Brandeis International Business School

Taking the next step

Two Brandeis classmates find the perfect fit at top consulting firm

It wasn’t the career path she expected.

“You have a plan — but you let life surprise you,” said Maria Charlotte Velardi, MSF20, a recent graduate of Brandeis International Business School.

After completing their studies in December, Velardi and fellow Master of Science in Finance (MSF) classmate Nathalia Salinas Miranda, MSF’20, both landed jobs as junior associates at top consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Neither Velardi nor Miranda arrived at Brandeis with consulting as their top career choice. But both women said the skills they honed at the International Business School — including problem-solving, analytical thinking and innovation — sharpened them into such standout candidates that McKinsey sought them out.

Junior associates at McKinsey are assigned projects in any of the firm’s 10 divisions, meaning new hires won’t necessarily work in a field related to their degree.

“The talent McKinsey is looking for is the ability to extrapolate,” said Velardi. “You take the analytical skills you learn and apply it to anything.”

Miranda pointed to two key experiences at the International Business School that prepared her for that kind of work.

One was an Alliance, Acquisition and Divestment Strategy class with Prof. Ben Gomes-Casseres. Typical of the Brandeis philosophy, Gomes-Casseres emphasized flexibility, versatility and creative application of new information by assigning students a problem to solve in a different industry every week.

The other was Miranda’s internship working on pension funds with MassPIRG, a public interest research group. There she worked on portfolios comprised of a range of disparate investments — from orchards and vineyards to healthcare — and discovered something about herself.

“That’s what I like about consulting — it’s varied,” said Miranda. “The class and internship were great preparation for this job.”

Velardi entered the MSF program after working for the government in her native Dominican Republic, where she spearheaded the creation of a new agency to coordinate and facilitate public-private development projects.

Early on at Brandeis, she jumped at the chance to attend a McKinsey-sponsored recruiting meeting in Boston to get face time with partners and other staff. The more she communicated with the partners, the more interested she grew in the work. Eventually, she parlayed the meeting into a summer internship in Panama.

“I worked with a lot of very smart and talented people,” said Velardi. “It’s not a place you can be static. It’s not an option. You have to grow.”

After the internship, Velardi heard from her McKinsey connections that the firm planned to open a new office in the Dominican Republic in early 2020 and wanted her to come aboard.

Having made the most of her opportunities at Brandeis, Velardi’s willingness to keep an open mind during her career search paid off.

“Sometimes you take a step,” said Velardi. “And then the next steps become clearer.”
Maria Charlotte Velardi and Nathalia Salinas Miranda, both MSF ’20, landed coveted jobs at McKinsey & Company, the selective global consulting firm.

Maria Charlotte Velardi and Nathalia Salinas Miranda, both MSF ’20, landed coveted jobs at McKinsey & Company, the selective global consulting firm.

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