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Brain Exercise for the Frontal lobes: the McKinsey Mind

My first full-time job was as a strate­gic con­sul­tant at McK­in­sey & Com­pa­ny. A very intense 2-year learn­ing expe­ri­ence.

Their Alum­ni News Ser­vice recent­ly inter­viewed me and pub­lished this great arti­cle on Sharp­Brains. The writer does a superb job of pro­vid­ing an overview of what we do, so I rec­om­mend you read it. I’d like to empha­size the fol­low­ing quotes for any­one look­ing for jobs these days, so that “brain exer­cise” is part of the equa­tion:

  • Alvaro has some very high praise for the men­tal gym­nas­tics that the McK­in­sey expe­ri­ence pro­vides.  Giv­en that the frontal lobes in our brain (behind the fore­head) only mature in our late 20s, he says, the jobs we take in our ear­ly and mid-20s are very impor­tant not only for our career prospects, but also for our brain devel­op­ment fit­ness. This is the stage in our life where, con­scious­ly or not, we can improve our deci­sion-mak­ing, ini­tia­tive and self-reg­u­la­tion abil­i­ties, all of which lit­er­al­ly affect the phys­i­cal growth of our frontal lobes in a sig­nif­i­cant way.”
  • Join­ing McK­in­sey as a BA is lit­er­al­ly like join­ing a brain gym, Alvaro says. “The demands of the McK­in­sey mod­el. hypoth­e­sis-dri­ven prob­lem solv­ing, 80/20 sequenc­ing rule, issue tree log­i­cal analy­sis sup­port­ed by a very struc­tured per­for­mance review process, con­tributes to the devel­op­ment of the frontal lobes, where these so-called Exec­u­tive Func­tions reside.
  • It is impor­tant to con­tin­ue devel­op­ing our brains beyond our 20s, how­ev­er. Neu­ro­sci­en­tists have shown that adults retain neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty (the abil­i­ty of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence) and neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis (the cre­ation of new neu­rons) every sin­gle day of our lives. Fac­tors such as well-tar­get­ed men­tal stim­u­la­tion and phys­i­cal exer­cise enhance these capac­i­ties, while, con­verse­ly, long peri­ods of stress and anx­i­ety inhib­it them.”

Have you had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences with your jobs?

Some relat­ed posts:

Use It or Lose It: what is It?

What do suc­cess­ful Traders and Stu­dents have in com­mon

Exec­u­tive Func­tions and MacArthur “Genius Grants”

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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