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Blog: Advice to the graduating class of 2020

May 15, 2020

McKinsey.org and the Rethinking Recycling program team share some advice for university graduates this year – from navigating a job market during COVID-19 to building a career with purpose.

As students miss out on the usual pomp and circumstance of commencement, our global Rethinking Recycling team shares advice from their personal and professional experiences for the graduating class of 2020.

Shannon, Detroit, USA

“Look for opportunities that will open more doors for you than they will close. If you can’t get yourself to the place you want to be today, there will be steppingstones that will get you there. Try to look for the learning experience in those smaller steps. Sometimes life takes you on quite a winding path, but if you follow your passion, you will get to the right place in the end.”

Paro, Kerala, India

“As someone who graduated during the last financial crisis, I am aware that not everything may go according to your plan this year. Embrace the change of plans and use it an opportunity to reflect on your goals and passions. Take the time and think through what areas you would like to contribute to in a world that will be fundamentally altered post Covid-19. This crisis has shown us how unbelievably fragile our current economic, political and social institutions are, so there’s plenty of meaningful work to be done in the near-term.”  

Billy, Jakarta, Indonesia

“Do not be intimidated by peers who seem to be more capable than yourself. You are running your own race – take every opportunity to learn and strive to get better. Before you know it you will have achieved so much yourself.”

Barry, Sydney, Australia

“Become good at the things you enjoy, but also learn to enjoy the things you’re good at. There is fulfilment to be found in both.”

Ella, London, United Kingdom

“Make your inner child proud!”

Claire, New York City, USA

“Cast a wide net and look at opportunities and paths that you may have never considered when they present themselves. You never know what you will learn or who you will meet that will support your long-term goals.”

Monica, Santander, Spain

“Now it’s time for you to go and seek some ambitious mission that leaves the world a better place than when you came”

Larissa, São Paulo, Brazil

“Develop inner happiness – this will increase significantly your chances of getting there! The only constant in life is change, so learning to react to the changes with equanimity is the pathway to take. Along that journey, you will also learn how to treat yourself and others with kindness and compassion.”