Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class Of 2017

Alessandro Perrone

McKinsey Office: Paris

Hometown: Rome, Italy

MBA Program: INSEAD

Undergraduate School, Major: Bocconi, Economics and Social Sciences

Focus of current engagement: Insurance

Why did you choose McKinsey? I knew McKinsey would help me structure the way I work in a way I couldn’t get any other place. During the interviews, each person I met made me feel comfortable and I established a great connection with people in the Rome office and around the firm. This made a tremendous difference. Furthermore, my INSEAD peers coming from McKinsey were very honest when describing the job, allowing me to better understand the attitudes and culture of the firm.

What lesson from business school best prepared you for your career in consulting at McKinsey? Definitely the ability to work in groups, often under tight time constraints, to share and allocate responsibilities and to respect and better understand cultural differences.

As a team, both at INSEAD and at McKinsey, you establish team norms trying to accommodate everybody’s priorities at the beginning of each project. I found this process very useful as it creates transparency between teammates from the start.

Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. So far, what I found only at McKinsey is the quality and caliber of the people. It seems to me there is common denominator that allows us to have an honest relationship with anyone you meet at the firm.

Furthermore, the obligation to dissent that is rooted in McKinsey’s culture is a trait I have not seen anywhere else. It is not only useful internally as it will push the team’s boundaries in a problem-solving session, but with clients it creates transparency and helps build a more robust relationship over the long term.

I once openly disagreed with a client regarding some numbers. As I was sure about my figures, I knew I had to speak up. Disagreeing with a client can be tough, but both our leadership and clients appreciated the honesty, allowing us to have subsequent open discussions.

What advice would you give to someone interviewing at McKinsey? Be prepared both for case and personal experience questions. My inside tip is to try to think of two answers when an experience or fit question is asked to you as another interviewer may ask the very same question. Be sure to prepare and share very detailed stories that will make you stand out and be interesting in the eyes of your interviewer.

Don’t spend all your time on practice cases; you should be able to assess when your learning curve becomes flatter and flatter. The beneficial thing is you get a detailed feedback at the end of case in order for you to be able to track your progress.

The way you communicate is key. It will be your first lever to establish a connection with your interviewer. Be clear, solution-oriented and conversational.

Finally, if you are looking for a job to expand your knowledge on different industries, then McKinsey is the place to go. The variety of topics to which we are exposed is unmatched. A great way to understand if that is what you are looking for is to talk to people working here. Everyone you meet from the firm is more than happy to answer your questions.

What do you expect to be doing in 5-10 years? Two years ago, I couldn’t imagine myself at McKinsey. Therefore, planning what I will be doing in ten years is a hard question. My priorities are to keep working with extraordinary people, to expand the industries and functions I am exposed to, and to identify an area of interest in which to grow further. Fortunately, I believe I can achieve all these ambitions at McKinsey.

My greatest personal accomplishment is…to have moved across three continents with my wife and child within 18 months with twins on their way. It was hard, but we had an amazing time along the way.

A fun fact about me is…it is hard to be an Italian in France now that Italy is out of the World Cup, especially when your French colleagues are big football/soccer fans.

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