Meet the McKinsey MBA class of 2021: Izulman bin Telimik
McKinsey Office: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
MBA program, concentration: Yale School of Management
Undergraduate school, major: The University of Sydney, Accounting and Finance
Goal of current engagement: Creation of a wealth management activity for a bank in Vietnam
Why did you choose McKinsey? I wanted to explore the intersections of finance, technology and politics to work and support these sectors across Southeast Asia. The region has enormous potential given the development of the past decades, although many still earn less than $2 a day and are financially excluded. McKinsey is a powerhouse in both the public and private sectors, with many clients in banking and other relevant industries. It’s natural for me to leverage this platform to meet the brightest and smartest people in the region who are trying to solve the most pressing problems in the area I focus on.
What did you like about the business school you attended? The people! I was considering other schools, but was touched by the genuine people I met before and during my business school at the Yale School of Management. I saw a good mix of people from different disciplines, including those from the public sector. “Business & Society” is something the folks at Yale SOM hold dear. It aligns with my goal of building meaningful relationships in business school rather than just pivoting my career. I also appreciated the opportunity to cross-course across Yale University. It is a very good institution with lots of resources and a strong focus on sustainability, global affairs and law (to name a few).
What lesson or skill have you learned from training (formal or informal) at McKinsey and how has it helped you in your role? McKinsey has an exceptional learning culture supported by its robust learning platform. In the first two weeks we’ve covered a lot (and we’re continuing to grow through specific learnings and pathways – as you wish in addition to the core mandatory modules).
In addition to the necessary technical skills (such as the McKinsey method of problem solving), I also learned great soft skills including conflict management and navigating life as a consultant supported by excellent peers. The combination of these skills is necessary to become a good consultant because we are dealing with people. In this context, they have helped me enormously in my daily work.
Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. This would be the Values Day event hosted by the Kuala Lumpur office. I imagined it would be a generic McKinsey values-reinforcing moment. However, Li-Kai, the senior partner who manages our office, decided to go back in time to talk about our history, from a few people doing consulting in a hotel room to over 50 consultants today. We learned how McKinsey has shaped and helped not only the biggest companies in all major industries, but also supported Malaysia’s dynamic growth for more than two decades. I was surprised at how much things around me were conceptualized and executed by the company, which made me feel more connected to the company and to my country.
Tell us something you learned about yourself or something that brought you closer to your teammates or customers during the COVID-19 pandemic? My dad passed away last year in April during my last semester when I was supposed to finish my final exams. The pandemic made it harder to be home, so I missed his funeral. I didn’t realize how much this affected me until we had an ice-breaking session before the engagement. The openness made things a lot easier and kind of made me feel more connected to my teammates and the direction of the project.
What tips or advice would you give to someone interviewing at McKinsey? Always stay true to yourself, be accessible but structured to represent the personality of a McKinsey consultant. For me, McKinsey consultants are smart, confident and approachable people. Building that balance is crucial in addition to nailing case interviews.
Who has had the most impact on you at McKinsey and how has he/she helped you? I appreciate Euodia, my personal development manager, who always has my best interests in mind. She gives me flexibility to shape my McKinsey journey, but also guides me throughout. It gives me a lot of comfort in the midst of uncertainties, especially during COVID. She also helped me when I had to take a long break from McKinsey when my mother was hospitalized and diagnosed with cancer in September last year. Not to mention, I also want to mention Li-Kai, Ee Huei and all the amazing partners and colleagues in the Kuala Lumpur office who have made life as a McKinsey consultant so much easier.
My most significant achievement (professional or personal) and how it made a difference is…This was when I volunteered to support the disaster recovery program in Malaysia late last year. It was the worst flood since the 1970s with more than 50 dead and more than 500,000 people affected. Raising funds, adjusting operational plans and mobilizing volunteers has not been easy, but seeing how Malaysians come together to help has truly been worth the effort. The impacts we had on over 200 families after raising $5,000 in cash and also an additional $5,000, and the memorable friendship I made would be something I will always treasure.
A fun fact about me is…I grew up with 14 siblings. Ask me anything about my life.