Three Pieces of Advice from a CEOx1Day Semi-Finalist

Martha Pulnicki writes about her CEOx1Day semi-finalist experience and how it helped her prepare for internship recruitment

Martha Pulnicki

As I head into my fourth year at York University and reflect on my undergrad in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at the Schulich School of Business, there are many fond memories that come to mind that have helped me grow both professionally and personally. One that particularly stands out is taking part in the CEOx1Day program in late 2017 and early 2018.

Although I was not ultimately chosen as a CEOx1Day finalist, the learning and networking opportunities I had from the intensive interview process were key stepping stones to me receiving a summer internship offer with McKinsey & Company.

The semi-finalist day in January 2018 at the Odgers Berndtson office in Toronto was an invaluable experience because the structure of the day is different from traditional job interviews. From having to think quickly on my feet during the speed interviews, to taking time to reflect on my leadership style through the HOGAN assessment, the day pushed me out of my comfort zone in many ways. The process ended up being very relevant to me because the CEOx1Day program emphasizes many of the same qualities that McKinsey & Company looks for in their candidates—including leadership, personal impact, and teamwork. It also gave me a chance to connect with consultants from McKinsey & Company who provided genuine feedback and advice ahead of my interviews.

Reflecting on my summer internship, I cannot believe how much I learned over the 10 weeks, of which three things in particular have really stuck with me:

  1. One of the biggest “secrets” to success is developing an ownership mentality. With so many resources so readily available, those who stand out are those who act and take ownership—of their work, of learning and developing themselves, of growing their network, and anything else they want to accomplish.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone faces their own unique challenges and experiences their own successes. Don’t dwell on whether yours are better or worse, because they are neither, they are simply different. Focus instead on what you can control.
  3. Respect and genuine care for others are critical yet often under-emphasized leadership qualities. Associating strong leadership solely with high performance is not necessarily the best mindset. A truly inspirational leader is one that fosters a positive space where others aren’t afraid to make mistakes and learn.

I am beyond grateful for all the individuals who supported me over the summer and excited to start my career at McKinsey & Company after I graduate. It was a true privilege to have taken part in the CEOx1Day program because the learning, growth, and networking opportunities stemmed further beyond what I ever imagined they would.

The McKinsey & Company Canadian Summer Class of 2018 at the North America Summer Conference in Carlsbad, California in July

The McKinsey & Company Canadian Summer Class of 2018 at the North America Summer Conference in Carlsbad, California in July