Keep Austin weird — and wired — with new talent

McKinsey Recruiting meets SXSW attendees, from Austin and beyond

By Peri Kadaster, Director of Marketing & Communications, McKinsey Digital Labs

In December, when the New York Times broke the news about Apple’s newest planned campus in Austin, Texas, it seemed that hype about the state capitol (and Matthew McConaughey’s hometown) had reached a fever pitch. As noted in that article, Austin already has more than 138,000 tech jobs in the area — making up almost 15% of jobs but about 35% of the total economy from a revenue perspective — so this was more than a bubble. And while locals will rightfully fret about things around town that have changed or may change, you can still feel the hybrid sense of community and embrace of individualism that makes Austin so proudly “weird,” in its own words.

Fast-forward to today, where SXSW Interactive — one of the largest, most global, and most diverse gatherings of technical talent — is in full swing, right at the doorstep of our Austin studio. McKinsey has six speakers as part of a packed agenda this week, but that’s not all we came for. Our McKinsey Digital teams — Digital, Analytics, and Design — are growing, and SXSW is a great opportunity to make some new connections. Over the weekend, I had the chance to stop by two inspiring events led by McKinsey Recruiting.

Diversity in Tech Careers happy hour

One was a Diversity in Tech Careers happy hour at our Austin studio, where McKinsey colleagues shared their own stories before more mingling and photo-boothing. One was Kasia, a product manager based in New York. “I’m interested in bias in AI and in trying to reduce some of the terrible things we’ve seen in society by having a better way to analyze things moving forward,” Kasia said. Kasia’s biggest surprise from working at McKinsey? “It’s exciting working at a place where you’re never told no. You’re simply asked, ‘OK, so how do you see it getting done?’”

Next up was Jared, an Austin-based user-experience designer. At McKinsey, he said, “You may not always have the answer, but you’ve got a team of resources who can help you find it.” On what makes McKinsey different from a design agency, he said, “We leverage business, we leverage data, we leverage technology — it’s like the Avengers. We’re pushing ourselves to do the best we can.”

Lastly, Yilu, a data scientist based in New Jersey, spoke about how work at McKinsey involves constant learning and picking your own path. She said something we’ve heard others say more than once: “At McKinsey, you’re going to the top business school for free. And you’re actually getting paid for it.”

McKinsey team members and recruits at our Tech Robot Workshop

Our second event was a Tech Robot Workshop, where data scientists, software engineers, product managers, designers, and others joined McKinsey recruiters to share their experiences, answer questions, and, of course, build miniature robots alongside visitors to the booth. After nearly breaking one of the crab robots myself, I decided to take a step back for a hands-off role.

Many people who came by were surprised to see us at SXSW. We heard, “I didn’t know McKinsey would be here” and “Since when do you have tech people?” We were happy to share that we have thousands of product owners, software engineers, designers, agile coaches, and data scientists — and that we’re looking for more all around the world

Feeling the FOMO? Come by booth 87 through Wednesday to meet us and build a robot. And always check us out on social: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. You can also subscribe to McKinsey’s Careers newsletter for the latest roles and stories about our people.

To find McKinsey roles in tech, product, design, agile, data, and more, go to