– Nisha, an associate in our London office, started her McKinsey journey as one of our Emerging Scholars in 2013, just before beginning her MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Emerging Scholars is our scholarship opportunity for pre-MBA students entering the class of 2018. The program introduces participants to McKinsey and their peers before they start school and provides financial support for their degree. You can learn more and apply by May 19 on our website.
Interviewer: Why did you apply to McKinsey’s Emerging Scholars program?
Nisha: I wanted to better understand what management consulting was, explore the range of problems consultants solve, and determine whether McKinsey would be a good fit for me. I was eager to learn more because business was a shift for me. Prior to Booth, I worked in low-income education – teaching science with Teach for America and then helping open and run a KIPP charter school (one of my photos is of me with a former student during an anatomy day I organized to let the kids hold real human organs, learn to do surgeons’ sutures, and experiment with a laproscopic surgery device).
Interviewer: What was the best part of Emerging Scholars?
Nisha: The most exciting part was working on a real McKinsey case with a group of fellow scholars and McKinsey consultants from across the U.S. We brainstormed ways to reduce costs in manufacturing a tech product. Some of McKinsey’s design-to-value engineers tore apart the product for us, which was fascinating. I had a blast and walked away knowing these were the types of globally impactful problems I wanted to solve, the mentors I wanted to learn from, and the people I wanted to hang out with in my free time.
I felt very fortunate to form long-lasting relationships with the other scholars and the McKinsey consultants. The other Emerging Scholars and I kept in touch throughout the school year; we practiced cases over Skype and provided moral support for each other throughout the recruiting process. My McKinsey mentors are people I still seek out for advice, even though it’s been three years since I participated in the program.
Interviewer: How did participating in Emerging Scholars help you as you joined McKinsey?
Nisha: I got an early look at management consulting and how McKinsey works, which enabled me to begin my MBA confident that I’d pursue this career path. I found this certainty really valuable since the transition to business school for non-traditional MBA candidates like me can be overwhelming. Two of my best friends in business school were fellow scholars I met during the Emerging Scholars celebration weekend.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to others considering joining McKinsey or applying for Emerging Scholars?
Nisha: Be yourself and bring your personality into the interviews. There’s no cookie-cutter McKinsey consultant; we value your personality, interests, and background. That’s one of the greatest strengths of the firm.
Interviewer: What keeps you busy in your free time?
Nisha: I’m a singer – I was part of a band in business school and we performed a couple times a year at the House of Blues and the Booth/Kellogg Battle of the Bands.