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Interview with Sherrine Vanessa (McKinsey Business Analyst) | Recruitment as international student

Sherrine is a recent graduate of UIUC as well as a former Consultant from FACES. Current members, Peter and Andrew, interviewed her to hear her insight about career development and recruitment as an international student studying in the U.S. During the interview, they touched on topics such as the importance of on-campus involvement, challenges that international students face, and advice for young professional. Following is the recap of the interview as well as the video (

Introduction: For our very first Alumni Interview Series, we are honored to invite recent UIUC and FACES alumni Sherrine Vanessa, who will be starting her career at McKinsey as a business analyst this summer.

Interviewer: After you transferred to UIUC, you joined FACES in the second semester. How did you hear about FACES and what made you interested in joining? Sherrine: I heard about FACES from upper-classmen who were already in the organization. When I was unclear about my future career path, I was recommended to join FACES where it gave me a clearer direction on what I wanted to do in the future, and was able to network with many great people. Interviewer: What’s the most important skill you learned from these projects?

Sherrine: I learned so many things during my time at FACES, however, the most important skill that I learned at FACES was being able to communicate more professionally and efficiently.” She also added that “Since consulting has a great impact on the clients, it required a lot of communication between the clients and fellow consultants, therefore it really pushed me out of my comfort zone and was a very beneficial experience.

Interviewer: Can you talk about your McKinsey recruitment experience? Sherrine: “It was overall a very enjoyable experience except for the nights before the interviews.” Sherrine’s tactics were to not pressure herself with doing a set amount of practice cases but to instead spend time doing the framework and to build business acumen, which is also important qualities to have during case practices. She really enjoyed the accommodating and feedback-giving environment at McKinsey; therefore, she was able to learn a lot after every session. Peter, current FACES president, and interviewer, also added how a bad experience during the recruiting process might indicate that the organization is not a good fit for you. Interviewer: What kind of advice would you give to young professionals who want to work at top-tier strategy consulting firms?

Sherrine: Sherrine recommends that when you want to pursue a career in consulting, it is better to start with an RSO to see if consulting is a good fit for you. It is also a place to start if you lack internships and want to gain the necessary soft skills and people skills to be successful in consulting. Peter also added that it is important to try out different opportunities and to explore different career paths to know what you truly want to do. Interviewer: How did you balance other RSOs, schoolwork, recruitment?

Sherrine: “Balancing my life had always been a struggle for me because I was never able to turn down great opportunities,” said Sherrine. At one point, Sherrine actually considered quitting FACES, however, with great support from the executive team telling her to keep pushing and all would be rewarded, Sherrine continued at FACES. Her advice to everyone is to prioritize their tasks and not to procrastinate and always remember to recharge by hanging out with your friends once in a while. Interviewer: As international students, we have the flexibility to choose where to work. For you, how did you decide whether to stay in the US or move back to your home country? Sherrine: “I wanted to start in the US because you would never get this opportunity twice, however, I did apply to both places because of the uncertainty.” Answered Sherrine. She also added that even though staying in the US is a very special experience, if you can find a great opportunity back in your home country, it is also important to take it. Interviewer: Why did you choose Consulting to start your career? Sherrine: For Sherrine, her interest in consulting actually started after FACES. During her time at FACES, she really enjoyed the diversity of work that she encountered and the ability to work with a variety of different colleagues and clients by being a consulting. For her, FACES shined a light on what she wants to do in the future and what she is truly passionate about.

Interviewer: What is your overall recruitment experience? Was it harder than you thought or smoother than you thought? What are some most memorable memories that you want to share? Sherrine: “My experience was quick but tough. I actually finalized my resume and applied late summer and got my first offer in November, so the timeline was very short.” Said Sherrine. However, what was difficult for her was how all the career fairs were online, and was harder for her to focus. But, in the end, it was very helpful as she was able to learn about different positions, jobs, and day-to-day life as a McKinsey consultant, which was very rewarding for her.

Date: March 29, 2021

Interviewers: Peter Pan, Andrew Wu

Recap: Andrew Wu

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