Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class of 2020: Fernanda Pupe Colaço

Fernanda Pupe Colaço

McKinsey Office: São Paulo, Brazil

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

MBA Program, Concentration: Kellogg dual degree MMM  (MBA + Master in Design and Innovation)

Undergraduate School, Major: Graphic Design – PUC Rio de Janeiro

Why did you choose McKinsey? I chose McKinsey because working here gives me the opportunity to bridge business and design and work toward building relevant services and products.

Having studied Design in undergrad and worked as a designer for most of my professional life, I am very passionate about human-centered products and services. However,  I felt the need to study business and understand how to build business models that would enable user-centered services and products to come to life in a viable way. Hence, I joined Kellogg’s dual degree MMM – MBA +McCormick engineering school’s master in design and innovation – to explore the intersection of business and design. Joining the firm was the natural next step, as here I can work on projects where both knowledge areas overlap and have a positive impact in the world.

What did you love about the business school you attended? The people and culture. Kellogg has a student led, collaborative culture that is one-of-a-kind. I loved meeting and learning from fellow students. Together, we pushed each other further and built friendships for life. I truly have an international support system that will help me when I need it and will inspire me forever.

What lesson or skill did you learn from training (formal or informal) at McKinsey and how has it helped in your role? The two most valuable skills so far have been problem-solving and storytelling. I am constantly amazed at the speed and quality with which my peers and leaders breakdown intricate problems, harness information, and manage to distill analysis and recommendations into a simple and powerful narrative.

Tell us something you’ve learned about yourself or something that brought you closer to teammates or clients during the COVID-19 pandemic? Be open, vulnerable, and true to yourself. You will find support and friendship. Starting at McKinsey remotely had its challenges and I may have suffered from the infamous analysis paralysis: what should I read next? How deep should my analysis be? Is this the granularity expected by the client? Am I approaching this the right way?

Between an avalanche of information, the loneliness of a home office and a dash of impostor syndrome, I learned that asking for help is key. My teammates have always taken the time to explain, problem-solve, and walk me through any and every question and process. We have had fun digital team events, and talked beyond work, in order to know and support each other.

What advice would you give someone interviewing at McKinsey? Like every competitive process, consulting recruiting requires discipline and consistency while prepping and a level head on competition day. Don’t get anxious: remember the firm is made of consultants, normal people, just like you, who have gone through the same process. So relax, bring yourself to the interview, and enjoy the process.

Who has had the biggest impact on you at McKinsey and how has she/he helped you? There are three people who have had the biggest impact on me so far:

Isabel Adler: I worked with Isabel seven years ago, and she became a personal mentor. Helping me with career choices, MBA applications, recruiting and big life decisions. She’s a beacon of light and I know I can find comfort and truth in her words whenever I am in need.

Marina Mansur:  Objective, brave, perceptive and open, Marina helped me navigate my start at McKinsey and has inspired me by the amazing professional, woman and mother she is.

Beatriz Welter: We shared my very first workstream at the firm. Brilliant, quick-witted, and super-caring, Beatriz helped me find confidence in my work, believed in me and embraced my quirkiness. She has become a true friend and source of inspiration.

Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far: Only at McKinsey can you three different calls with three CEOs from major Brazilian companies during your very first week.

My most meaningful achievement (professional or personal) and how it made a difference is…It was being part of the Zell Fellows program and growing my refrigerant reclamation company.  Before going to Kellogg, I was a partner at Recigases, a startup that cleans refrigerant gas so companies can reuse it and be more environmentally sustainable. I am so proud I was able to pursue that endeavor during my time at Kellogg and be part of the Zell Fellows entrepreneurship program. I had amazing teachers and peer entrepreneurs. Getting into such a prestigious program and growing my business by applying the concepts I was learning made me very proud.

A fun fact about me is… As a freelance graphic designer I once designed a Brazilian ice hockey team’s full uniform – from jerseys to t-shirts and cap. The team in question was Lokomotiv Rio, a tribute to Lokomotiv Yaroslav who died in a plane crash, hence they have many Russian fans. The fun part is that once they were available in Russia, my caps became a fashion hit and were even featured in Russia’s main evening news.



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