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Earlier this month we were reunited with over 60 graduates of the 2014 McKinsey Leadership Academy for a two day residential workshop to reconnect with old friends and new, offer our support and celebrate their individual and collective accomplishments over the past year. 

The annual Summer Reunion brings back together students who first met one another the previous July, as part of a unique programme that launched them on an exciting leadership journey. The McKinsey Leadership Academy is a selective residential programme which enables participants from across the UK and Ireland to learn about leadership by working in small teams in a fun informal atmosphere, giving them a toolkit of approaches and an action plan for the coming year.

Both the McKinsey Leadership Academy and Graduate residential are funded and run by McKinsey & Company, a world-leading management consultancy who work with companies, governments and not-for-profit organisations to help them tackle their biggest challenges. Working alongside Future Foundations they provide a range of sessions and one to one consultations to young people over the course of two years that gives a unique, insiders insight into the world of management consultancy and corporate leadership.

We were thrilled to see more participants than ever before return to the McKinsey Graduate residential this year, which is particularly impressive considering most had just completed their A2 exams and were free to travel the world in celebratory style! They travelled from far and wide to Wellington College, prepared for focussed career coaching, lots of fun and a fabulous formal dinner.

A highlight of the programme was learning how our graduates have put into action the leadership skills they acquired at the 2014 Academy. Participants were inspired to launch individual leadership projects in their schools or communities with which have received remote support and guidance from McKinsey & Company. These projects were incredibly wide ranging in themes and outcomes with three selected as finalists to present their work and compete for an overall prize, the Oscar Pearce Higgins Scolarship.

The Oscar Pearce Higgins scholarship is awarded annually to the graduate who our panel feel has demonstrated excellence in leadership and is presented at the formal dinner night. The scholarship is much sought after and provides financial support of £1000 per year whilst the recipient is at university as well as a 4 week work experience opportunity at McKinsey in London.

The finalists projects were a great example of the variety of Leadership challenges undertaken by graduates and demonstrated the potential impact young people are capable of. Isabella Scavetta of William Borlase school in Berkshire led a student History Society for students of all ages to share her passion and lead other young people to a love of the subject. Meanwhile Devi Rughani from Nottingham Girls High School chose to tackle gender equality in her leadership project, focussing on the issue of female genital cutting.

The winner of the Oscar Pearce Higgins Scholarship was Mohammed Lone, a year 13 student from Richard Huish College in Taunton. His personal leadership project was ‘Poponomics‘ an online platform that seeks to answer those questions about the workings of our modern world that we’ve all thought about, but rarely asked – in an in-depth yet accessible format.

Poponomics tackles a fascinating array of topics, taking an economists analytical approach to questions such as ‘why do advertisements work’, ‘are footballers paid too much’, ‘what is quantitative easing’ and ‘what has happened to Greece?’. His blog and youtube channel attracted 52,000 visits and views between them demonstrating an impressive impact and his journalistic talents were endorsed by publications in a number of  magazines.

Mohammed gave a fantastic presentation over dinner and the judges were impressed by the clarity of his principles – Analyse, Untangle, Inform. He explained that he’d learned valuable lessons about the importance of collaboration to take your leadership and scope of your project to the next level with his mantra ‘don’t hesitate to delegate’. Overall this was a project which demonstrates Mohammed’s use of the McKinsey leadership toolkit, raises his career profile and creates a valuable service and brand.

The following day Mohammed had the opportunity to present Poponomics to 100 young people at the 2015 McKinsey Leadership Academy. Hopefully they will be inspired by his journey and considerable achievements and we should see even more exciting Leadership projects in the coming year!

The Future Foundations and McKinsey & Company Team

The McKinsey Graduate Residential and McKinsey Leadership Academy is delivered in tandem by a hard working and passionate group of McKinsey & Company staff and experienced Future Foundations coaches.

From McKinsey & Company, the Graduate Residential was led by Alexandra Hay-Plumb and supported by 20 McKinsey professionals who took on coaching and delivery roles.

From Future Foundations, the Course Director was Lina Akbar, the Operations Director was Amy Mander.  Our coaches were: Lucy Moses, Mark Corbett, Terence Lapidus, Andy Dunn, Bokani Tshidzu, Georgie Maddock, Jakub Goscinny, Chetna Bhatt, Laura Anhemann and Juliette Noske. Our pastoral team were Olivia Hildebrand and Martin Ramsey.

The programme was supported by the following returning McKinsey Leadership Academy Alumni; Phillip Samuel Hutchinson, Aine McCabe, Monics Gupta, Helen Knox, Anna Jones, Bronte Jones, Hannah Burnett, Emily Husband and Nicholas de Haes.

Thank you to everyone involved for making this programme such a success. McKinsey and Future Foundations look forward to keeping in touch with all our graduates over the coming years and seeing you again at networking events and perhaps even as volunteers back in 2016.

Now go and be leaders in life!