Polynesian McKinsey Business Analyst, Aidan Reiri, encourages students to “break the mold”

 

Aidan Reiri | Brigham Young University | B.S. Finance

After growing up in New South Wales and graduating from BYU with a degree in Finance, Aidan Reiri now works as a Business Analyst for one of the top management consulting firms in the world , McKinsey & Company. Aware of the lack of Pacific Islander presence in business settings, Aidan aims to mentor young Pacific Islanders interested in business and establish a space for Pacific Islanders within his company. He hopes to see more students branching out into different fields of study and pursuing leadership positions.

 
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How did your family play a role in preparing you for college?

Both of my parents never went to college but valued education and pushed me to do well in school. They were instrumental in my academic development. They introduced me to academic coaches in Elementary School and helped me secure scholarships to attend private schools.

My parents introduced me to multiple academic and sporting opportunities, but I remember fellow Pacific Islanders teasing me for pursuing activities of the mind. I don’t think it’s part of the rhetoric and dialogue to branch out from sports. I don’t know what it is that holds us back, but I think it’s important to emphasize back home that there are many professional avenues other than sports.

As a first-generation college graduate, did you encounter any academic barriers in college?

Even though I had the best parents and even though I had access to great resources before college, I felt disadvantaged by not having Pacific Islander mentors guide me through some of the basics like networking, writing a resume or looking for internships.

You are now working at one of the top consulting firms. What is it like being one of the few Pacific Islanders at McKinsey & Company?

McKinsey & Company only takes 1% of their applicants locally each year, so I’m super proud of working here. It was a great achievement for me and my family. I have noticed the lack of Pacific Islander presence in business and corporate settings. At McKinsey, I’m trying to build a [Pacific Islander] affinity group, but I don’t know if Pacific Islanders are a priority at the moment. Nonetheless, I recently initiated conversations with the person who heads these diversity groups.

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What advice do you have for students preparing for college?

  • Find mentors and role models within your different areas of interest.

  • Seek out diverse experiences.

  • Don't be afraid to break the mold or be different.

  • See what it's like to lead a team. Broaden your skillset and your character.

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