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Meet the Boston Consulting Group’s MBA Class of 2020: Mary Kiarie

Mary Kiarie

BCG Office: Boston

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

MBA Program, Concentration: MIT, Sloan School of Management

Undergraduate school, major: Yale University, Economics

Focus of current case/engagement: ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) data enablement strategy in Private Equity

Why did you choose BCG? I chose BCG for two main reasons: the people and the learning opportunities.

I knew about the people part even before I started. I remember when I got my offer. The managing director called me, and his first words were “full disclosure.” I thought he was going to tell me that they had enjoyed meeting me and I had a bright future ahead, but they wouldn’t be giving me the offer. So, what followed was the best “BCG moment” ever for me. He had eight people in the room who wanted to congratulate me on the offer. I instantly felt like part of the BCG family.

In terms of learning – whether it’s how to build a better Excel model or how to engage with CEOs – you’re always getting to learn from the best. I love knowing that every day I can learn something new from an ordinary conversation or interaction.

What did you love about the business school you attended? MIT Sloan is about community. I remember meeting some of the students during the application process and everyone mentioned “Sloanies helping Sloanies.” I didn’t truly believe it until I experienced it.

When I was recruiting for consulting, I had so many people willing to proof my resume, recommend resources, and give me mock interviews. When interview prep was too demanding, my core team members were always willing to pull more of the weight for group assignments. I come from a place where it takes a village – and Sloan felt like being part of a village of truly exceptional people.

BCG’s purpose is “unlocking the potential of those who advance the world.” What has BCG unlocked in you? BCG has unlocked my passion for social impact in financial services. Working at the intersection of private equity and social impact practice areas, I’ve been able to collaborate with clients who want to increase financial inclusion for women, direct more funding to Black-owned businesses, and increase their sustainability practices and improve data reporting. Such experiences stir in me the excitement of what the world could be if we used financial resources to drive change.

What was your greatest personal or professional accomplishment and how did you make a difference? This one is an oldie. I left my country about 11 years ago to pursue my studies in the U.S. that changed everything for me because it put me on the path I am on today and gave me the ability to give back and support the village I left behind in Nairobi. It has also informed my career path focusing on finance and social impact—I know what can be achieved with equitable opportunities. It’s in a sense bringing my past into the future.

What word best describes BCG’s culture and give us an example of how you’ve experienced this in your day-to-day work? Empowering. BCG is a place where having a growth mindset is greatly rewarded. Every day comes with approaching new challenges as learning opportunities instead of roadblocks. I recently worked on an industrial goods project, developing a growth strategy for one of our clients. I had no expertise in the industry, but felt fully equipped to navigate the problem. At the end of the case, I felt more confident in my ability to tackle ambiguity and develop thought partnership with clients and other BCGers to grow my capabilities and dive into stretch zones with excitement.

Please describe an “only at BCG” moment you’ve experienced so far. I think my entire time here so far has been an amalgam of “only at BCG” moments. I have been able to work on passion topics like DEI (including racial equity), financial inclusion, and sustainability. The type of questions we get to help our clients answer is just incredible. Being able to discuss solutions with Managing Directors who have accumulated decades of expertise and to work with brilliant Senior Advisors like Nili Gilbert and Jim Lowry have also been moments that have made BCG a really special place for me.

What advice would you give someone interviewing at BCG? Practice! Practice! Practice! Your first practice cases will go horribly, especially if you’ve never done a case interview before. Spend time honing your craft so that on interview day, it’s more of a conversation.

At the same time, don’t forget to tell your story. People at BCG really want to connect with you. By sharing stories and being authentic, you make the best connections. So, dig beyond the “what I’ve accomplished” to the core of how that defines who you are and how you approach life.

Which manager or peer has had the biggest impact on you at BCG, and how has this person made you a better consultant?  There are so many people who have had a magnificent impact on me at BCG, but two people have been my rock stars:

Lorenna Buck has been a mentor and advocate since I met her during my final round interview. I have learned from her how to navigate my career as a new consultant, how to chart a path when so many options could equally be possible, and how to establish boundaries, while still being awesome at my job. Her passion for mentoring others is inspiring, and she does it with so much positive energy and excitement!

Naomi Desai was the coach I needed as I started at BCG as a new consultant. She consistently identified my “coachable moments” when we worked together on building a strategy for an inclusive finance PE fund. Her thoughtful feedback and advice helped me navigate the consulting toolkit and climb a steep learning curve in a remote working environment.

A fun fact about me is…I have 11 siblings back in Kenya (hi, my five sisters and six brothers, and our incredible mom!).

DON’T MISS: MEET THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP’S MBA CLASS OF 2020