On the Job: Jelani Taylor


A recent graduate of Cornell University, Jelani Taylor is on a path to start his career as a business analyst at McKinsey Seattle, a global consulting firm.

“I learned about the opportunity from my school’s internal job search engine,” says Taylor, who graduated from college in December 2019. “I didn’t know much about working as a business analyst when I applied, however, I am excited to learn about the business and make an impact.”

A graduate of Beecher High School, Taylor went on to Cornell University where he played on the Ivy League school’s Division I football team. Since then, he has shifted his focus to his new career.

“I am in the midst of creating my five-year plan,” says Taylor. “My next step might be going to business school. I would love to work in the business side of the entertainment industry.”

What will you do as a business analyst?

With McKinsey, my job will be to help different businesses solve their problems. As of now, I don’t have a specific industry I will work in, so I am going to start off with a variety of projects.

How did the lessons learned in TeenQuest help you on your path your current job?

TeenQuest was huge for me because it was my first experience interviewing and navigating a job space. When I interviewed for this position, I realized it all sparked from there.

What lessons do you still remember from TeenQuest?

For me, one of the specific lessons I hold on to is the idea of how to communicate up and down the ladder. When I worked at Beecher High School through Summer Youth Initiative, I was in charge of people and needed to know how to speak to them, but I also needed to communicate well with my project managers.

What advice would you offer current TeenQuest students?

Take it seriously and look to get something out of it. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you have questions. People are more than willing to help you if you are eager and willing to take initiative.

What has been your proudest moment since TeenQuest?

Graduating from college because of how much it meant to my family and also because I was able to graduate with honors.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.