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Meaningful work and relationships

Kimika found mentorship and developed meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients during her internship, which influenced her decision to return full-time.

Mentorship on day one

When I joined McKinsey as a summer intern, I was excited and nervous about the level of responsibility I would have on a client project. I was given meaningful and challenging work, but never without the resources and mentorship I needed to succeed. For example, my engagement manager Adrian often chatted with me about what I had done well and how the overall project was progressing. He took time to explain how the individual workstreams on which my teammates and I focused fit together to contribute to our overall impact with our clients. Adrian also shared insight on client service. Once, he reflected on his goals going into the day and how the agenda had completely changed in response to new client needs. You have to be able to “release your agenda” sometimes, he told me.

Running the show with the CEO

Halfway through the summer, my team flew to a new client site to meet with the leadership of one of the client’s subsidiaries. We were planning to return to Chicago on Tuesday night, but last-minute schedule changes landed us with one more meeting on the following Wednesday afternoon. “Kimika, you got this!” Adrian told me when he explained that the rest of my team would be flying back for other meetings as planned, while I would stay behind to conduct the Wednesday afternoon meeting alongside two McKinsey colleagues outside of our team. I was nervous to represent my whole team, but excited too. The meeting the next day went smoothly, and my one-on-one meetings with the clients afterward gave me new insights to bring back to my team. I even had lunch with the CEO!

My excitement to return

This experience makes me excited to rejoin McKinsey full-time and continue to take on more responsibility as my career develops. Moreover, this experience taught me I never have to go it alone. McKinsey works because there are firm resources, knowledge, teammates, and senior leaders who wrap around every client service team. It is no one person’s responsibility to guarantee the perfect outcome; instead, we work together for it and pull in mentors along the way.

Creating meaningful relationships on low-key nights

I am a people person, so spending time with clients and colleagues is my favorite part about working at McKinsey. It’s not just that my clients and colleagues are incredibly smart, curious, and talented (which they are) but they are fun too! Some of my favorite team memories are from bonding events. One time, my team drove to the forest after work to go for a run and enjoy a picnic. After getting left in the dust by the partner on my team, Ryan, who runs like a gazelle, we settled down for a barbecue. I am vegetarian, so my team bought black bean burgers and reserved a special spot on the grill for my food. Low-key nights like that are my favorites. Even mundane activities like driving from the hotel to the client site brought joy and laughter when my team would banter over who was the “most Millennial,” who got the aux cord, or who was responsible for us getting lost.

About me

Outside of work, I love travel, food, fitness, and the outdoors. For our next international vacation, my boyfriend and I are hoping to take each other to visit our respective home countries, Pakistan and Japan. We were planning to go to Tokyo for the Summer 2020 Olympics, but settled for hiking together in Duluth, Minnesota instead. In addition, I enjoy Pilates and weightlifting. This is something I mention during our team norm meetings when each colleague shares their personal and professional goals for the project, because I am at my best when I exercise during the week. I am a serious foodie. I enjoy trying new recipes and restaurants…anything from home-cooked meals to street food, I don’t discriminate! Traveling gives me the opportunity to sample new foods and drinks, from buñuelos sold on streets in Colombia to feuerzangenbowle served in German Christmas markets.

Finally, I am passionate about the environment, homelessness, and education as a path to social mobility. In college, most of my extracurriculars were focused on campus sustainability initiatives, like encouraging university administrators and trustees to set a new carbon emissions goal and fund student environmental research. My long-term goal is to work in a corporate sustainability role. I have also volunteered for homelessness and education nonprofits like LifeMoves, ChicagoHOPES, and QuestBridge. I plan to stay involved in QuestBridge once I start full-time, and to look for McKinsey projects and pro-bono work that intersects with these passions of mine.

Our Sophomore (second-year) Diversity Leaders Internship program (SDLI) provides first-hand experience with consulting at McKinsey & Company to a select group of undergraduate students who identify as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, and/or part of Indigenous groups in North America. This internship experience is comparable to our Summer Business Analyst program. Candidates who are currently undergraduate sophomores or in their second-year of undergraduate studies at US or Canadian universities are eligible to apply. Learn more about the SDLI program. 

Apply to the SDLI internship today