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Associate, Dubai
Background: Economics, Arab studies

About Eli

McKinsey’s Middle East Office has done a superb job of supporting my transition to a new part of the world and has helped me forge many close friendships in Dubai.

Three factors drew me to McKinsey: the diversity of its people, global opportunities from day one, and the pioneering work the Middle East Office is doing in the region. As an American raised in Namibia but studying the Arab World, I knew from the start of my career search that I wanted to be part of an organization that valued diverse experiences. Because of the importance McKinsey places on inclusion of people with different stories, nationalities and educational backgrounds I knew I would feel right at home. I was further excited by the opportunity to travel and work in the Middle East on projects that are strengthening the economies of the region and enriching the lives of the people who call this part of the world home.

“You cannot take our son away from us!”

My most rewarding and memorable experiences at McKinsey have come from direct interactions with our clients. After spending ten weeks working closely with four senior vice-presidents at a major bank, my engagement manager broke the news to the client that I would be leaving the project. Shocked, one of the client team members exclaimed, “No! You cannot take our son away from us.” Discovering that I had become an adopted member of the client team was a particularly meaningful moment because it meant that I had built a trust-based relationship with a client—something that every McKinsey consultant can do, regardless of age or experience.

Profound commitment to professional development

The genuine interest that my peers and mentors have shown in my professional development is profound. The after-hours coaching that I received from a business analyst while I was a summer intern happened during times when she could have been catching up on work or doing other things. At the other end of the tenure spectrum, a senior director from a previous project contacted our staffing and professional development team to give them a detailed assessment of my Arabic to ensure the right matching of people to project requirements.

Advice to applicants: be open and candid

My advice to people looking to join McKinsey is: do not try to tailor your application or interview to a standard “consulting” profile. Instead, aim to stay current on topics of interest to the region, highlight the unique contributions you can make to the Middle East Office, and engage openly and candidly with everyone you encounter in the recruiting process.


Georgetown University
MA, Arab studies

University of Alabama at Birmingham
BS, economics