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Mariia shares her experience and reflections from Next Generation Women Leaders 2020.

The Next Generation Women Leaders EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) is a three-day virtual event May 6 – 8 followed by workshops and informative virtual sessions throughout May and June. The kick-off event program includes inspiring speeches, panel discussions and skill building workshops, as well as plenty of time for networking and fun.

Mariia, a participant of the event in 2020, shares her experience and reflections.

Mariia, you joined McKinsey after attending Next Generation Women Leaders (NGWL) 2020. Was consulting a natural career step for you?

Not at all. My background is in journalism, film and area studies. I did not realize I could be a good fit for management consulting. I joined NGWL to explore the importance of women in leadership and learn new skills, but taking part in the event in May 2020 helped me realize a career in consulting may be for me. I decided to apply and, four months later, I signed a contract with McKinsey in London to join the firm as a junior associate.

What was your biggest takeaway from the event?

I remember Kate, a senior partner and global leader of McKinsey’s Digital practice saying, “You can teach a person to be anything except being who they are”. This simple truth guided me through the whole recruitment process. Her advice led me to speak about the most challenging situation I’ve overcome in my personal life in my final round of interviews. Kate made me realize that my life journey was as important as my work experience in shaping the person and professional I became.

What did you learn about McKinsey thanks to the event?

McKinsey’s dedication to diversity and inclusion was evident throughout the event. The firm nurtures a specific approach to problem-solving – and the lecturers at NGWL talked about this at length – but this does not mean you need to suppress your ways of thinking. The firm values a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives as they guarantee better solutions and recommendations for clients.

Were you able to connect with other participants in the virtual setting?

Yes. Apart from the professional part of the agenda, we also had informal breakout sessions. We used various platforms, such as WhatsApp and Telegram to create groups focused on different topics, including case practice, interesting books, films and inspiring speakers. I expanded my network and got in touch with consultants and recruiting colleagues at McKinsey as well as emerging female leaders from all around the globe. I could not have secured my dream job without their support and constructive feedback. I look forward to supporting future NGWL participants as others did for me last year.

Apply for the Next Generation Women Leaders EMEA virtual program by March 23:
https://www.mckinsey.com/next-generation-women-leaders/emea

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