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Anu is a Partner with McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the economics and business research arm of McKinsey & Company. She is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and worked for a few years in Banking before joining Consulting at McKinsey. Subsequently, she moved from the Consulting track at McKinsey to her current role at MGI through some experiments along the way.

In our conversation, Anu spoke about some of the influences in her childhood and how they have equipped her for life. She also reflected on the various transitions she has been through (Transitions within Banking, Banking to Consulting at McKinsey to MGI, Maternity etc.) She spoke about how she has gone about gaining clarity around what gives her energy and how she has slowly gravitated towards that over time. She also shared some of MGI’s insights on the Future of Work and how leaders and organizations could think about staying relevant in that future.

This conversation was published in October 2017.

Early formative years

Anu talks about the influence of values, freedom of choice and financial independence through her growing up years. She also talks about the criticality of role-modeling behaviours that set the right example for the boys (not just for the girls) that are growing up.

Career in Consulting versus Banking

Anu talks about the transitions she went through within Banking before she entered the world of consulting. She also talks about the questions people should ask themselves to see if a career in consulting makes sense for them.

The Maternity transition

Maternity is a critical transition for women and like Anu mentions, you don’t know what you don’t know in terms of how things will play out. She talks about her lessons from that passage of play. She also talks about how she took stock of options out there when she returned to work post maternity and discusses typical mistakes women often end up making in this phase.

Navigating your career

Anu talks about her moment of epiphany during an interview with a McKinsey partner that really pushed her to reflect on what she enjoyed and what she didn’t. She talks about how she has tried to get to the bottom of what gives her energy.

Learning/Unlearning during transition

Anu discusses the transition from high intensity consulting projects with a tight feedback loop to a relatively open ended and longer cycle life at McKinsey Global Institute. She talks about how she adjusted to the new operating rhythm of the place.

The Future of Work

Anu shares the key insights from MGI's study on the future of work. She reflects on the disconnect between what the future world of work needs and what the education system of today is delivering. She also talks about the demands of the generation that is entering today's workforce and the implications for organizations to deal with them.

Staying relevant in the future

Anu talks about her take on Leadership Development in the context of the Future of the workplace. She discusses the need for "start-up like" projects and initiatives that need to cut across functions and hierarchies.

What they don’t teach you at IIMA

Anu reflects on the notion of heightened risk in the workplace and sensitizing students to that. She also refers to the need for integrated learning across disciplines and functions given that the big problems that are being solved today lie at the intersection of multiple domains.

Message to graduating women

Anu shares her perspectives on how aspiring women leaders should think about their careers. She underscores the point about the need for having the right mentors and sponsors along the way.

In Summary - Playing to Potential

Anu refers to the notion of Infinite Game in the context of playing to potential. She talks about challenging the boundaries and extending the scope of how you define the game (instead of taking the circumstances as hard constraints).

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