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McKinsey Q&A: Sizwe

– Meet Sizwe, a McKinsey Leadership Program fellow based in Johannesburg.

Interviewer: Why did you apply to the McKinsey Leadership Program (MLP)?

Sizwe

Sizwe: Prior to joining McKinsey I worked for companies that were less than two years old. While they were exciting entrepreneurial environments, I ultimately left because I felt like I wasn’t growing professionally as quickly as I would have liked. MLP was particularly appealing for three reasons:

  • Accelerated professional development through the McKinsey consulting experience
  • Strong focus on leadership development with exposure to successful cross-sector leaders and opportunities to foster self-awareness
  • Externship opportunities to work in a field I was interested in and couldn't access on my own

Interviewer: What was the best part of MLP?

Sizwe: The strong sense of support from Sister Carice and other MLP fellows. It was great to immediately have a group of people who wanted to help me be successful. The MLP program offers great training and events.

Interviewer: What has been your most memorable engagement at the firm?

Sizwe: My second engagement helping a consumer packaged goods client was the best. It was my dream study because I had a ROCKSTAR team, a very interesting and challenging topic, committed clients, and a beautiful location with amazing restaurants and the best food I've ever had. That experience triggered my interest in joining McKinsey after completing the program.

Interviewer: What have you been involved with outside of client work at McKinsey?

Sizwe: I've set up secondments for consultants to work with start-ups in the Innovation Hub in Pretoria and I've worked on developing marketing materials for a Digital Summit McKinsey hosted for more than 100 C-level business leaders showcasing cutting edge digital techniques. I also led an office initiative called "Super Friday," which is a monthly event where colleagues share client impact stories and learn about interesting initiatives going on in the office and the firm.

Interviewer What advice would you give to others applying for McKinsey or the MLP?

Sizwe: Be clear on why you want to join. People will help you if they know what you want to do.

Remember that you're growing (fast), so at times you might feel uncomfortable. Your teammates are there to support you.

Practice cases with current or former consultants - they will give you honest feedback on how to be successful.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of work?

Sizwe: I am passionate about life hacking, behavioral economics and psychology, and finding great restaurants and spots to hang out, books, apps and podcasts.