August 2016, one week before I left for South Korea, I boarded a flight to São Paulo to participate in a career conference. As I was leaving, my father asked, “Why are you going to the job fair if you are going to get your master’s and live in Korea?” Thankfully, I went, because that’s where I met McKinsey. But the story of how I got here is a bit longer.
My experience in South KoreaPeople always ask me why I went to Korea. The answer is because it was very different from Brazil. I wanted to see it myself, taste the food, meet new people, and learn a different culture. I had been in South Korea in 2012 for a visit; this time, I’d stay for a year, pursuing my master’s degree at Sungkyunkwan University.
Every day was exciting and unpredictable. Every day I learned something new and pushed myself beyond my limits. I did research, attended classes, and spent significant time on activities outside of the university, like starting new companies. I joined the startup One Day One Communication (ODOC) to implement technology for the Korean beauty market. I also practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. One day, I visited a gym close to my house and sparred with the coach; he invited me to lead the kid’s classes. Training and teaching at that gym gave me the chance to travel for my students’ and my own competitions. I even entered an amateur MMA fight (which I won by KO) for a small local promotion.
My McKinsey communityThese experiences made me grow and taught me to respect different cultures. I built a lifetime of memories, friendships, and professional contacts. Still, I felt it was time to come home to Brazil to seek new challenges after I graduated. Before my program ended, I applied to McKinsey, interviewed and received an offer to join.
During McKinsey’s recruiting process, I talked to many people who guided me, shared their own experiences, and gave me the information I needed to make my decision. The members of the São Paulo office and the Brazilian chapter of the McKinsey Black Network left perhaps the greatest impression. They reached out to welcome me before my first day. They invited me for lunch and made me feel really embraced.
I know McKinsey will challenge me daily, just like Korea did. I’m looking forward to it because I know those challenges will help me develop and be at my best. I know I won’t face them alone. And, I am looking forward for making real change in Brazil and beyond.
About AndreAndre is a McKinsey software engineer based in São Paulo, Brazil. Prior to joining McKinsey, he was a technology manager at ODOC, a Korean technology company. Andre has a bachelor's in electrical engineering from the Universidade Federal de Itajubá (UNFEI) in Brazil, and a master's in electrical & computer engineering from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea.
For more information on McKinsey's software engineering career paths, visit mckinsey.com/TechCareers.