The Firmsconsulting Emerging Fellows program is a program we run whereby we find and mentor promising young students from impoverished parts of the world. Working with them over several years, we guide them into elite schools and eventually into McKinsey or BCG.

Fellows receive a fully-paid Firmsconsulting fellowship and direct mentoring from a former McKinsey or BCG partner.

You can listen to us interviewing  the very first fellow, Sanda, here, who was the first person in her family to attend university, the first person from her university to join either McKinsey or BCG, and the youngest analyst ever hired worldwide in that year.

In this podcast I talk about one of our latest fellows, Sveta, who grew up in a tiny village in the Sarka province deep in the Siberian interior where mild February temperatures hover around -45 centigrade and can drop to as low as -75 centigrade.The recommended meat dishes are horse and reindeer meat, and it is so cold that fishes are kept in the open in the market.

When Sveta wrote to us she had graduated and was looking for a job earning about $200 dollars a month working in the massive Russian mining developments in the Far East.

At the time, Sveta had never left her surrounding countryside. Based on her grades, extraordinary potential and remarkably sincere character, we worked hard to convince her to pursue more in life. Over 5 Skype calls we eventually proved the economic possibility of pursuing a professional career without the financial resources which she sorely lacked.

With our help, Sveta recently enrolled in the most elite university in Moscow, from where she will attend her final 2 years at a French grandes écoles, where she has already been accepted.

I discuss the remarkable journey Sveta has made in the last 16 months, the lessons for our clients and the major milestone she will reach next year when she prepares for her McKinsey interviews.

The lessons are counter-intuitive and will certainly surprise you. They made us really think carefully about the way we mentor clients where they are the sole means of survival for their families.

You can see truly stunning pictures of Sveta’s homeland here, and read about the region here.

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