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Emerging Scholars – Meet Dhruv, Ross School of Business

– Before business school, I spent six years leading frontline sales teams in India for General Mills and Mars Chocolate. I heard about the Emerging Scholars program from a University of Michigan, Ross School of Business student visiting India. I had no doubt of the value it offered. I applied because I was highly interested in consulting – unparalleled exposure to diverse business challenges, steep learning curves and accelerated career growth. However, I wasn’t sure I would like the culture and lifestyle that went with the industry, so Emerging Scholars seemed the perfect way to try it out.

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For the Emerging Scholars, the program kicked off with a celebration weekend in Chicago in late July. Over two days of fun and learning, we went through an actual piece of work performed by McKinsey in Africa with senior partners. We outlined the issues in a structured way and brainstormed possible solutions. Then we heard from various consultants about their personal and professional experiences. Later, over food and drinks, we had casual conversations with more than 30 firm members from across the US. I realized that many of the people I encountered shared my passion for visiting different parts of the world and experiencing new cultures. I built strong bonds with my peers from 15 business schools, pub-hopping in downtown Chicago Friday night and enjoying a relaxing Saturday brunch. It was an unforgettable weekend.

The program assigned each of us a mentor. I hit it off really well with mine, Nitin, an engagement manager in our Chicago office. He was extremely helpful, patient and genuinely invested in my development and success. In our initial conversations, Nitin helped me prioritize areas to focus on in business school; later, through bi-monthly phone calls, he helped me structure and measure my recruiting preparations. He created an atmosphere of trust where I did not hesitate to ask anything on my mind. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor, and I owe Nitin a lot.

The Emerging Scholar program gave me a strong foundation for business school, a head start on interview preparations, and a rich set of relationships that are still strong today. The program is an extraordinary opportunity for all incoming MBA students. If you are keen on pursuing a career in consulting, apply; you will gain early exposure to case interviews and a forum in which to have candid conversations with McKinsey consultants. The program will give you an honest glimpse into life as a consultant.

The best advice I can give to those of you who apply for Emerging Scholars is to be calm and be yourself. You might be asked about your background, interests or experiences, so have your best stories ready. Let your natural personality and thought process come to the forefront.