Get to know Sugandha Mahajan, one of our INSEAD Sweden Alumni members.
Sugandha is a transformation-focused management consultant at McKinsey & Company, with a strong commitment to workplace diversity and personal interests in yoga and swimming.
* What has taken you to your current position? Any defining moments?
Most career trajectories are rarely linear, and my journey is no exception. From following the textbook career path to making bold pivots amidst uncertainty and lack of personal clarity, I have been fortunate to experience several industries, topics, and countries in the process. One such pivot was the decision to leave the professional, financial, and social security of my 4-year investment banking role to navigate my 55+ year old family business, which introduced me to the opportunities and challenges of a manufacturing set-up. Another defining pivot was the decision to pursue MBA at INSEAD amidst a global pandemic – a decision that eventually took me to my current position in Sweden.
* What do you do in your professional life?
I am a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, with a focus to develop and
transform heavy manufacturing industries both in Sweden and globally. Being at McKinsey is almost an extension of life at INSEAD:
- I solve business problems with structure, while maintaining room for innovation.
- I have the fortune to collaborate with some of the biggest organizations in private and public sector, while helping grow organizations that will transform our future.
- I work side-by-side with brilliant people from a variety of cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, and professional histories, each bringing their dynamic perspectives and lived experiences to the fore.
- I maintain a fast-paced lifestyle, while keeping balance and personal authenticity at the center.
* What do you think we need to develop for the future of work and in our leadership?
I believe the future of work and leadership will be strongly influenced by some of the current trends we are seeing today:
- Sustainability: As governments and companies around the world are setting net-zero targets, there will likely be a continuing push for green businesses and enablers of decarbonization. Sweden is a fantastic case study for the world on how to build and enable an ecosystem that values sustainability at the same level as economic profits.
- GenAI: Generative AI has substantially increased the ambition and solution space across industries. It has enabled us to expand, optimize, and re-think our approach to work, collaboration, and life. Additionally, it has also sparked discussions on regulations, policy frameworks and legal boundaries.
- Collaboration and compassionate leadership: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to rethink global collaboration, working models and importance of mental and physical health. While we continue to navigate power shifts in socio-political landscape, more countries and companies will emerge in the dominant trade
space. This will likely impact the cross-border collaboration efforts we will see in the future, while building local resources. Additionally, the shift to adopting holistic and flexible working models is expected to build more human-centric companies and leadership in the future.
* Any particular pointers for books, podcasts or articles you think would be valuable for others to explore?
Two of my all-time favorite and highly recommended books are The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I find myself going back to these books anytime I’m in transition or feeling uncertain. Currently, I’m reading Chip War by Chris Miller in an effort to understand the semi-conductor industry better.
* When you get some spare time, what do you like to do?
In my spare time, I engage in practicing yoga and swimming – two interests that I can continue to pursue irrespective of which country I’m in. I’m also passionate about cooking new cuisines and have been establishing a more plant-based diet for the last couple of years.
* What are you particularly good at, that others in the network can contact you about?
I am deeply passionate about encouraging more diversity in the workplace. Growing up in a highly diverse country like India and later living in the UK, France and Sweden, have helped me appreciate the value of multi-cultural perspectives. I’m an entrepreneur and problem-solver at heart and always up for vibrant discussions and opportunities to build, improve and sustain. I’m also a coffee and wine enthusiast and always keen on learning more on the topics.
Connect with Sugandha here
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