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Aimeng Ji, Associate at McKinsey & Company

The Basics:

Name: Aimeng Ji 
Age: 28
City: Houston, TX
Company: McKinsey & Company
Role: Associate
Industry: Management Consulting
Education: UT Austin, Columbia Business School
College Major: Integrated Bachelor/Master in Accounting

What drew you to the field that you work in?

The great thing about being a generalist at a management consulting firm is that you get to work outside of your home city and try out different industries and functions. Through McKinsey, I have traveled to various cities around the country and worked for some of the largest retailers and CPG companies in the US!

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were entering the workforce? 

It’s okay to not have everything figured out right away. Enjoy exploring your interests and almost expect that you will pivot from where you first start out. My first job after college was in public accounting, then I bounced through finance and project management roles in tech before going back to business school to switch into consulting.

What skills are most important in your field? What do you look for in employees?

I think consulting is equal parts problem-solving and relationship building. You have to have some fundamental analytical ability, but what makes the job more fun and infinitely easier is if you get along well with both your clients and your team. Having a positive attitude and genuine interest in both the problem and the people will make the longer hours and traveling much more sustainable!

What do you love most about your job?

I get to live in the city I live close to my family and friends AND work with interesting clients all over the country! Also, this is a bit embarrassing but since my studies have all been retail or CPG, I geek out a bit every time I shop at a client’s store or use a client’s product because it’s fascinating to learn the behind-the-scenes about their businesses. 

What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?

Don’t try to blindly follow in other people’s footsteps. What worked for them may not work for you because everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are so different, and frankly a lot of it has to do with luck and timing! 

What did you wear to your interview with McKinsey?

Light grey slim-fit ankle cut pant suit. 

What do you wear on a daily basis to the office? 

Since I live out of my suitcase, I wear more wool or tweed so I don’t have to iron (more time to sleep!) I also stick to monochromatic colors so it’s easy to mix and match. If I need to spice it up, I’ll do so with a designer scarf or belt.

What’s your go-to power outfit? (i.e., what do you wear when you want to feel confident and powerful at work?)

For important client meetings, I’ll wear heels because it opens up my posture and gives me more confidence. I also prefer to wear pants and more structured tops, and will take an additional 5-10 mins in the morning on my hair and makeup just so I feel extra put together that day. 

What is the biggest clothing faux pas you’ve seen a candidate wear during an interview? 

‘Fashion’ blazers or pants that are too tight and not professional. You definitely don’t want to offend your interviewer or distract them for the wrong reasons. 

Parting Wisdom:

What was your first job?

Retail associate at Nike!

Who is one woman you look up to?

Besides my amazing mom, (who is also in consulting!), I really admire the handful of women partners at McKinsey who are leading the Retail practice while balancing their family life

What’s the best book you read recently?

Becoming by Michelle Obama

What one item should every young professional have in her closet?

A simple neutral color dress you can dress up with a blazer and heels, or wear more casually with a cardigan and flats

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