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Experiencing the unexpected

Discovering I can build a great social/sports life while working full-time at McKinsey.

Read more about: Diversity | Community | Emerging markets

I thought the fast pace and impact-driven culture at McKinsey meant everyone here would be a workaholic. Yet, here I am, one year later and see I could not have been more wrong. Let me give you five examples from various days in my first year:

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Day 0: I joined 50 other recent hires from all over the world for the start of an intense two-week training. The program was tailored to those who joined without a business background and structured like a mini–MBA. I thought it would be boring but I was quickly proven wrong. The sports facility where it was held was insane –“I wish my basketball group was here to see this,” I thought. At the end of the first day, I found two other guys who also played competitive basketball, and five others who enjoyed the game. We ended up playing every evening after the training concluded. They helped me feel at home and I was already building friendships.

Day 1: The Dubai office organized a desert event for all the recent joiners. I lived in Dubai for a few years before McKinsey, working at Bombardier Transportation, and remember multiple desert nights dancing under the clear sky with friends. So, I thought, “it cannot be as much fun as I had in the past, but let’s try it”. After dinner, a few of us took control of the music and soon there were 20+ of us dancing salsa and reggaet├│n until our legs couldn’t move any more.

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Day 7: I found out the office had a basketball team. I expected a few people who played once a month like in my old company. I went to practice on Saturday and was shocked to see 15 people and competitive play. Since then, I have made it my Saturday routine. Not long ago, we signed up for a semi-professional league in Dubai. Most of the team was working on projects in Saudi Arabia and flew to Dubai on Wednesdays to make it to the games.

Day 100: The last match of the Portuguese football championship and my team, Benfica, was playing. Since I moved from Lisbon five years ago, watching my team from afar didn’t feel the same. One of the partners invited me and two other Benfica supporters from the office to watch the match at his place. He had transformed his home into a mini red stadium - the cathedral as we call it. One of the most memorable moments of the evening – beyond my team winning – was his newborn baby waking up to celebrate the championship with us in his team-themed pajamas.

Day 365: My McKinsey “basketball family” formed a team to play in a tournament organized by the Dubai municipality as part of their fitness campaign. We played five games and earned the silver medal with a “buzzer beater” shot at the semi-final. I felt like a kid again playing games back-to-back all day. A few days later, we had a corporate beach volleyball tournament – and this time we brought home the gold medal.

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About me:

My passion for basketball started at an early age. I played at a national level throughout school. I am thrilled to dabble in this sport while also working at McKinsey.

After my studies I worked for Bombardier Transportation where I designed, tested and commissioned driverless metros and trains – including the newest airport shuttle at the Dubai International Airport Terminal-1. As a senior associate my work focuses on two key areas:

1) Banking – I help banks in the Middle East revamp their distribution networks and digital capabilities. I also help optimize their coverage models and re-design their customer journeys.

2) Advanced Analytics – I work on design assortment based on customer segmentation for some of the largest grocery retailers. This work is especially interesting in the Middle East where customer segments and ethnicities live in completely different neighbourhoods.

Interested in a role like Nunos? Click here.

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