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Mentorship & support

Mentorship helped Marina find her place in McKinsey's São Paulo office.

Marina shares how she was supported by members of the McKinsey Black Network during their application process, and why she’s inspired to pay that mentorship forward.

When I was invited to interview with McKinsey, I was not sure the firm would be the place for me because my whole background seemed too different from the McKinsey consultant I had heard about. I came out of a Brazilian public high school, studied geophysics in college, and faced challenges growing up as a black woman.

Even though I’d heard from consultants and recruiters that McKinsey was looking for all sorts of academic profiles and that the firm embraced diversity in all its forms, I found myself anxious and insecure before my interviews. I practiced business cases with my McKinsey Mentor, but I kept asking myself if people at McKinsey would understand where I came from and whether they would hear my voice.

It wasn’t until a consultant from the McKinsey Black Network reached out to me that I felt I had what it would take to be successful at McKinsey. Vanessa, my McKinsey Black Network Mentor, was an associate with the São Paulo office. She made herself available to talk to me about her experience as a woman and a black consultant. Through her, I discovered what the Black Network is and the incredible support its members offer to black consultants, promoting inclusion and attention to racial matters among our firm colleagues. I became very excited about interviewing with McKinsey because of the prospect of being where I knew I could be myself and openly discuss my opinions and struggles.

I received an offer join full–time. When I joined, I knew I wanted to be part of the Black Network and become a McKinsey Mentor for black candidates to pay Vanessa’s support forward. One of my first mentees was a candidate for an internship position with our São Paulo office. My conversations with Vanessa made me realize how important it is to find people who share your fears and concerns, so I wanted to provide that experience to my mentee, too. I contacted her a few times during the interview process to share my experience at McKinsey - applying, interviewing, joining and actually working on engagements. I was honest and open with her, and she opened up to me about her worries. On the day before her final–round interviews, I called again to see how she was doing and suggested she relax – go out for dinner, watch her favorite TV show, anything to relax and reenergize. I reminded her how hard she worked and reassured her that she would do great. She really appreciated that – said it boosted her confidence and helped her succeed.

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