– Wenzhe, an associate based in Beijing, shares her typical day working on a transformation engagement in Shanghai.
7:00am: Sunlight wakes me up before the alarm goes off. I grab my phone and quickly go through my morning app routine – email, calendar and CST updates on WeChat. There are a few new emails in my inbox, including a confirmation for an interview with my client’s chief sales officer (CSO) later today and a weekly sales report for an initiative I recently helped launch. I refresh my calendar – client interview, team problem solving session, client meeting and a birthday celebration for one of my teammates. Today promises to be very fulfilling.
7:20am: I change to my swimwear and head over to the pool. I can’t wait to jump into the water. Swimming makes me feel refreshed and ready to go.
8:00am: While having breakfast in the hotel lobby, I run into a couple of consultants from my previous study. It’s always nice to catch up with my former teammates and to learn what everyone is doing now. We also toss ideas around for the perfect birthday celebration spot; an authentic local restaurant overlooking the bund area seems to be the winner.
8:20am: I jump into a taxi. While sitting in traffic, I read the article one of our partners shared in our WeChat group. The topic is “Amoeba operating” – an emerging organization structure enabling flexibility and fast responses. I learn something new every day.
9:00am: I arrive at the client site and fire up my computer to review the sales report. I’m pleased – sales increased from last week. The assortment optimization seems to be working.
9:30am: Our team huddles to align on the tasks and deliverables for the day. We are helping our client, a major consumer company, transform their business by building their own retail stores in addition to using their current distributor. We’re each leading different pieces, but there’s a fair amount of overlap, so it’s essential for us to stay well connected.
10:00am: I meet with the CSO. I share the positive feedback from the product assortment initiative. She is quite pleased and leads us in an in-depth discussion on how to better integrate it into daily operations. I also share our initial recommendations for the key metrics she should use to assess the effectiveness of her department. In addition to tracking sales, margin, etc., I propose process effectiveness indicators such as product placement rate, customer conversion rate, and cross-sell rate. She supports the plan and suggests a few refinements.
Noon: Our full team meets with our McKinsey leadership via teleconference over take-out lunch.
1:30pm: It’s my turn to lead the weekly meeting with our full client-McKinsey working team. We use this time to update each other on the progress we’re making in four departments, allocate resources and solve problems.
2:30pm: Finally some desk-time. I revise the key metrics based on my meeting with the CSO this morning, then start a pricing analysis. We hypothesized ways to optimize the current discount scheme and need to validate them. In the middle of my analysis, one of the client’s department heads asks for my help with a presentation on channel strategy that she’s preparing to deliver to the CEO next week. I’m humbled and happy to help.
5:30pm: The birthday cake we secretly ordered arrives. Our clients join us in our team room to sing “happy birthday” to our colleague and share the cake. Shortly, we will head to dinner for an even bigger celebration.