Denvol Haye, Jr. started his new job at McKinsey before he’d even finished his MBA.
The Long Island native, who received his MBA in December 2021, is head of communications for the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility, a research institute and thinktank dedicated to advancing racial equity and inclusive growth in the United States — and globally. He spoke to Zicklin News about his success and what stood out to him from the Zicklin experience.
Zicklin News: Tell us about your new position.
Denvol Haye, Jr.: In a nutshell, my role is to oversee internal and external communications for the Institute, which was founded in 2020 as part of McKinsey’s broader actions to address racial inequality. It’s really interesting, creative work, and I’m excited because it can have a lot of impact in terms of influencing private-, public-, and social-sector leaders to take coordinated action to accelerate Black economic development.
ZN: Why did you decide to get an MBA?
DH: I minored in business as an undergraduate so it was always in the back of my mind. After college I spent a few years working for a public relations agency specializing in communications for financial clients, and I wanted to learn more about finance and business-related topics to be able to better understand our clients’ businesses and serve them.
ZN: Why did you choose the Zicklin School?
DH: The Zicklin School prides itself on playing a role in the economic and social mobility of students of color. That really resonated with me — I wanted to be around people like me, who are driven and want to make the most of their opportunities. The school also has a great reputation academically and was conveniently located near my office, so I could work and attend classes in the Evening MBA program. But the clincher was probably that my aunt, Wendy Gayle, got her BBA here in 1995.
ZN: What did you learn at Zicklin that prepared you for your career?
DH: The biggest takeaways for me were softer skills involving shifts in mindset — learning how to be a more empathetic leader, for example, or how to motivate different types of people on your team. Or even how to think about value — seeing something not as expensive but as not providing enough value. If you’re marketing a product that is considered “too expensive,” it may be that you need to better communicate its value or provide more value, for example.
ZN: Do you have any advice for Zicklin students whose goal is to work for a consulting firm such as McKinsey?
DH: I’m not a consultant here so I can’t speak directly from experience, but I believe it will always serve you well to put yourself out there and meet new people. It’s not a matter of where you went to school, but about creating relationships with the right people and having them see the qualities in you that no one can ignore. Students at Zicklin can be confident that they’re getting a strong academic foundation, and I encourage them to find ways to network — talk to people, write an article on LinkedIn, and so on. You don’t have to come from a certain walk of life. It’s about getting out there and making it happen for yourself. Ultimately it’s a matter of the right person bumping into you, so put yourself out there.