Education sector in the United States… system going hollow from the inside

Education sector in the United States… system going hollow from the inside

When I reconnect with peers who joined the firm at the same time, I am yet to find someone who’s had exactly the same path as I did and yet everyone’s reasonably comfortable with the way their path has turned out to be. Speaking for myself, I was fortunate to have found the right mentors and managers that allowed me to decide where I placed my next step on this career ladder. More tenure means more problem solving. Some people have a notion of consulting that as one gets tenured, the farther away one moves from the actual problem solving. That definitely doesn’t seem to be the case at McKinsey.

Often times, the Director on the study would have had more knowledge about the client organization than the client leaders themselves given their long relationship in serving a particular client. Know your strengths and also your development needs. In the past I would have been hesitant at sharing my “development needs” (aka weaknesses) but at the firm, I have found it so easy to be vocal about that so that people around me can provide me opportunities to better myself on those dimensions. At the same time, it has helped highlighting my strengths (I admit, it’s hard to talk about your strengths while controlling the brag buttons) to be able to help bring those to life in client engagements. Prioritize, prioritize, and prioritize.

Every client study I have been on, the leadership (Partners and Directors) have been as actively engaged and have provided immense value to problem solving with their continuous insights

As I initially learned the hard way in business school, the firm experience thus far has given me lessons in ‘Prioritization 201′ through which I have found it easy to prioritize what I do at the firm based on two broad dimensions – alignment with my passion, and contribution to my career goals. Manage your time and have control over it. Might sound odd but given my habit of trying to stay punctual (in my world, it means always before time) and the multitasking I end up doing (sometimes of my own choosing), I find it very important to not only manage my time well but also control my time. This is something I observed in a few partners at the firm who come out as being in total control of their time and priorities.

One tactical implementation of this principle (sounds silly) is to always schedule one-on-one meetings with colleagues/ clients/ friends as you calling them since you don’t end up waiting for them to call you otherwise.

I have had different touch points that got me really curious to learn about the education sector here in the United States… 1. My business school work with companies serving in this space offering tools and resources 2. My discussions with people from work (consultants doing pro-bono work in this space, family/ friends working in this sector) 3. My own decision process as a parent of a soon-to-be-schooled kid

There is so much you can do at the firm that is beyond the humanly possible limits

My inquiry process started with a simple question on – “How do I find which school district is the best performing in my area?”

A. Defining the school district boundary is arbitrary… it changes every few years based on the “subjective judgment” of the education administrators in the government. One prime example: the city of Chicago has one of the largest school districts in the US with a wide range of school performance and demographics. A few years earlier, some of the high-income neighborhoods worked out something whereby there are these pockets of school districts geographically within the large Chicago school district to ensure their high performance is not lost in the averages.

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