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Maria

Associate, Dubai
Maria - Associate

Q: How did you join Strategy& and what have you been up to so far?

A: I joined Strategy& at a moment when I had just started building the blocks of a solid career. I studied business administration at IE University, in Madrid, where I was exposed to a great international environment and a culture of teamwork. This set the standard that I expect to be met in my professional career. My first job was in transaction advisory services, where I worked with fantastic teams across many industries and practices. At the same time, I built my first startup, which helped me strengthen my leadership skills and discover the entrepreneurial spirit that now drives all my professional decisions. 

Strategy& has given me the opportunity to build on these foundations. I have worked with people from all around the world and on projects at the core of innovation. Every day I learn about new technologies, corporate strategies, commercial transformation, and much more. Each project adds to my professional development, leading me to become a well-rounded professional.

Q: What do you love most about working at Strategy& in the Middle East?

A: The Middle East, and especially Dubai, brings together people from around the world and very different backgrounds. The benefits from such a diverse environment are immeasurable. What I love is learning from my colleagues, helping each other to be better, and having fun at work and after work.

Management consulting is challenging and very demanding, which means your teammates play a very important role in achieving work–life harmony. Hard work can be made easy when you have the right people around you, and the attitude to have fun and enjoy your work.

Q: What are some of your personal interests away from work?

A: I am a big fan of sports, whether those I’ve participated in already or those I’ve never tried before. When I was young I competed in show jumping competitions (horse riding) and paddle tennis tournaments. However, most of the sports I do now are just for fun. In recent years I’ve tried motocross, kart racing, hiking, and snow ski. My favorites tend to be watersports like kitesurf, wave surf, and diving.

Q: What is it like to be a woman at Strategy&?

A: In the day-to-day business, being a woman at Strategy& is no different from being a man. I am given the same opportunities as my male colleagues, and I am expected to produce quality products as they are. I am motivated to have ambition and aspire to a successful career, in the same way men are. We all face the same challenges, with one exception: Management consulting is still a male-dominated industry. Because of this, we must all support each other and work together to overcome any inequalities. And because we work in this field, we have the opportunity — and I believe it is also our responsibility — to foster and spread this mentality across other industries.

Q: What is your word of advice to women looking to join Strategy& in the Middle East?

A: There are many misconceptions about the Middle East and management consulting, especially regarding women. My first piece of advice is to inform yourself so as to not let any preconceptions cause you to miss out on a great opportunity.

My second piece of advice is to listen, learn, and speak up. If you have a question, ask it. If you have an opinion, share it. Sometimes you will be right, sometimes you will be wrong, but that is how we learn from each other.

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Paolo Pigorini

Paolo Pigorini

Partner, Strategy& Middle East

Diana Dib

Diana Dib

Partner, Strategy& Middle East

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