Mona Mourshed


Supports school systems, vocational programs, universities, and education-to-employment programs around the world

Mona has led engagements in Asia, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and the United States, supporting school systems and vocational and higher-education institutions to improve students’ skills, their chances of finding jobs, and their day-to-day lives.

Through her recent work on youth unemployment, Mona is unlocking the global conundrum of high levels of joblessness among young people and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills. In 2012, she led the firm’s efforts to study—and learn from—more than 100 education-to-employment solutions across 25 countries and to survey more than 8,000 employers, education providers, and youth in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and India. She has designed strategies to increase private-sector participation in developing vocational training programs in the Middle East and North Africa and to raise the employment numbers for vocational graduates in South America.

Making young people more employable cannot happen without improvements in the education system itself, which is why Mona helped design and implement reform strategies to improve student outcomes in schools. One of those programs nearly doubled literacy rates to 86 percent at the primary-school level in four years, while another increased instructional time for students by over 40 percent and raised the quality of that time.

Mona also supports higher-education institutions that are trying to raise both teaching and research quality. She has supported a large private university in Latin America to develop a research strategy that is consistent with its country needs, and developed a strategic plan for a large public university in the Middle East to become a leading global university within 20 years. In addition, she has advised leading universities in the United States, Europe, and Asia on maintaining and improving their teaching and research quality and their academic leadership.

Mona has co-authored three groundbreaking reports: Education to Employment: Designing a System That Works (2012), How the World’s Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better (2010), and How the World’s Best-Performing School Systems Come Out on Top (2007). All have been widely cited in the media and by educators, leading to invitations to speak at high-profile events in more than 40 countries around the world.

An expert on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Mona helped establish McKinsey’s Dubai office in 2000 and was the first woman elected partner in the region. She was also the lead author of Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential (2011), a report commissioned by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the Islamic Development Bank. This report led the IFC to create of a $2 billion fund for education-to-employment initiatives across the region.

Included on Fortune magazine’s 2011 “40 under 40” list, Mona has won numerous awards and recognition for her work. She also looks to reward others who have helped improve people’s lives. For the last two years she has been a juror for the WISE Prize for Education, a $500,000 award given to an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to education, and she sits on the steering council of the Center for Education Innovations, a nonprofit organization that tries to find ways for people living in low- and middle-income countries to realize their full potential. She lives in Washington, DC.

Read more on Fortune’s Web site.

Published work

“The $250 billion question: Can China close the skills gap?,” June 2013

“From education to employment: Designing a system that works,” December 2012

Education for Employment: Realizing Arab Youth Potential, April 2011

“How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better,” November 2010

“How to Close the Achievement Gap,” Newsweek, August 2010

“How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top,” September 2007

“Shaping the Future: How Good Education Systems Can Become Great in the Decade Ahead,” July 2009

“Improving Education in the Gulf,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2007


Education to Employment, December 2012
The Fair to Good Journey: Louisiana, May 2012


Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD in economic development Stanford University BA in development studies