Meet McKinsey’s MBA Class of 2022: Débora Rozão

Débora Rozão

McKinsey Office: Rio de Janeiro

Hometown: Mogi Guaçu – São Paulo

MBA Program and Concentration: IESE – Universidad de Navarra

Undergraduate School, Major: University of São Paulo, Social Communication – concentration in Advertising

Why did you choose McKinsey?  It almost feels like McKinsey chose me instead. I was between jobs in the beginning of 2017 when McKinsey launched a recruiting campaign named “A Place for You.” A friend of mine saw it in the news and said, “It looks like somewhere you would like to work.” When I bumped into McKinsey, I was looking for inspiring leadership, intellectual challenge, and proper recognition – and I can say I found it all and more. McKinsey is a place that invests in me, and gives me the best co-workers I could have asked for. People here are smart and kind, fun to work with. I have not only inspiring leadership, but also inspiring peers.

What did you love about the business school you attended? I have always gotten along well with IESE alumni in the workplace, and as I got closer to the school through school events and personal research, I understood IESE was the school for me. It ended up being my only MBA application. I was searching for a school that could see the people-side beyond business numbers, and IESE is definitely a very responsible school when it comes to that. We had several business cases presented over my MBA program in which the answer was not obvious just looking into the P&L, and I really appreciate that. On top of that, of course, IESE is located in Barcelona [laugh]

What is your most meaningful accomplishment/professional accomplishment prior to your current role? I am the first generation to have attended college in my family, so that would definitely be my biggest accomplishment in life.

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? My biggest learning came from my interviews, no doubt. Coming from a less conventional background and having no clue what consulting was about, business case interviewing was completely new to me. I remember that in one of my last interviews, I thanked the interviewer. I told him that even if I was not hired, I really appreciated that the recruiting process taught me a new way to put things into a perspective that would be useful in the future. The ultimate advice I give to all of my mentees is: be yourself in the interview. Aligning with the firm’s way of working and values is an indication you will be happy at McKinsey.

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? The biggest misconception I had was that McKinsey was not a place for me. Right after I was hired, I felt impostor syndrome. For a while, I was sure I was not supposed to work here among many engineers, some of whom came from affluent families. With time, I realized that being a woman, having an undergraduate degree in advertising, and coming from a different economic background have given me a valuable perspective that contributes a lot to problem solving within the firm and is appreciated by my peers.

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?I have taken part in several engagements focused on transformation and I’m confident we leave a long-lasting, positive impact on our clients by empowering people and leveling up the clients’ capabilities. Working side-by-side with my clients and being able to teach them a little of what I have learned within the firm is something that energizes me.

Who has had the biggest impact on you at McKinsey and how have they helped you?  A former partner named Adelmo Felipe from the Risk practice staffed me on a credit risk modelling engagement in my first year as a business analyst, and it completely changed my career. As my background is in marketing and advertising, I never imagined I could be chosen to run models alongside a data scientist at a bank. And yet, there I was. The opportunity to work on something challenging, out of my comfort zone, while having all the coaching I needed to succeed, led me to choose the Risk Practice as my association in the firm.

Describe an “only at McKinsey” moment. Only at McKinsey can you feel as though you have known since forever a person you have only just met. As life at McKinsey can be intense, you end up, sometimes, spending many hours a day with a person and also weekends together (in engagements abroad, for example). You quickly become best friends with your co-workers. I love it! It’s fantastic!

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? McKinsey has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities and enabled me to move toward my goals. At this moment, I enjoy my career at McKinsey and will continue my path to partner, for it is very dynamic and I am constantly growing my skills. If and when I start feeling I do not enjoy consulting any longer, I will pursue something else knowing that I am a great professional.

A fun fact about me is… that I am addicted to travelling and exploring different sites and cultures. Between the end of my MBA and my return to McKinsey, I have spent 7 months in a sabbatical and have been to 30 countries over 12 months.


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