Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class Of 2017

Rafael Arauj

McKinsey Office: Sao Paulo

Hometown: Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

MBA Program: Northwestern University, Kellogg school of Management

Undergraduate School, Major: Universidade de Sao Paulo – Computer Engineering

Focus of current engagement: Bank branch transformation

Why did you choose McKinsey? With the business world ripe for innovation and disruption, companies will be seeking help to develop strategies that disrupt the marketplace and adapt their business model to consumers’ changing behavior. McKinsey’s history and its efforts to develop capabilities in areas like digital, advanced analytics, and big data position the firm and our people really well for the days to come. In addition to McKinsey’s expertise and growth, its established values, and dedication to people were also key in my decision.

What lesson from business school best prepared you for your career in consulting at McKinsey?  One lesson is to always leverage other people’s expertise in solving a task you are not familiar with and to be unafraid to seek help. All the hard skills (strategy, finance, ops) are a requirement and will surely help, but if you know where to look and have the right attitude, you will surely be able to find someone within the firm to help you with ideas for the task at hand.

Another lesson is about learning to work with outstanding people from different background and encouraging a collaborative environment. The team room tends to be an intense workplace, where you spend a lot of time and debate topics. A collaborative and transparent environment makes the experience engaging and meaningful.

Tell us about an “Only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. Instead of a classic PowerPoint presentation, we delivered our diagnostic for costumer journeys in a big walking gallery and it turned out to be quite impressive. We worked with the client’s marketing team, McKinsey Digital Labs, and sketch artists to create an immersive experience where the client’s team could easily see the most relevant pain points for their customer, a list of 200+ opportunities, and concepts of an ideal customer journey. Working in a team with a diverse skillset was fun and challenging. Bringing the ideas out of the PowerPoint deck really helped the initiatives get buy-in from the client’s management team and spread the world about costumer focus and costumer experience, something the client really needed.

What advice would you give to someone interviewing at McKinsey? Sometimes, people focus too much on gaining case expertise and forget to reflect on their experiences and what they want for their future. Consulting clubs are masters in case preparation, and the challenge should not be underestimated, but the other parts of the interview are important as well. It is important for candidates to be able to articulate their past achievements, expectations for the future and create rapport with the interviewer.

What do you expect to be doing in 5-10 years? I expect to be influencing and leading the digital transformation of financial services in Brazil. It’s a highly concentrated industry that recently has been swarmed with start-ups and new entrants, so there are a lot of interesting things happening in Brazil. With the digital transformation and a greater focus on customer experience, lots of players are gaining or losing relevance based on their speed to deliver new capabilities for their clients. I am eager to take part in these changes

My greatest personal or professional accomplishment is…Very hard to pinpoint one specific accomplishment. The whole journey so far has been very satisfying, but hiking Kilimanjaro will for sure be a story I’ll remember.

A fun fact about me is…Before my MBA I worked with a colleague who had the same first and last name. Up to this day, people still mix us up and I hope they wrote their recommendation letters about the right person.

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