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Finding my family at McKinsey

The Emerging Scholars program did more for Kim than teach her about the firm. Find out more and, if you’re starting business school in the US this fall, apply by May 17th.

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The Emerging Scholars program did more for Kim than teach her about McKinsey. If you’re starting business school in the US this fall, apply by May 17th to follow in her footsteps.

I was an Emerging Scholar in 2016. As part of the program, I was paired with a McKinsey Mentor, Betsy, an associate in San Francisco. It was easy for us to click because, like me, Betsy was passionate about the potential for businesses to drive positive social and economic outcomes in developing countries. I served in the Peace Corps in Peru and later worked with growth-stage entrepreneurs in Chile through the nonprofit Endeavor. Then I applied to the Haas School of Business at Berkeley; Betsy had worked in microfinance and international development in international and domestic roles at Kiva. I thought my background would be unusual at McKinsey, so being matched with Betsy made it easy for me to imagine myself as a management consultant. The transition seemed possible.

Betsy and I stayed in touch over the summer and during the fall semester. When she came to campus, she invited me out for drinks. There, I met a group of her friends –four Haas alumna who are part of McKinsey’s San Francisco office and came from social sector backgrounds. That evening was a turning point because I was excited to hear that two of the four women worked primarily with local clients, something which defied the stereotype of management consultants and was attractive to me. I got a better sense of the people and determined McKinsey might be a good fit.

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Kim (third from right) with some of her fellow summer associates

As recruiting at Haas began, I felt I had a nascent little family at McKinsey. They helped me prepare for interviews, balance recruiting with my Haas responsibilities, and celebrated with me when I received my internship offer. I leaned on them as I weighed my options. I called and texted with all sorts of nitty–gritty questions and they always found time for me. What impressed me most was they never pressured me to join McKinsey. They acted like my own personal suite of career advisors, asking me questions to help me figure out what I wanted in my career and what I didn’t.

The final decision–making process was stressful, but my relationships with those McKinsey women were meaningful. Ultimately, they were my tipping point. I knew McKinsey was a large firm with incredible resources, and that was attractive to me, but it was more important to know I had an intimate group of colleagues who would take care of me and help me navigate over time.

Our connections remained strong throughout my summer internship. We swapped texts during the week and grabbed lunch and coffee together on Fridays in the office. I still lean on these friends as I prepare to return to the firm full–time this fall. I can’t wait for the adventures I know we’ll share.

If you’re preparing to enter business school at a university in the US this fall, check out the Emerging Scholars website to learn more and apply by May 17.

Find role’s like Kim’s

More about Kim

Kim is passionate about people and performance. During her undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, Kim was drawn to topics in economic development and energized by trying to break the cycle of poverty, especially in Latin America. After a stint in Washington D.C., she lived in northern Peru as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2011-2013, organizing artisans and young adults to develop savings and credit cooperatives and establish new businesses. Kim later spent three years with Endeavor in Santiago building advisory boards and growth plans for startups.

In 2016, Kim returned to the US to pursue an MBA at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. At Haas, Kim is involved in the Consulting Club, Peer Advising, the founding class of Dialogues on Race, and the Gender Equity Initiative.

She and her husband share a love for Peruvian and Thai food, the Chilean national soccer team, experiencing other cultures, and relaxing in the countryside.