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Never stop growing

Yassir appreciates the support he has received from McKinsey to grow and work on meaningful projects. He now coaches others to help them continue learning, too.

I joined McKinsey in August 2005 in Morocco. I only had one year of work experience; I had finished my studies at ESSEC in France and completed an internship in Paris.

When I was in my third year of studies, I applied for an internship at McKinsey, but I did not get accepted. I found another internship which turned into a full-time job. One year later, I heard about McKinsey opening a new office in Morocco through two of my friends who joined the firm. They encouraged me to try again. I applied, had my first round of interviews in Paris, second round in Geneva and got the offer.

My career journey at McKinsey

I started at McKinsey as a junior associate, and worked into the associate role. After some time, my wife got an opportunity to complete her MA in New York, and we moved. Partners in the Moroccan office were very supportive; they suggested I complete my MBA at the Columbia University during this time. A year-and-a-half and two degrees later, we returned to Morocco; I became an engagement manager, then an associate principal. When I was elected partner, I started exploring the options to move to another country. McKinsey encourages this so we’re exposed to new clients and sectors. That’s how my family and I moved to Dubai in September 2017.

From the beginning, I’ve done a lot of economic development studies in Africa. My first project was establishing an outsourcing and offshoring zone in Casablanca. We were responsible for the strategy as well as finding and designing the space. It was an amazing experience because, six years later, anyone who comes from the airport to Casablanca, passes that zone and sees ~20,000 people employed there.

I also worked on designing the Casablanca financial hub, a special economic zone. Four years later and the space is real with hundreds of international companies that serve Africa.

I feel fortunate to have worked on projects that really shaped the future of Africa and had such tremendous impact so early in my career.

McKinsey as the best place to work

Never stop growing
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There are three main reasons why I think McKinsey is the best place to work. First, the firm really cares about its people. I have many mentors, coaches and friends. I’m still in touch with previous colleagues who have left McKinsey to go on to other great roles. Second, the firm constantly pushes its people to grow, and I see continuous learning as one of the most important things in life. McKinsey provides the coaching, support and feedback for me to take on new challenges successfully. Finally, the firm feels more like a platform than a firm because I can decide what projects I want to take part in, suggest ideas, meet new clients, relocate, etc. and each of my colleagues has the same opportunity.

Learning at McKinsey

I lead learning efforts for the Middle East, so I spend much time shaping the curriculum. I also created a global learning program for economic development and devote time to coaching colleagues on their career paths, hoping to pay forward the mentorship I’ve received.

One of my favorite learning courses at McKinsey was the workshop for mid-tenure engagement managers. We spent about a week reflecting on our paths and goals for the future. The journey to a partner is not easy, so the firm sets aside time for us to do some introspection and helps us make the conscious decision to pursue that course or look for other alternative paths. It’s all about growth and not just next steps to get promoted.

Another learning program I enjoyed very much was New Partner Orientation. My session was in Bangkok with 200 amazing colleagues from around the globe. Apart from the celebration, we were encouraged to reinvent ourselves and do something different – change clients, geographies, industries, or focus areas. I love being pushed to shake myself and keep learning.

Outside of work

Never stop growing
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I love spending time with my family. I have a 10-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. I also enjoy playing the piano. I started playing again with my son after a break of 20 years. I figured the best way for him to learn was to see me playing and enjoying it. I realized I put my passion for music aside for too long; piano feeds my soul, so it’s important to do for my own well-being. I also play tennis a couple of times per week.

I enjoy traveling and good food. I try to combine both passions and last year, my family drove from Paris to the south of France visiting great restaurants along the way. We did a similar trip in Italy two years ago. In total, I’ve visited more than 50 countries and love exploring the local culture and cuisine. The most unusual thing I’ve tried was a giant snail in Ghana – it wasn’t my favorite, but it was a great experience.

Find a role in Dubai with Yassir