Building a startup from scratch

I joined McKinsey a few months ago after about four years of work in the tech space. I started as a business analyst at Standard Bank, became a technology consultant at Accenture, and worked as a software designer and developer in the start-up space, launching my own mobile app called Ideas, which is a collaboration platform. During the same time, I lectured software engineering undergraduate and graduate students at my alma matter, the University of Johannesburg, and spent a year hosting a weekly technology feature on radio station Hope FM.

Thabo inline
Thabo inline

Tackling the world's tough challenges

I came to McKinsey because I wanted to learn how to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges from some brilliant problem solvers. I’ve been part of the South Africa office for a few months now—long enough to tell I made the right choice.

Three things in particular excite me about coming to work every day. First, McKinsey truly lives by its values. My colleagues take our mission to create an unrivaled environment for exceptional people seriously. My contributions are valued and my professional development is prioritized. Secondly, my colleagues are some of the most interesting and successful people I’ve ever met. I’m building a large network from which I learn new things on a daily basis, fast-tracking my development. Finally, I’m working on really interesting and challenging projects; no two days are the same and I am helping some of the world’s largest organizations.

Building a startup from scratch

For example, one of my favorite client projects was a digital transformation for a financial client. We built a technology start-up from scratch and developed innovative digital products to help the client achieve long-lasting impact. As a software engineer on this engagement, I helped design and implement innovative apps for the client, as well as shape the culture of the new start-up through hackathons and lunch and learn knowledge sharing sessions.

I was part of the start-up’s development from inception to operation and collaborated with a global team of technology experts from McKinsey. We worked hand-in-hand with our clients throughout the engagement. The experience was very interesting, challenging and fun.

Meetups and mentoring

Outside of client work, I’ve been using McKinsey’s capabilities to run technology meet-ups and mentorships sessions in the broader South African community. I am passionate about social impact in Africa, especially using technology, so I’m also involved with local TED Talks, One Young World and Google Developer Groups. My colleagues at McKinsey have been nothing but supportive of my endeavors because we value entrepreneurship and have a flexible culture that encourages everyone to make their own McKinsey.

If you’re interested in exploring opportunities in digital or management consulting I highly encourage you to check out McKinsey. We offer opportunities for people from all backgrounds who are passionate about solving problems, learning new things, and being entrepreneurial – running with opportunities as they arise.

Find a job like Thabo's

About Thabo

Thabo is a software engineer previously based in Johannesburg, who now lives in Berlin. He has a bachelor’s in information technology and a master’s in computer science from the University of Johannesburg. Prior to joining McKinsey, Thabo worked with Generation, an education management startup, and JoziHub, an information technology startup.

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