Nnamdi Obukwelu is a rising MBA2 and a Summer Associate with McKinsey & Company. Nnamdi serves as the Co-President of Stern in Africa (SiA) and VP of Admissions for AHBBS. He is specializing in Strategy and Finance, and when he’s not eating pizza in the Leadership Lounge, you can find him at 404 Fitness eagerly waiting to use one of the squat racks.
NYU Stern’s “Summer Internship Series” sheds light into Sternies’ internship experiences. Posts are written by rising MBA2s who are currently working at their summer internship.
I write this post in the late hours of the night as I sit in our “team room” (Team Room: the room used by management consultants as a central hub for working, problem solving, etc.), my freshly brewed cup of coffee in hand and Uber Eats order en route. I’m quite reflective on nights like this, especially as I’m approaching the tail-end of my internship. As a result, opportunities to write about my journey are quite welcomed.
Let’s go back to the summer of 2017. At the time, I was an equity research analyst at a sell-side shop in Connecticut, where I covered the restaurants and consumer staples sectors. Overall, I was enjoying my career, but I felt that something was missing. As an equity research analyst, you’re always in the weeds trying to understand the key drivers of industries and how those factors will affect the companies within it. Once you understand that, you take a position (Long or Short) on a stock and build pitch books explaining your position. However, I felt a dearth of finality. Once you’ve pitched your idea, either you were right, or the stock moved against you. After that, you move on, in search for your next “big idea.” But I wanted more … I wanted to be able to have meaningful impact. Instead of working as a lone wolf, I wanted to be a thought partner, working with management teams to create value and forge a new, more profitable way forward. After much contemplation, I concluded that consulting would be a great way to achieve this, and business school a worthy mechanism through which to vet the possible consulting paths that lie ahead.
When I started at NYU Stern last Fall as a career-switcher, I knew that I had to be focused in my efforts. Luckily, I entered school as a Consortium Fellow, and was fortunate enough to begin cultivating relationships with consultancies early on. When the time came, I went through the recruiting cycle and landed an internship offer with my top choice, McKinsey & Company. My experience this summer has totally exceeded my expectations, as I’ve had the opportunity to work with a Fortune 100 company as part of McKinsey’s RTS (Reset. Transform. Sustain.) practice. RTS is a special unit of McKinsey that delivers a proven approach for transformational change to clients seeking radical, rapid, and sustainable performance improvement. Over the course of the summer I led two work-streams, and in addition to having the opportunity to build standard consulting skills, I most enjoyed having the opportunity to put my “coach” hat on and work hand-in-hand with clients as we moved the company to a new steady state. Transformations can be an intricate endeavor, especially for large enterprises. I learned early on that though hard-skills are very important, the oft overlooked soft-skills are just as, if not more, important, especially for consultants at the post-MBA level who are tasked with managing client expectations while still delivering significant value. Despite the rigor and demands of this summer, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed my time here. Watching senior executives pitch decks that I spent countless hours working on and somehow building significant relationships with clients that I first met 2.5 months ago is exceptionally rewarding. The palpable nature of the work that I did made it all worth it.
For the MBA1s reading this, as you attack your first year of school, do so with an open mind and take advantage of all the opportunities presented. Leverage the MBA2s who worked in an industry you are looking to break into. The best part about NYU Stern experience is the people, so do your best to tap into that and make the most of this unique time in your life.