Who am I? First, I’m Brazilian, which means I’m a very open, extroverted person. Second, I’m a lawyer—I studied law in Belgium and France, then got a master’s degree in the United States—so I was trained to make decisions. Third, I’m a big-picture kind of person—highly unorganized. And last, I’m very passionate. I can go from being very excited about things to very sad or very happy, which can be challenging to work with, but I think many people at McKinsey are passionate, too.
I practiced law for two years and then decided that the specific field of law I was practicing was not what I wanted to do. I wasn’t ready to specialize in just one thing. I needed the freedom to experiment because I’m a very curious person by nature. I needed to do something where I would have room for my curiosity and my willingness to explore different things.
I was pleasantly surprised
After law school, I worked for a few years in a large professional services company. When I came to McKinsey, I thought, “Oh, I’m not that moldable anymore. I’m not going to be the rookie who they can just tell what to do.” I thought it was going to be tough to adapt and that it would require a significant amount of change to who I am and the way I work. But actually McKinsey is quite flexible. If anything, the rules that do exist are meant to protect that flexibility and help you create a work environment where you can further develop yourself.
Working around the globe
I spent seven months in the Johannesburg office. It was a wonderful experience to be in a developing country where I could see my impact on almost a daily basis. I was working in the maintenance depot for the rail system, and I was able to see impact not only on our client’s figures and numbers, but in the way the people were doing their jobs. We suggested changes to their performance management and helped develop employee skills in lean processes. Of course, there were also challenges because typically things don’t always go as planned, so you have to try things multiple times. Overall the impact we had was amazing.
The Johannesburg office is also very entrepreneurial, so it has people from all over the world who have done all sorts of things. For example, one man, who is now a partner in that office, happens to have two restaurants in Johannesburg. We even held one of our team meetings at one of them, which was great.
Building a professional network
After working on a couple of projects, you begin to find the people around you who inspire you, challenge you, and make you excited. You reach out to them when you have a question, when you have a doubt, or when you want a second opinion. That makes my whole McKinsey experience much easier. It’s good to have people around you that support you in what you want to do and also help develop you when you need to be developed.
I’m a big fan of team events
I believe people perform better if the team is functioning well. Team events can be a great way to bring people together. When I was working in Portugal, we celebrated milestones on the project by having dinner out with the entire team. Another time, in Spain, I was the only woman on the project. Our last team meeting coincided with the soccer championship, and the Barcelona team was playing. I actually went with all the men into the most crowded bar I’ve ever been in and we watched football, which was fun. They won, too!
What I like to do in my free time
I love to travel. I’ve visited about 60 countries. I like to listen to music: jazz and world music. I also have a little fetish for shoes. I’ve taken a couple of courses in shoe design and have actually designed some shoes for myself. I haven’t been able to actually make them yet, but it’s something I hope to do one day.
|University of Chicago - Law School
||LLM, General Law
|Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
||Master in Law, General Law