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Finding a place where I belong

Anallyne talks about overcoming obstacles and finding her place at McKinsey.

My background

Finding a place where I belong
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I was born in a small town in the northeast region of Brazil. I was the first and only member of my immediate family who entered and completed a degree at a public university. My grandparents were illiterate. My father did not complete his primary education and was a car seller, and my mother worked as a schoolteacher. I was determined to obtain formal education so at the age of 17, I started working to earn my living and support myself financially, with the objective of entering the chemical engineering course at the Federal University of Paraíba.

What kept me going

Of course, there were many obstacles along the way, but three main factors helped me. First, knowing what I wanted in my life and having strong determination to pursue those objectives kept me going. I knew pursuing higher education would give me a chance to change my social status. Second, I never felt sorry for myself. I did not waste time looking for culprits responsible for the financial situation of my family or focusing on the barriers. It was more productive to focus on the strategy I would use to overcome those barriers. Lastly, I did everything with passion! That’s the secret to excellence.

Joining McKinsey

Finding a place where I belong
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After I graduated in chemical engineering, I worked for seven years with industrial processes (fuels, textiles, food and beverages, water treatment, etc.). I noticed that what delighted me most was learning new things. I was falling in love with every new industry and it was this thirst for new knowledge and experiences that led me to consulting. One day, I found a McKinsey post on LinkedIn advertising "A Place for You" – an initiative offering skill-building webinars for women during the selection process. I immediately signed up. In one lecture I attended, a consultant with the same background as mine talked about the diverse and exciting projects she worked on within just one year of joining the firm. I decided this was exactly what I wanted.

When I joined McKinsey in Sao Paulo, I met a lot of amazing people who impressed me with their intellectual curiosity and varied, accomplished backgrounds. At first, I worried I didn’t deserve to be among these intellectually savvy people and I’d never fit in. On my first project, I realized I was wrong. I was staffed to an engagement in which I could showcase my technical expertise, which helped me build a trusting relationship with our clients during our first meetings. Then, as a team, we spent time learning how to best work together. I was given a lot of autonomy. I felt at home with that team. The outcome of this project, which was a pilot in a client plant, was so great that we expanded our work to all the client’s factories globally.

Being at my best

McKinsey provides an indescribably strong support network. People proactively offer to help as I develop professionally. At the end of my first project, a partner called me into his office to talk. He said he would like to be my mentor because he saw great skills in relating to clients and a strong technical knowledge in manufacturing, but knew I would need help to learn the consulting toolkit. I found this attitude incredibly inspiring. For the first time in my life I felt, I didn't need to be alone in my development journey. I knew I would have a support network to help me reach my full potential.

Finding my place at McKinsey

Without a doubt, the sense of belonging is what I love most about McKinsey. As a woman and someone who comes from a humble background, I faced great career difficulties. I set two major goals in my life: inspire people to do their best and leave a positive mark on the equality of race, gender, and social mobility in the world. I realized I could achieve my aspirations at McKinsey, helping clients achieve a potential they didn’t realize they had and providing a fairer environment for all people through diversity and inclusion. Today, I am part of two affinity groups: All In for the inclusion and growth of women in the workforce and PRISM (Progressing, Representation & Inclusion in Social Mobility) for people who come from a background as humble as mine. These groups make me feel like McKinsey is my place.

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