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McKinsey Q&A: Florence

– Florence, an associate in our Miami office, came to McKinsey after earning her MBA from HBS. Perhaps it was fate – she had several friends from undergrad and her section here. Learn about her path from engineering to consulting, how business school helped her to make the transition, and the mentors who help her succeed:

Interviewer: Tell us about your path to business school.


Florence: I studied engineering in college and mostly did research during my internships. When I started working after graduation, I realized how little I knew about business. I picked up a lot of terms and concepts through apprenticeship at my employer; I wanted to go to business school to build my understanding of how business functions worked together.

Interviewer: How did you learn about McKinsey?

Florence: I first heard about the firm in college – I attended a breakfast McKinsey hosted for applicants of African descent. Several friends joined McKinsey as business analysts after graduation, including one of my best friends who wound up being my roommate in New York. When I went to business school, lots of great people in my section had come from the firm; I was always impressed and appreciative of their structured and thoughtful comments and I wanted to emulate them.

Interviewer: How did business school prepare you for consulting?

Florence: The most helpful skills I learned in business school were how to handle ambiguity and how to speak in front of an audience extemporaneously. As a mechanical engineer, I felt I had be 110% correct before speaking up; in consulting, I have to make decisions with incomplete information. Working through cases taught me how to develop early hypotheses and refine them as more information comes to light. I got cold called so often, I learned to have a response ready at all times.

Interviewer: How have you been mentored and supported at McKinsey?

Florence: I found two really great mentors who have made opportunities for me on their teams and provided me with some incredible experiences. Last year, they helped me decide to do a leadership secondment with DevaCurl – asking me questions that made me think about all of my options, understand the implications, and make the best decision for me. They are also really great about shooting me notes to see how I am doing, and it means a lot to me to know they are in my corner.