“Rock musician” may not seem like it goes with “management consultant,” but Jeffrey Liu from McKinsey’s Taipei office is both. From a music career to launching a startup, Jeffrey brings a diverse background to the firm.
McKinsey China: Tell us about your music career
Jeffrey: I lived in Taiwan until I was 12 and then moved to the US. I was part of a band throughout high school and university and after I graduated, I gave myself one year to pursue music, so the group moved to Taiwan.
McKinsey China: What kind of music did you play? And what was the band’s name?
Jeffrey: Alternative rock. I was the lead vocalist and did a lot of the songwriting. Our name was Ashz. Unfortunately, the band didn’t make it, but I was given an opportunity to be a freelance songwriter at a startup record label called Hummingbird Music. After some time though, I wanted to try my hand at a more traditional job, so I left the record label, and after briefly working at a startup, I ended up at KPMG for about five years.
McKinsey China: How was your experience working for a startup?
Jeffrey: I learned a lot; you have to when there are only 20 people at your company and you have to wear many hats. After a while, I decided I needed to get a solid foundation at a bigger company, so I left. After becoming a manager, I became interested in consulting and decided if I were going to go for consulting, then I’d want to be at the best firm- McKinsey. I wanted to be close to my parents in Taiwan. So on my business school application essay, I literally wrote that I wanted to work for McKinsey in Taiwan. And here I am! I think I was the only one of my friends who actually ended up doing what I originallyplanned.
McKinsey China: Have you been able to keep up with your interest in music?
Jeffrey: Definitely. For our annual New Year’s office party at McKinsey, a group of colleagues and I put together a performance. It was a blast. We’re actually trying to set up some more regular weekend jam sessions and I promised to write an original song for the office.
McKinsey China: What do you like most about working at McKinsey?
Jeffrey: I love the community. As you develop in the firm, you have people who are genuinely interested in your career, but you also have the opportunity to nurture other people, which makes the bonds especially strong. And even during a client engagement, which requires a lot of work and time, we’re all in the trenches together. I haven’t met a person I haven’t enjoyed working with. And when we finally make it to the end and think back on the project, it’s always the best feeling.