// . //  The Alumni Network //  Ming Chen

Our alumni team met with Ming Chen, who is currently a product growth lead at Instagram. He shares how Oliver Wyman set the foundation and provided the education to build a technical skillset. Learn how Ming has applied his consulting skillset to his role at Instagram and his biggest takeaways from his time at the company.

What have you been up to since leaving Oliver Wyman?

Since leaving Oliver Wyman, I have been working at Instagram as a product growth lead. This role combines product management and data science provide user growth insights. I support Instagram Stories with three primary responsibilities: understanding users and the ecosystem, identifying growth opportunities, and helping teams execute efficiently. Before Instagram, Oliver Wyman sponsored my MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. During my first year, I interned at Meta and enjoyed it so much that I chose to explore the tech industry. My mentors were very supportive, even offering industry connections. Currently, I live in New York City with my wife, also an Oliver Wyman alum, whom I met while we were both working in the Singapore office.

How did you move into product and analytics from a non-technical background?

My undergraduate degree was in molecular biology, with no technical analysis or modelling experience. Oliver Wyman took a chance on me, and my first project, in the payments space, was highly technical. Thanks to an amazing and supportive team, I learned technical skills like modelling, Structured Query Language (SQL), and dashboarding, along with softer skills like client management and communication. I honed these skills through various marketing analytics, pricing, and retention projects within our Communications, Media, and Technology Practice. During my MBA recruitment, my project experiences equipped me to handle SQL and analytics screens confidently. Although I lacked direct product experience, I found similarities between product thinking and the structured frameworks used in consulting, making the transition smoother. My unique experiences and projects also set me apart from other candidates.

Identify your strengths and lean into your own leadership style instead of emulating someone else’s
Ming Chen, Oliver Wyman Alumni

What advice did you receive from a mentor at Oliver Wyman that you’re applying in your work today?

Identify your strengths and lean into your own leadership style instead of emulating someone else’s. This advice resonated with me, especially after taking the Oliver Wyman Insights color test, which revealed that I was one of three green (“show me you care”) consultants in my start class. Initially, I struggled with tough conversations and thought that I wasn’t cut out for this work. However, continual coaching and reassurance from my managers helped me see that my management style was effective, and my perceived weaknesses were actually strengths. In my current role, I continue to leverage my “green” strengths to build strong working relationships, facilitate critical conversations, and act as the glue within the organization. This approach has made me more effective and fulfilled at work.

What advice do you have for current consultants at Oliver Wyman?

The work can be hard, and the days long, but the pay-off on consulting experiences is tremendous. After each project, take time to reflect on your highlights, lowlights, and what you learned. This reflection is invaluable; some of my most challenging projects were also the ones where I learned the most. Learn directly from exceptionally talented peers. Work on intriguing or unconventional projects and embrace opportunities that challenge you. Gain international work experience. Start managing and developing junior consultants early, at the senior consultant level. Build lifelong friendships and establish mentors who will remain with you long after your time at Oliver Wyman. Documenting your learnings daily will benefit you throughout your career.

This page was originally published on July 3, 2024.