Alumni Consulting Profiles - McKinsey & Company

Wes Whitaker, MBA

Senior Associate
McKinsey & Company

Program @ Penn: MBA/MA (Wharton/Lauder)
Graduation Year: 2012

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Describe your current position and firm/organization and the career path you took to get there.
I am currently a Senior Associate at McKinsey & Company. My career path was an unusual one. Following undergrad, I took a 6-month internship, mostly for fun, at a broadcasting company in Munich, Germany. Then, I pursued a career in professional music in Nashville, Tennessee. After a few years, I decided to go to graduate school and that's what brought me to Penn's Wharton/Lauder program. I did a six-month internship at Microsoft before accepting a full-time offer to join McKinsey & Company as an Associate in the Business Technology practice.
What skills and strengths did your graduate training provide you that make you a good fit for your current position?
A career in consulting is an excellent chance to put business school learning into practice on a daily basis. I believe so many MBA's choose consulting as their next step in order to continue rapid learning and growth. Also, being at an international firm like McKinsey allows me the opportunity to be a part of client engagements anywhere in the world – a chance to practice what I learned in the Lauder program.

Key skills

  • Quick learning
If other PhD students wanted to get a position similar to yours, what three specific pieces of advice would you offer them that they can be doing now while still at Penn?

1) Find friends (and strangers) to help you practice giving cases

2) Think about why consulting makes sense for you/ your career

3) Relax and enjoy yourself (i.e., don't be so nervous about the application process)

Top advice for this career field

  1. Get practice with case studies
  2. Be clear about whether consulting as a career makes sense for you
  3. Try to enjoy the application process

How can students at Penn find out more about your career field?

There are many online resources (e.g., Vault, Wetfeet) to help you explore the consulting field.

Find out more

Online resources
What do you most enjoy about your current position, and what are you looking forward to doing at work over the next week or two?
I most enjoy the excitement of solving the toughest problems faced by the largest/most influential organizations in the world. Not to mention, we have a lot of fun too. In the next week or two I look forward to helping a client decide if a multi-billion dollar acquisition is a good idea, and if so, what price to pay.

Positive perspectives

  • Solving big problems for bigger organizations
  • Problem-solving is fun