– Meet Nazrul, a junior consultant in our Kuala Lumpur office:
Interviewer: What brought you to McKinsey?
Nazrul: When I completed my master’s degree in London, I wanted to do something meaningful, together with amazing people, to learn and develop. McKinsey met those needs. Working in Malaysia and Southeast Asia was also a huge draw; there is a lot of growth and potential in all sectors in the region, which creates opportunities to try new things.
Since joining, I’ve worked on projects that have had huge impact. McKinsey people have become some of my closest friends. They provide a very supportive work environment and great fun and companionship outside of the office. I have worked with a lot of smart, caring and inspiring individuals who take the time to invest in my development and growth.
Interviewer: What has been your most memorable engagement?
Nazrul: Developing a negotiation strategy for a client undertaking a huge infrastructure project. We helped them determine how to split the costs of the project with another party, define the technical parameters and decide where to locate the infrastructure. We were fully embedded within the client team and we leveraged the firm’s expertise to ensure the clients understood all of their options.
My role was to assess each decision the clients needed to make and determine the best outcome for each one. Part of what made this project so interesting was the aspects of game theory and human behavior I had to consider. In the end, our support ensured both sides reach an agreement with which they were satisfied and that the project went ahead smoothly.
Interviewer: Tell us more about the support you’ve receive at McKinsey.
Nazrul: I have a few mentors within McKinsey to whom I regularly ask for advice. One of them is Ee Huei, an associate partner in my office. She was one of my first engagement managers and she has always looked out for me by keeping me in the loop on exciting projects, helping me get staffed on them, and providing advice on how I can develop and improve.
Another mentor, Li-Kai, was assigned to be my development group leader when I joined. He understands my needs and I see him as a life councilor. He provides professional and personal advice to me and anyone else who seeks his guidance. He pushes me to challenge myself and coaches me on how to better relate to clients and team members.
Interviewer: What’s your best piece of advice for someone applying to McKinsey?
Nazrul: If you are passionate about creating impact and working with great people, apply! Describe and demonstrate that passion during your interviews. Don’t be intimidated by the case interviews or problem solving test; just practice with online resources and friends.
Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of work?
Nazrul: Football and travelling. I try to combine them when I can, travelling to large tournaments. I’m always planning my next vacation because thinking of relaxing on that beautiful beach, hiking on a glorious mountain, or exploring vibrant city streets motivates me.