Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class of 2021: Mariel Nakashima

Mariel Nakashima

McKinsey Office: Lima, Peru

Hometown: Lima, Peru

MBA Program, Concentration: IESE Business School (Barcelona, Spain)

Undergraduate School, Major: Universidad de Lima (Lima, Peru) – Business Administration

Why did you choose McKinsey? After the MBA, I wanted to work in a place that would put me out of my comfort zone, challenge me to grow and learn something new every day. McKinsey was the right choice because of its position at the forefront of consulting, global expertise, and a collaborative, inclusive environment.

What did you love about the business school you attended? One of the things I loved most about IESE was its people-centered vision and the collaborative environment. The school encouraged us to go beyond the financials and to think about the impact on people and the social responsibility that our work could have. In that sense, the case method used by IESE helped a lot to think in an integrative way and to gain diverse perspectives from the discussions with my classmates.

What lesson or skill did you learn from training (formal or informal) at McKinsey and how has it helped in your role? Team learning sessions have been one key lesson during my engagements to help understand the team better, their motivations, and to find what is the best way to work together. Especially when working remotely, not only did it help foster trust and friendship within the team, but also allowed learning the different working styles of each team member.

Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. We were having lunch with two friends in my team and talking about relationships and how they differ from each other. Someone mentioned that there is a book that explains a framework of the five types of love languages. We quickly realized that “only at McKinsey” we analyze even simple situations based on a framework. It was fun and interesting to discuss the framework of love languages!

Tell us something you’ve learned about yourself or something that brought you closer to teammates or clients during the COVID-19 pandemic? I learned that I have more resilience that I could imagine. Despite the difficult times during COVID and being away from my family (I was in Barcelona when the pandemic hit and it was one of the cities with the highest number of cases), I stayed positive, kept my mind busy and, (most importantly) appreciated my friends’ support (everyday zoom calls!). I believe that focusing on taking care of myself as a priority (meditation, enjoying nature, etc.) was what kept me happy during those times.

What advice would you give someone interviewing at McKinsey? I would say that definitely prepare and practice several case interviews to be confident. In addition, I think also important is that you enjoy the process and you are able to show that positive energy and motivation in your interview.

Who has had the biggest impact on you at McKinsey and how has she/he helped you? I worked with two amazing women in my team (engagement manager and associate partner) during my first projects in McKinsey. It has been really encouraging to know through their experiences that you can achieve a work-life balance (more importantly when you have kids) and that there are many opportunities for women in the firm to build a successful career.

My most meaningful achievement (professional or personal) and how it made a difference is…Having the MBA experience in one of the top global business schools has been one meaningful achievement for me. It was a milestone in my professional career which allowed me to work in a top consulting firm, live abroad and gain such diverse and international perspectives for my life.

A fun fact about me is… I collect cookbooks because, as a Peruvian, I am passionate about food. I also learned to cook Indian food during the MBA thanks to my flat mate…(part of my great MBA international experience!).


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