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Real Humans of McKinsey: Jordan Morris, Michigan Ross MBA ’20, Engagement Manager

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Being uncomfortable sounds unappealing, but when it comes to growth and change, it’s a necessity. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, we meet Jordan Morris, whose desire to stretch and grow his skill set led him to Michigan Ross MBA. Read about Morris’s journey into an exciting career as a “Swiss Army knife” of business in consulting at McKinsey & Co.

Jordan Morris, Michigan Ross MBA ’20, Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company

Age: 32
Hometown: Champaign, IL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Double-major in Political Science and Communication
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): University of Michigan-Ross School of Business, 2020, Data and Business Analytics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5.5 years, US House of Representatives
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2.5 years, Consulting; 0.5 years, Industrial IoT

Why did you choose to attend business school?
For two reasons, A) to transition away from politics, which had become unceasing and all-consuming B) to stretch all parts of my brain and return to an uncomfortable state of growth.

Why Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The culture of learning by doing was appealing to me, and coming from a typically atypical background, I wanted to get some reps in before full-sending into a career. Also, the Michigan brand is practically ubiquitous: once I applied I noticed people wearing a hat or shirt with the Block M everywhere. To me, this was a living and breathing network outside of the stuffy school-thrown networking events or tailgates. I felt I could approach any of these strangers and strike up a conversation about Ann Arbor or the football team. Mostly though, Ross accepted me.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Through MAP (7-week consulting project), elective classes, and extracurriculars, I worked for 3 start-ups during my time in school and learned how to be focused and gritty. Also, co-leading the Consulting Club taught me a lot about vision-setting, authority and persuasion, process management, and the importance of surrounding yourself with smart and talented people with whom you enjoy working.

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
Summer Associate at McKinsey. I was placed on a high visibility and utterly interesting market strategy study. While I was given a lot of (too much?) responsibility, I had an awesome time and witnessed firsthand how much I could grow.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I wanted to become the proverbial “Swiss army knife” who could do business-y things. Combined with the breadth of industries McKinsey serves, its brand, and resulting exit opportunities, I felt McKinsey would allow me to explore and position me best in the long term.

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
I have been tremendously fortunate in that COVID hasn’t impacted my industry or career plans. Except that, like many workers, I have come to appreciate working remotely, wondering how tall are my coworkers, and playing tug-of-war with my puppy in between calls.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Talk to people outside of those that companies march in front of you.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would’ve taken time to learn a specific skill, like unicycling or speaking a new language.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
The amount of people rooting for you

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
If standing, please feel free to sit while I go hard on this answer. Chill out more and check in on your peers. Recruiting is going to take a toll on everyone except for those most self-assured. Most of your classmates who are recruiting are nervous as heck and are likely questioning themselves too.

So while it sounds cliché and trite, believe in yourself. Believe in your talents. Take time to recharge. And know that you’re going to get an offer–just look at the offer rates! And if you don’t get one in the industry you want, there are always fallback options. Oh, and if you get only one offer from a company you aren’t very excited about, you can change jobs! Plus, second-year re-recruiting awaits you. 

I promise–things will work themselves out. In the meantime, enjoy two amazing years and support your friends when they need you. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.