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A day in the McK life: Marc

– Meet Marc, a fellow associate in our Operations practice based in Hamburg. He is a recent graduate of the Operations Excellence Program, our two-year skill building experience for early tenure consultants. He’s currently supporting a logistics company as it builds an operational excellence capability center that will deliver training courses and run warehouse simulations.


7:00am: I meet some of my team mates for breakfast in the hotel. We discuss last night’s football match. The rest of the team joins us soon after – some got up early to exercise, others slept in. Together we travel to the client site.

8:00am: we meet with our local clients for our daily check-in. Everyone gives a brief update, describing our plans for the day and highlighting any challenges or support needed.

8:30am: I catch up on emails and make final arrangements for my first workshop of the day.

9:00am: I meet with members of the client's operational excellence team – the people responsible for rolling out the training program throughout the organization. We’re developing a new training module on performance management. The clients bring examples from their warehouses and I share some of McKinsey experience I have gathered from project leadership and experts around the firm. Together we sketch out a blueprint for the performance management system we’ll use in our model warehouse. We also develop the overall storyline for the training exercise, which is based on McKinsey’s materials and adapted to reflect the client’s processes. By the end of our working session, we agree on next steps and responsibilities. The clients will build our performance boards; I will finalize the training materials.

12:00 noon: we head to the client canteen for lunch. There, we bump into the project leader who has just returned from a business trip. We update him on our progress and invite him to join us for a practice run of one of the modules we developed last week.

12:30pm: we set up our model warehouse to run the Lean basics module. We need a minimum number of people to run the simulation, so we’ve invited employees from various part of the organization to participate. This allows us to test the simulation – generating great ideas for improvement – and raise awareness for the center. Now we have a waiting list of people interested in participating.

1:00pm: we start the training run. My team mate who leads this module gives a brief introduction to the participants and assigns them each roles – e.g., picking and packing operators, supervisors and observers. The simulations run in three rounds, in between which each we review performance and talk about ways to improve our performance which we implement in the next round.

After the last round, we gather feedback on the simulation experience from the participants. They were surprised to see how closely this simulation resembled their daily experiences in the warehouse and are excited by the impact even seemingly little adjustments could make. We also noted that some of the instructions needed to be clarified – something we’ll address before our final training run next week.

3:30pm: since today is Thursday, my McKinsey colleagues and I will be leaving the client site a little earlier than usual, so we check out and debrief now.

4:00pm: I head to the airport. Usually I would travel home and work from the office on Friday, but today my destination is the Red Bull Formula 1 Ring in Austria. I am a faculty member for one of the most exciting events McKinsey offers: Tune Your Career. I can’t wait to spend two days driving amazing cars and meeting interesting people who would like to learn about McKinsey. It’s special to me because a few years ago, I participated. That’s what led me to McKinsey and our Operations practice. The rest, as they say, is history.