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Emotional Consulting Is My Forte

Posted December. 13, 2005 07:21,   


Kim Yong-a was interviewed at the Seoul Office of McKinsey & Company in Taepyeongno of Jung-gu, Seoul, on December 12.

Unlike the prediction that she would be a single, lively, and energetic woman, Kim was a mother of a 2-year-old with a calm voice. The youngest among the 10 partners at McKinsey Seoul, she has pioneered a new field with a woman’s thoroughness and meticulousness.

“I Dispelled Doubts by Proving My Capability” –

Kim joined McKinsey Seoul in 1996 after majoring in business at Yonsei University. She acquired an MBA from Harvard in 1999 and returned to McKinsey Seoul in 2001.

Female consultants were rare in 1996 when she first joined the company.

“I visited a client company with colleagues when I first undertook a project. It was a foreign company and people there thought I was the interpreter. They were surprised when I was introduced as a consultant. I believed the only way to dispel doubts was to win their trust by showing my capability.”

Kim consulted a university hospital and introduced a patient-oriented system for operations and outpatient treatment and an incentive system. The number of examinations and operations in the hospital increased, and the waiting time for patients decreased. Revenue jumped by a staggering 20 percent.

That is not all. At that time, in 2002, the medical arena was an uncharted market for McKinsey Seoul. Kim formed a team within the company to research the medical field and published a book titled “Korea Medical Revolution 2010” in 2003.

“I Want to Contribute to Society” –

Challenging new fields was something Kim did, not only regarding clients but also within the company.

McKinsey is well-known for its systematic education and employee training, but still it is not perfect.

“I felt that consultants were good at touting logic but lacked the technique of persuading clients to execute suggested measures from the depth of their hearts. I interviewed talented consultants so that all could share their know-how.”

She also made a “training calendar” that showed necessary training according to the number of years one has worked for the company.

Rather than dining and wining clients or playing golf with them, Kim has her own way of forming human networks. She researches the client’s interests and sends a book on the subject, or talks frankly about education for children.

“Many clients ask me about my education such as how I wrote my MBA application essay or what factors I considered when applying for college. Talking about my experiences helps me get closer to them.”

Kim’s husband is Lee Dong-hun, the managing director of Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction and a former McKinsey consultant.

“I would like to contribute not only to client companies but also to society. That is why I feel particularly attracted to the medical field. One day I would like to share my experiences with students as a university teacher.”

Hyo-Lim Son aryssong@donga.com