Paige Taylor (Fr 2013) was awarded the 2021 R.G. Menzies Scholarship and is currently undertaking a Master in Public Administration in International Development at Harvard. Since leaving St Andrew’s Paige has worked at McKinsey as a Business Analyst, now residing in America to pursue further study. Paige reflected on her best memories of College, living on the other side of the world and the rewarding and challenging aspects of a career in consulting.
Please tell us a bit more about yourself – where are you originally from and where did you grow up?
I grew up on a sheep and cattle farm in the Snowy Mountains and boarded at Wenona in Sydney for high school.
What were your favourite memories and how has St Andrew’s influenced your life after College?
My favourite thing about St Andrew’s was definitely the people. My closest friends are from College and I know they will always be a very important part of my life. I am not very musically or athletically gifted so was usually found on the sidelines in my Drew’s merch, although I did participate in Rosebowl Athletics in the 3000m (‘participate’ being the operative word) and was an unashamed Buffet enthusiast.
Living at St Andrew’s meant being surrounded by talented people doing all sorts of interesting things, which encouraged me to find what I enjoy and pursue it. It’s been inspiring to see all the amazing things people I was at College with are doing now, from producing music to representing Australia in the Olympics, to running start-ups.
How did you see the College change for women whilst you were here? And how has it changed since?
My cohort had the first female Senior Student, Gemma Larkin, and with Rachael Dossetor as Secretary, it was the first time women outnumbered men on the House Committee (and they did such a fantastic job). Since then it’s been exciting to see more and more women following in their footsteps and taking leadership roles at College.
Since leaving College you spent time working at McKinsey & Company. Could you tell us what your job involved? And the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your roles?
After graduating, I joined McKinsey as a Business Analyst where I did a mix of public and private sector work. You’re always working on different types of projects in different industries with different people, so you learn a lot very quickly, which is challenging but rewarding. The teamwork aspect was a real highlight – the people I worked with were amazing and taught me a lot, and working and travelling as a team is fun. It’s also very exciting when you see projects you have worked on becoming a reality.
Congratulations on being awarded the 2021 R.G. Menzies Scholarship, which is allowing your study overseas at the Harvard graduate school of your choice. Why did you choose to undertake a Master of Public Administration in International Development?
Thank you! The MPA/ID program is designed for people who want to study graduate-level economics and statistics with a focus on applying these skills to development. I love Economics and want to work in policy, so it’s been the perfect combination for me.
You have moved to the Unites States to undertake this course. What has it been like adjusting to living in a new country on the other side of the world?
It’s been a lot of fun! I feel very lucky to be studying here – the professors are amazing and Cambridge is a great place to live (although I have given up on understanding either Fahrenheit or American football). My class is very international so I’ve enjoyed meeting people who have done all sorts of interesting things before the degree and learning more about Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I know we Australians claim the barbecue as our own but the South Americans take it to a new level.
What are you reading/ watching or listening to at the moment that you’d recommend?
I just finished Crossroads, a novel by one of my favourite authors Jonathan Franzen set in the Midwest, which I would highly recommend. On the non-fiction side, I’ve been reading a lot about how to make good decisions in the face of uncertainty for a course I’m working on with a professor here. I really enjoyed Superforecasting by Phillip Tetlock which is all about how to think about the world probabilistically and therefore make better decisions. Also if you haven’t seen it already, Succession is a must-watch!
Do you have any advice for young Androvians looking to go into consulting or study overseas?
If you’re interested, definitely apply! The people I worked with at McKinsey came from all sorts of different backgrounds so you don’t need to have studied finance or economics. I’ve always appreciated how generous people are with their time, either by chatting about their experiences, helping practice case interviews or giving advice on university applications, so don’t be afraid to ask people for help. For overseas study, I’d recommend starting to look into courses and funding opportunities early (because it’s fun finding out what’s out there but also because many of the deadlines are quite a while before courses start). For consulting, getting involved in organisations like 180 Degrees Consulting is a good way of getting an idea of what it’s like and meeting new people with similar interests.
St Andrew’s College is celebrating 20 Years of Undergraduate Women in 2022. To mark this important milestone, we have created a range of commemorative merchandise for our community. All proceeds from the sale of these custom-made, special edition items will go towards funding the new scholarship for undergraduate women, established in 2022 to support women with financial need to attend St Andrew’s College. Take a look at the full range here.