How a McKinsey Consultant Made the Career Shift from Law
Kui is a law school graduate who joined McKinsey’s Nairobi office three years ago. In this post, she shares her experience on making the decision to apply her legal education to consulting and what it was like to return to Nairobi, her home country.
Studying law in the United Kingdom opened the world to me, both through my fellow students and through the globalized perspective of my study. I spent some time at a study abroad program at the National University of Singapore focusing on corporate finance as well as working in law firms that focused on project finance in London. I briefly worked at Bowman’s, an African law firm, doing M&A—including due diligence—and Corporate and Commercial.
All of these experiences drew me closer to wanting to understand how businesses worked from the inside-out. While I enjoyed my legal career, I realized I needed something more, especially in terms of client engagement. I wanted to be able to truly understand clients from a different perspective other than the court room. I decided to move back home and explore potential opportunities. Returning to Nairobi was a breath of fresh air, and I felt inspired to pursue a new, innovative career path.
Joining McKinsey in Kenya meant shifting from the high–level view I had experienced in legal practice to a truly in–depth view on how different industries and companies work. The traditional mindset of a frozen career path through a narrow lens was shattered by experiencing the groundbreaking ways my colleagues work.
During my first engagement at McKinsey—a project called Generation Kenya—I experienced this dynamic approach firsthand. The project involved creating a methodology that could be used and replicated globally as a solution for youth unemployment. It focused on upskilling and subsequently employing youth from underprivileged backgrounds with the intrinsic characteristics for employment in various industries. Today, Generation Kenya is the world’s biggest youth unemployment program.
McKinsey has been a fantastic experience and a truly global one. I’ve worked in Kenya as well as South Africa, Ethiopia, and other African countries. I have engaged with senior leaders across various organizations and acquired expertise in fields and industries that I had only heard about before McKinsey.
Kui has been at McKinsey for three years and is a part of our Nairobi office. She loves travel and activities that give her an adrenaline rush. One top experience was bungee jumping over the Victoria Falls which she would highly recommend for all the thrill-seekers. If you’re not so keen on that, she recommends the Falls which are also incredibly beautiful to explore through the national park. In her own country, she loves Watamu as the perfect beach escape with great Swahili and Italian food.
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