I worked as a Generalist in McKinsey Ops. Projects are usually pretty hands on where you’ll be on the shop floor, in a mine, factory, power plant, airport, etc. to optimize key business operations.
It’s pretty cool work where you get to work with data and advanced modeling but also with people. One of the things you’ll often find is that bottlenecks in a company’s efficiency is people - not machines.
One of my projects, for example, was to design a new planned maintenance strategy for a mining processing plant in Peru. Any minute of downtime creates loss for the company because ore can’t be processed, so downtime needs to be kept to a minimum. We did plenty of analyses around the challenge and touched on so many aspects of the entire operation and the people there. Took a few months, a lot of sweat, and a lot of arguing with the client. However, we got there in the end (of course, it’s McKinsey). This example is very representative of McKinsey Ops.
Final deliverable is called “strategy” but it’s basically a very comprehensive operational model with all sorts of new tools for said planned maintenance. We implemented this model but don’t get it mixed up with McKinsey Implementation. This is different (I won’t go into detail) but a certain overlap exists.
As for doing other projects - absolutely! I worked on M&As, commercial strategy projects, DDs, innovation labs, etc. It helped that I had an MBA I think but people generally aren’t as pigeon-holed in McKinsey if they don’t want to be and are smart about it!
A bit lengthy but hope this helps! Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to know more.