Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

McKinsey Ramps Up MBA Hiring In Latin America—Here’s What You Need To Know

Jaqueline Pellegrini joined McKinsey & Company this year as a senior digital analyst. Based out of São Paulo, she says she's revelling in the company’s dynamic, collaborative culture

By  Thomas Nugent

Mon Oct 15 2018

Jaqueline Pellegrini has two loves: numbers and literature. So, when it came to her career choice, she really was at a fork in the road.

She tried both, and in the end graduated in English with the aspiration of becoming a translator. Her story doesn’t end there though and, while interning during graduation for a digital marketing agency, she found a new passion.

“Working in digital marketing is a dynamic environment, and I learn something new every day,” she beams, “so I never get bored!”

Jaqueline stayed with the agency for eight years, and in that time graduated with an MBA from Unisinos, in the Brazilian city of São Leopoldo. Then the time came for a new challenge, and that was when she started to read about the work McKinsey does in her sector.

“I have always followed McKinsey and their research, so when I started to read about what they were doing with digital I became really interested,” she explains.

Lo and behold, Jaqueline joined McKinsey this year as a senior digital analyst and is based in their São Paulo office. The company’s Latin America operation spans seven countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Peru.

Jaqueline explains the size of the office in São Paulo appealed to her as it offers the opportunity to interact with a lot of different people on a daily basis. “I like that I can constantly meet, talk with, and learn from people in different roles every day,” she adds, “and that there is a lot of sharing between the teams.”

She is one of 500 McKinsey consultants based in Brazil and is part of a 1,000-strong team of consultants working for McKinsey across Latin America. Incidentally, she joined McKinsey in the year of the company’s 30th anniversary of working in Brazil—the São Paulo office opened in 1988.


Paula Castilho, associate partner in São Paulo (left), and Gustavo Tayar, partner in São Paulo (right)

McKinsey’s Brazil operation is vibrant, innovative, and covers a vast array of industries, explains Luisa Pereira, manager of recruiting based in São Paulo.

They serve six of the top 10 companies across Latin America and work with eight of the top 10 companies in Brazil. That work stretches across telecoms, consumer goods, energy, mining and steel, and pharma.

Consultants spend their time working on projects related to strategy, operations and supply chain, marketing and sales, business technology, and digital engagements.

“Candidates are often surprised at our diversity, both in colleagues and clients,” says Luisa, who also has an MBA, graduating in 2010 from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. “We hire a lot of engineers, economists, lawyers, journalists, architects, doctors, and those with business backgrounds.

“We not only have colleagues from all over Brazil but also from international locations, and it’s great to see them add different perspectives and become passionate about our country and culture.”

Luisa adds that many new hires don’t realize how much work McKinsey does in technology, and that there is strong demand for designers, programmers, and data scientists. “I love opening people’s eyes to the breadth of work we do,” she says.


McKinsey colleagues meet in the São Paulo office

Jaqueline’s role encapsulates that passion, and she adds that the dynamic environment of the firm alongside leading digital marketing transformation with clients is what stands out for her.

There also seems to be a close-knit structure that emanates from each team project. Jaqueline says she will typically share breakfast with her team before heading to a client’s site, catching up on not just work and clients, but personal lives as well.

“We will all get together in a team room first thing in the morning and check in about what needs to be accomplished that day and the rest of the week,” she adds. “Sometimes I have days more filled with meetings, workshops and problem solving sessions and other days I have a good amount of solo work. I like that balance.”

Digital marketing, she adds, moves quickly, and it’s rewarding to see tangible progress day in and day out. It’s not without its challenges though, and frequently teams come together during the day to dig into a bit question or problem.

And after that’s all done, Jaqueline explains, she’ll usually connect with her team, return to her hotel, or spend the evening engaged in one of her hobbies. Occasionally, she adds, she burns the midnight oil.

So, what’s her advice for anyone thinking about consulting with McKinsey & Company?

“Two big surprises for me were how the McKinsey culture is so inclusive and that you work with clients all around the world and gain insights and perspective from all of them,” she concludes.

“McKinsey is a place for all those who desire to grow while learning. My advice is to be open to new experiences.”

This article has been sponsored by McKinsey & Company