PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Star Kim

“One of the most important things that I learned during this whole PhD process as well as right now is to be honest and…vocalize everything.”

Whiting School of Engineering

Mechanical Engineering, PhD 2021

Management Consultant at McKinsey & Company

Star’s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss what led Star from pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering to becoming interested in management consulting, the skills she utilizes from her doctoral training in her current role and those she sought out along the way through making meaningful connections, and the different ways she balances the stress of her job at McKinsey & Company.

Learn More About Star’s Story

Sunny, my sister, was the smartest, bravest, and coolest person I knew. She has always been my role model. Before she passed away, we talked about my concern about going to graduate school. I told her that I did not think I was smart enough to get a PhD. She told me, “It’s funny you think that way. You are intelligent and always hardworking. I know you can do it. I believe in you. I always have. You should believe in yourself as much as I believe in you”. My life has always been a rollercoaster. I still go through many hardships and doubting moments. But instead of feeling miserable and doing nothing, I think of my sister. I know she is watching me from somewhere and cheering for me. I then tell myself that I can do it. It might take multiple tries, but I will get there eventually.

I like problem solving because it pushes me to think outside the box and be creative. We live in a society where new challenges and changes influence our lives regularly. While doing research in various laboratories, I have been growing eager to develop something new or improve existing ideas and products to positively impact society. The more complex and immense the problems I was trying to solve, the more I realized the importance of collaborating with others. Because everyone has unique experiences, personality, and other components that change their perspectives, I grew to love coaching others. I desire sharing my knowledge and skills to encourage others to achieve their goals, discover their unique talents for intellectual growth, and develop emotional strengths. I strongly believe that together, we can brainstorm even more creative ideas to solve difficult problems more efficiently and effectively.