McKinsey Operations -- Specialist, Logistics and Transportation (FINAL ROUND)

case interview preparation logistics McKinsey Final Round Mckinsey operations operations supply-chain Transportation Practice
New answer on Apr 04, 2022
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Patrick asked on Apr 03, 2022

Just recently passed through to the final round for Mckinsey Specialist role in Transportation and Logistics. During my prep for first round, I was mainly preparing for ALL types of cases, but was thrown a curveball during my phone case assessment, and ended up getting a Production Optimization case. I passed (somehow), and in my post interview follow up with HR, I asked if I should be focusing my attention on Operations cases. To which she replied yes, as my role is in their Operations division, and everyone I will be interviewing with in the final round comes from the Operations/Manufacturing&SupplyChain team.

 

Obviously I want to be prepared for any type of case, so I plan on still preparing for others. But my question for you all is – should I trust what HR is saying here? Every other resource Ive seen online (and on PrepLounge) states it doesnt matter what role you are interviewing for – and you can get any case thrown at you. Has McKinsey maybe switched their style up a little when it comes to Specialist roles, where maybe they focus the cases as close as possible to the job function?

Do any coaches here have experience with helping candidates land Specialist roles in Mckinsey Operations (and specifically Logistics & Transportation)?

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Moritz
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updated an answer on Apr 03, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

I was part of McKinsey Ops and I would take anything that HR are saying with a grain of salt.

I know for a fact that you can get a non-ops case, even when interviewing for a specialist role. However, it is more likely to get an ops themed case for specialist roles.

The more important question is: why did the ops case you had throw you off so much? After all, that’s the role you’re applying for. Also, those cases still follow the “McKinsey” format, so it shouldn’t really make a difference at the end of the day.

If you’d like to discuss anything in more detail, feel free to get in touch! I used to be a McKinsey interviewer and can certainly help you prepare for final round.

(edited)

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Florian
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replied on Apr 04, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hi there,

I was part of McKinsey's TTL (Travel, Transportation, and Logistics) practice and have helped quite a few people in this area so I might shed some light on this.

My advice would be not to fully trust HR here. They have your best interests in mind but are not necessarily in the know on each individual interviewer's cases.

In general, your chances for practice-related vs. non-domain relevant cases are 50/50 since

  • the McKinsey case is all about your approach and thinking, not about domain-relevant expertise
  • interviewers, who usually build the case on their job experience, have had a time before they joined the practice or even while working in the practice might do non-practice related engagements
  • even if its an industry-related case, there are tons of different functions within that industry that could be quite far away from what you might expect

Focusing only on one segment of cases usually leads to bad experience and performance. Rather focus on how to solve McKinsey cases, regardless of context and industry.

Have a look at this article to learn more: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-interview

Or reach out if you have specific questions. Happy to help! :-)

Cheers,

Florian

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Cristian
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replied on Apr 04, 2022
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Hi there, 

Definitely don't prepare only Ops cases. Interviewers are under no obligation to give you cases from within the function that you are applying to. Some come up with the case on the spot. Aim to train across both industry and topic combinations so as to build integrated knowledge. 

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Ian
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replied on Apr 04, 2022
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Hey Patrick,

Ok, so yes you should be prepared for generalist cases, but honestly I would definitely index more heavily on Ops.

I've found that Ops specialist interviews are less likely to have generalist cases than other specialist interviews (like Energy, Healthcare, Tech, etc.).

I've supported heaps of candidates in Ops roles/interviews so feel free to reach out for support!

Good luck!

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Charlotte
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replied on Apr 04, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Dear candidate,

 

the short answer is be prepared for all cases but obviously prep for operations topics as well as given what HR said, you will get at least one more Ops case and they expect you to have industry knowledge. A great way to do this, is to practise all the ops cases on preplounge and then scan the other free case books and pick out cases of this topic. So for example when practising with a peer on Preplounge, give them the case to practise beforehand and that way you will get a lot of training. Many peers will be willing to give you a specific case, if it helps you. Alternatively you can ask them to prepare any ops case they know, whichever they are fine with.

Best of luck :) well done for having made it already so far.

Best regards,

 

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 04, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Patrick,

I helped several candidates to land offers at McKinsey Operations.

Most likely you will have at least one case related to Operations. However you could have other types of cases as well. It is difficult to predict how many exactly - I helped candidates that had 1 case out of 3 on operations and candidates who had all of them on that vertical.

In case you have other questions please feel free to PM me.

Best,

Francesco

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Daniel
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updated an answer on Apr 03, 2022
Experienced Consultant - Startup Exec|Ex-McK EM, Booz & Co. Consultant | INSEAD MBA

I would approach all cases in the same manner you would a regular case, irrespective of the role or specialization you are interviewing for. 

The core fundamentals do not change: (1) ask clarifying questions,  (2) address how you are going to tackle the problem, (3) take your time and guide and engage your interviewer through your logic, asking questions where applicable, (4) highlighting your insights as you walk through the case, (5) summarize the case and outline next steps. 

I did not interview candidates for specialized roles myself when I was at the firm, but it would surprise me that they would expect anything different in terms of how to approach the case. 

All the best!

Daniel. 

(edited)

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Moritz

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Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert
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