how?

I had known Michael for over 12 months before applying to the Firmsconsulting training and have always found his emails, podcasts and articles to be witty, counter-intuitive and useful to my planning. We had communicated several times during the year and Michael had also helped me select my majors. To some degree we were friends by the time I joined the program, but I believe Michael is congenial towards anyone.

I truly admired Michael’s honesty, enthusiasm and worldly experiences. We could be talking about any city and Michael would certainly have this interesting experience to share. My desire to return to Istanbul was sparked my Michael’s many engagements with the firm which he openly discussed with me.

I was born in Turkey but left when I was younger, so Michael’s experiences were all new to me and created this picture of a vibrant and dynamic cosmopolitan city. My parents were very surprised when I told them Istanbul was my preferred choice over Boston or London but they also could see I was thrilled with the potential of working in the rapidly changing Turkish economy.

Since joining MBB my friendship with Michael has only deepened along with my admiration and we continue to chat weekly. He remains my most thoughtful and appreciated mentor.

Did the program meet your expectations? If yes, how?

The program had a profound and lasting impact on my life in the deepest possible way. When I found Firmsconsulting I was in a deep depression and going through a rough patch in my personal life. I hated my life and felt closeted in with no room to grow and mature.

Everyone I knew had these expectations of me to join the family business and I no longer wanted to be that person. I wanted to travel the world, grow into business and do great things. I watched a movie about travelling/working in exotic locations and thought I should do that!

Yet, I had no money so needed to get a job which would allow me to travel and find my own way!

When Michael started talking about Istanbul, it all clicked together in my mind I selected Michael more as a mentor to take me to a new life away from expectations and felt he fulfilled his end of the bargain.

In many ways I arrived at the MBB firm completely unprepared for the lifestyle since I was sold on the dream of escaping. I had to reach out to Michael plenty of times to help me with engagements and find my feet. I am more than happy I did because I am now content. I thank Michael for doing that for me.

What was the most important learning’s from the program?

The values of management consulting are all I remember from Michael’s training. It is one theme he drives home consistently in every session. Until I met Michael, I assumed the most important part about management consulting was analyses and cases.

Michael had multiple ways of explaining the importance of values.

Two quotes will stay with me forever – “A brilliant consultant without values is a scandal waiting to happen,” and “If someone cannot clearly remember the financial cost of sticking to their values, then they have none.”

We spent some sessions only discussing the challenges Michael faced as a partner in finding the line which could not be crossed. I never realized how difficult it must be to make some of these decisions.

The case training of Firmsconsulting was excellent and placed me well ahead of my [Redacted] colleagues who were also considering MBB. Yet, if I look back on my training I always remember the values Michael taught me.

Do you feel the program provided an advantage for you versus your own/other preparation? If so, in what way?

The training gave me maturity. My own preparation was about solving cases but never understanding the implications. I would also provide recommendations and give no thought to the challenges of implementing the recommendations.

Michael discussed numerous engagements he had done in Turkey emphasizing the implications of the technique I was studying or the implementation challenges faced.

Can you recall any memorable moments?

Something he told me did sadden me but also forced me to think harder about the cases.

He said that economics is about limited supply and companies need to allocate scarce resources. In allocating the resources someone will win and someone will always lose. At the time we were working on an operations case to improve capacity in a choice between two plants.

He pointed out that the plant with the higher ROI would get the investment, create more jobs, greater salaries and the children of those workers would benefit by going to good schools. The workers of the other plant would see lower orders, less overtime, lower salaries and less savings for tutoring and tuition. It could impact generations. He stressed that making consulting decisions ultimately picks winners and losers. While consultants should not let that influence their decisions, they must always understand the gravity of their decisions.

That saddened me but also made me think more carefully about my recommendations. I admire Michael’s ability to bring these text book ideas to life in such an emotional way.

What would you like changed in the program?

Nothing should change in this program. It works just fine as it is. I admire Firmsconsulting for using partners to train clients. The model seemed odd to me at the time but after going through the sessions I do not believe anyone else could have delivered so much value over such a short period.

Do you believe Michael was an effective coach?

Michael is a very effective coach because he builds a connection with his clients. After speaking to him the first time I was so excited that I wanted to share all my dreams and ambitions with him.

It felt like I had a non-judgmental friend who was excited for me and ready to work with me. I cannot say that every client will connect with Michael, but I did. Though he does not judge, he is firmly forcing you to move forward.

Over the course of the training, we became excellent friends. I never felt like this was a fee-based training program but more like a personal friend who just happened to be an ex-partner! My sessions went well over the time I was allocated and it all seemed fine.

It is a very unusual way to build a business but it creates a fiercely loyal team. I hope my relationship with Michael continues for many more years.

Do you personally believe the sessions were tailored for your own development?

Yes, because we remained 100% focused on Turkey and issues in the Turkish economy. We reviewed the McKinsey Report on Turkey and all cases ended with a discussion on those sector issues in Turkey.

I liked Michael’s consulting stories the most. He always has some important lesson buried in them while teaching you crucial information.

What are your thoughts on using former McKinsey/BCG worldwide practice leaders to coach clients?

If this can make the program better, then it is a great idea. I can only imagine how much better things must now be in the program.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would be more than happy to assist Firmsconsulting with the changes to the business and look forward to the exciting – and secretive – developments!

We have published the most useful client feedback. Our commitment to confidentiality prevents us from disclosing the identity of our clients and other confidential information, and we may alter details to prevent such disclosure. Some client feedback may be lightly edited for grammar, spelling or prose, though we never alter or remove any information. Clients in our consultants coaching program are forbidden from sharing sensitive client data with us.

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