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McKinsey Q&A: Dolapo

– Dolapo is an associate from the Johannesburg office. He has spent almost five years with McKinsey, supporting clients in strategy and process transformations across Africa, North America and Europe.

Interviewer: Describe your career path.

Dolapo

Dolapo: I joined McKinsey in January 2012 after a stint with a financial inclusion think tank. I started in Research & Information. I wanted to gain more knowledge about how the African financial services sector could foster financial inclusion. I was excited to work with teams to bring the latest thinking to our clients.

I became increasingly interested in how the insights I was generating on financial services were used with clients. I asked my sponsors to put me on client-facing teams so I could fully experience the whole process. I worked with clients and colleagues in South Africa, Nigeria and the UK and, after three years in R&I, moved into a generalist consulting role.

My mentors were instrumental in helping me make the switch. I didn’t go through a formal process to transition from R&I to consulting; my colleagues created opportunities for me. That level of support is one of the most amazing things about the McKinsey community. I’ve build relationships here that will last forever.

As a consultant, I’ve worked in financial services, healthcare, real estate, transportation, telecommunications and mining. These experiences have helped me grow and better grasp the interconnectedness of the different parts of the African economy.

Interviewer: What has working at McKinsey taught you about yourself?

Dolapo: I’ve learned just how important connecting with people and having a strong sense of community is to me. I am at my best at work when I’m leveraging my strength at building relationships. It has helped me build trust and respect as a thought partner, even with senior clients.

Similarly, coaching is a strength and passion for me. McKinsey has helped me hone my style and given me many opportunities to practice. I frequently raise my hand to help new team members learn our profession and coach candidates through the recruiting process. Teaching energises me because it gives me an opportunity to meet new people and pay forward the mentorship I’ve received.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of work?

Dolapo: I love traveling and hiking. I’ve visited 30 countries and plan to travel to every African country by 2020. The Ivory Coast and Senegal are next on my list. I also co-founded a networking organization in South Africa; a lot of my free time goes to building and running it.