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How I Got the Job: Associate, McKinsey and Company

Jan 9, 2023
Mohammed Abouzaid leverages MBA program to switch into consulting career

By Arial Starks

In 2008, Mohammed Abouzaid graduated from the National School of Applied Sciences in Morocco and began his career as a computer software engineer. He worked in the industry for about 13 years before pivoting to auditing and then ultimately deciding to return to school to further his education. 

“I felt I was lacking some tools and skills, and so I started looking into what could provide me with them,” Abouzaid said. “That was the main driver initially, but when I learned more about MBA programs and what opportunities it would provide me with, the more interested I became in doing more than just enhancing my career, but rather switching my career altogether,” he added.

Abouzaid says it was Vanderbilt’s close-knit community that drew him to the program. “The classes were not too big and not too small, but just that sweet spot in between that allows you to connect with both the professors and other students,” he said.

By early September 2021, Abouzaid hit the ground running with recruiting efforts. He participated in mock interviews as a member of the Owen Consulting Club, as well as resume and cover letter review with the Career Management Center (CMC). All of these resources helped to prepare Abouzaid for interviewing with firms.

Abouzaid submitted an application to several firms through the school’s online recruiting platform and connected with recruiters at Currax Pharmaceuticals. He was invited to 4 rounds of interviews with the company throughout October 2021 before landing an internship at the Nashville office. He started the internship in July of 2022 and continued to work with them through his second year.

“The internship is amazing, because I have the opportunity to use everything I learned in the classroom,” Abouzaid said. “From analytics to finance modeling and strategy, I’ve been able to apply some of everything I’ve learned directly on the job.”

While Abouzaid enjoyed his internship with Currax Pharmaceuticals, he knew that he wanted to return to the Middle East. Currax did not have any opportunities in that region, so he re-recruited during his second year. 

Abouzaid networked with Owen alums from McKinsey & Company, who helped him practice his interviewing skills. He was able to leverage these connections and land a Super Day interview with the company’s New York City office in October 2022. After several rounds of interviews with McKinsey employees on all levels, Abouzaid received a return offer for a full-time Associate position with McKinsey & Company in Saudi Arabia. 

“It’s very exciting to join such an amazing firm,” he said. “It will be interesting to see the day-to-day operations. I look at it like basically continuing the MBA experience after earning my MBA. It will be the same expectation to make an impact on real world clients.”

Abouzaid says he is looking forward to starting his consulting career with McKinsey & Company in August 2023. He credits Vanderbilt’s faculty and staff for their support during this pivotal moment in his career. 

“The support I got from Professor Yasin Alan, for instance – he connected me with a consultant at Mckinsey in the (Middle-eastern) region, and that is something that really stuck with me, because he was always more than willing to help, and he was always there for me,” said Abouzaid.

He also credits professors Rangaraj Ramanujam, Tim Vogus, and Brian McCann for helping him negotiate the details of his job with McKinsey. 

 Click through the timeline below to see how Mohammed Abouzaid got the job.

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