Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class of 2022: Alonso Badiola  

Alonso Badiola

McKinsey Office: Mexico City

Hometown: Mexico City

MBA Program and Concentration: Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University); Concentration in Strategy, Economics, Operations, Marketing, and Management Science

Undergraduate School, Major: Universidad Anahuac Mexico, Industrial Engineering and Mechatronics Engineering

Why did you choose McKinsey? I was first drawn to McKinsey because of the McKinsey Transformation practice and its coverage of all industries and sectors, driving rapid and enduring change. Ultimately, however, it was all about the people.

Throughout the recruiting process, I spoke with many individuals from various consulting firms, and the McKinsey folks truly stood out in their genuine care and concern. I knew they were extremely bright people with a clear passion for driving positive change. However, what truly amazed me was their sincere interest in helping me make the right decision, even if it meant going elsewhere!

I knew that I wanted to work alongside those people.

What did you love about the business school you attended? I love how Kellogg fosters an inclusive community where collaboration is key to thriving. The “high-impact, low-ego perspective” is not only a motto, but also a signature trait among Kellogg students. Furthermore, Kellogg offers a flexible curriculum, which allowed me to concentrate on five different majors.

Needless to say, studying at the Global Hub in Evanston during the week and enjoying Chicago during the weekends provided the perfect MBA experience.

What is your most meaningful accomplishment/professional accomplishment prior to your current role? It was the time when I was invited as a New Energy Engineering and Technology research fellow at the Beijing Institute of Technology. It was very challenging at first, as many fellow researchers only spoke Chinese. However, we came up with creative ideas (e.g., number-based language) that allowed us to work together. It was my first professional global experience and has created a global mindset that has pushed me to be more empathetic toward other peoples’ cultures, ideas, and ways of working ever since.

When you think back to the different elements of the McKinsey assessment: the digital test (i.e., Solve), the Personal Experience Interview (PEI), and the Problem-Solving Interview, what stands out? What do you think made you successful and what advice would you give to other MBAs going through McKinsey or another organizations’ process? What really stood out was the problem-solving interview. I thought it would be a very challenging experience where no wrong answers were allowed. However, all four interviews were friendly conversations where interviewers were approachable and helpful when I was getting into a rabbit hole.

For the PEI, I think what made me successful was using people I don’t work with (e.g., my family) as a sounding board to go over my personal experiences. They helped me ensure I showed my personality and who I was.

My advice to all those MBAs striving to ace the interview centers around two aspects: On the one hand, always drive the interview and provide the “so what?” Go beyond a straightforward, obvious answer and think of any risks, implications, and suggested next steps. On the other hand, try not to be too nervous and be yourself. The firm wants to know your true self and wants you to succeed.

What was an assumption you held—either specifically about McKinsey or the management consulting profession as a whole—that was proven wrong once you began working in your role? Why did you hold the misconception and how was it refuted? I held the assumption that McKinsey fostered an extremely competitive environment where consultants looked out only for their careers, and peers might get in your way; however, my close-to-one-year experience has been quite the opposite. All colleagues, from partners to BAs, are invested in helping others succeed. I’ve received many PowerPoint and Excel tips and tricks from partners, as well as on-the-spot feedback from peers and business analysts. I’m amazed at how quickly everyone responds when you ask for help.

McKinsey talks a lot about partnering with its clients to “accelerate sustainable, inclusive growth.” What does that mean to you and how have you seen it in action? Sustainable and inclusive growth means developing skills and capabilities to enable companies and people to achieve long-term, positive impact. I have seen this mindset in my previous engagement. We helped a global CPG company develop a strategic roadmap to introduce digital capabilities. Although our client wanted to execute the transformation themselves, instead of ending the engagement, we assisted them in setting up a Transformation Office, building the skills of their employees, and providing playbooks for each of the 20+ initiatives so they could effectively implement the effort. This way, we helped our client seize the opportunity of enhancing their current business and upskilling their current employees.

Who has had the biggest impact on you at McKinsey and how have they helped you?  This is a tough question because I’ve been lucky to have many leaders who have made a significant impact. Ricardo Cota has had the biggest impact on me during my time at McKinsey. He is the partner who has led most of my engagements. I was very inspired by his depth of expertise, his amazing client skills, and his commitment to leading by example. He has provided me with on-the-spot feedback countless times, and that has helped me round out my toolkit.

Additionally, my two most recent managers, Francesca Sarrecchia and Tatiana Montllonch, have been instrumental in my development, coaching me in the McKinsey way of doing things and offering many step-up opportunities along the way.

Describe an “only at McKinsey” moment. In my very first engagement, I was just getting up to speed when my manager told me to reach out to global experts to come up with a digital logistics solution that had not yet been implemented in Mexico. In the next few days, I was talking and creating a tailored approach with experts from more than five offices (all in different countries!).

McKinsey truly lives up to being “one firm,” drawing from an extensive knowledge platform and pulling together cross-geography teams to address client needs. Thanks to this approach, I have significantly expanded my network.

What’s next? It could be within McKinsey or beyond. How/In what ways do you think your time at McKinsey will prepare you for your next step? I want to continue developing as a global consultant and strengthening my network in Latin America.  In this sense, McKinsey is the perfect place to be, as it has the biggest presence in the region, with more than ten offices across Central & South America and deep experience with over 100 successful transformations.

A fun fact about me is… I don’t know the full lyrics of a single song, but I still sing my heart out.


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