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From music to McKinsey

Entrepreneur and Wharton grad Brian joined McKinsey in Silicon Valley to broaden his business acumen and tackle tough challenges. McKinsey’s Black Network has been instrumental in helping him feel at home and succeed.

To quote the great American poet P. Diddy, I “love two things…my family, my music.” Pre-McKinsey, I was an entrepreneur. I started a hip-hop record label because I believed popular culture was the optimal vehicle to reach young people from lower-income communities. I wanted to make it “cool” to be smart. I fell short of having the impact I intended and saw a need to re-tool, so I enrolled in Wharton’s MBA program. Ultimately, I came to McKinsey to gain broader insights as to how businesses function and grow. I wanted to learn better problem-solving skills and test myself by tackling a range of complex business problems.

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I started in August and have focused on developing my basic McKinsey consulting tool-kit. I am continually challenged, constantly learning, and genuinely enjoying seeing how the work I do affects my clients. Long term, I want to try again to build something of my own that will impact the lives of young people. I am not 100% sure what that will look like but I’m confident my time at the firm will prepare me to find success this time.

I was first exposed to McKinsey’s Black Network during the recruiting process. I met Zainep Mahmoud who helped me prepare for the case portions of my interviews and Shelly Stewart who energetically showed me there was a place for me at McKinsey.

The Black Network was core to my McKinsey journey before I even started, and now, it serves as a foundation of support that makes the firm easier to navigate. From training programs when I started to ongoing “check-ins” with colleagues, this network had made my transition from entrepreneur to consultant much easier than I envisioned. I am active in the Black Network because I want to give the same support and encouragement to a new set of colleagues who may have the same nerves and doubts I did when I joined. I want to help them realize how special this place is, give them a strong sense of community and help them succeed.