Operations Cases? McK

Case Case Interview case types MBB McKinsey McKinsey & Company Mckinsey operations operations operations strategy
Recent activity on Dec 12, 2017
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Anonymous C asked on Dec 11, 2017

I had a recent first round and had two very specific operations Cases, both having to calculate OEE. I've practiced every other case type and even though I passed this round, these through me for a loop as structuring and ideas were on the micro level very different then many of the other cases I've done.

Anyone have any resources for practicing these specific case types?


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Content Creator
updated an answer on Dec 11, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


There are several types of operational cases that you may have:

1) Operational math problems. (e.g. Should we increase the speed of the elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? How should we increase the output of a factory?).


  • Usually, you have to look at the process. Even the most complicated systems have the inflows and outflows

The key concepts that you have to learn:

  • Capacity and utilization (both machine and people)
  • Cycle time, Throughput time, Little's Law
  • How the does lowest cycle time influence the production? (Lead time = cycle time of the slowest process)
  • How can we mitigate the bottlenecks with low cycle time? (Buffer, Parallel process, speeding up)

2) Cost cutting cases


  • What is the cost composition and what are the biggest costs
  • Benchmarking of the biggest costs to find the improvement potential
  • Process improvements to meet the benchmarks
  • Costs and benefits of the proposed initiatives

The key concepts that you have to learn:

  • Internal / external benchmarking
  • Idle time
  • Core processes (usually are optimized) and the supporting processes (usually are cut)
  • Math structures (Frequency of operations * time per operation)
  • Other useful structures (e.g. people - process - technology)

Feel free to reach me for further help with these cases.



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Elie on Apr 28, 2018

Hello Vlad, I'd like to know where does demand fit in the 1st case of your framework. Thank you


Originally answered question:

How to approach operations cases?

replied on Feb 11, 2019
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

well - in principle, "Operations" transform resources (or data inputs) into desired goods, services, or results, hence creating value to recipients (mostly: customers). Two or more connected operations constitute a process, and are generally divided into four basic categories:

(1) processing,

(2) inspection,

(3) transport

(4) storage

For each of these categories, efficiency is name of the game. This means that either the output is maximized (given certain resource inputs), or resource input needs are minimized for a desired output.

So for example for processing, operations problems can cover yield improvement problems, while for inspection, there might be the topic of automation (hence reducing input resource needs). And so on. You can draw a whole landscape of problems.

In operations cases, very often, you need to find the bottleneck that causes the respective operations problem, and then outline measures to remove this bottleneck. So this means that operations cases are, at their core, similar to profitability cases. It is a diagnostic problem which you need to address by first isolating the problem driver (the "what"), and then diving deep to understand the "why" behind the problem.

Cheers, Sidi

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey Operations Practice

Content Creator
replied on Feb 20, 2017
Ex-McKinsey Engagement Manager and IESE MBA

Usually you will get 2-3 interviews per round.

One of the cases will be operations focused but the rest could be anaything as you will do also interviews with generalist consultants. This means you will need to prepare all kind of case types but also focus on some OPS related cases.

Hope this helps!

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Neil on Feb 21, 2017

It does! Thanks Xabi. Btw may I know what type of case is most popular? Profitability, market entry, new product ?

Originally answered question:

McKinsey Operations Practice

Anonymous replied on Feb 24, 2017

It is really depends on situation and on your luck i can say.
There are no strict rules here - you can face with an ops topic in all of your case interviews, but with the same probability they provide you 1, 2 or even all of the cases about operations practice.

Just realise that It is very important for them to understand how you think, analize, communicate in a not very standart situation for you. Thats why 100% that you ned to be prepared for all the topics as for generalist consultant.

Good luck!

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey Operations Practice

Anonymous F replied on Feb 17, 2017

Yes, the hiring process is similar to other McK consultant positions, also outside ops practice. The cases usually cover the same topics with all McK employees, so make sure you prep for all types of cases.

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Neil on Feb 17, 2017

Got it. Thanks!

Odeh replied on Dec 12, 2017

Can you please clarify what OEE is? Acronyms can mean different things to different people. Thanks.

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Anonymous on Dec 12, 2017

OEE is Overall Equipment Effectiveness...a calculation used to weight scheduled machine time vs effective machine time

Originally answered question:

Mckinsey operations case types

Anonymous replied on Sep 09, 2016

It's not very different from hiring for a regular general track McKinsey hire. You'll have cases and the areas can vary widely - sure, you might get an odd ops case, but if you do really well in them, they'll quickly challenge you with non-ops cases.

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Vlad gave the best answer


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McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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