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McKinsey Q&A: Iliana

– Iliana joined our Operations practice almost three years ago after starting her career with Motorola and Nokia. She was attracted by the opportunity to work on tough challenges with amazing colleagues and continually develop personally and professionally. Based in Chicago, she’s loving the diversity of work she’s found at McKinsey and the people she’s meeting.

Interviewer: Describe your background.

Iliana: After completing my MBA in supply chain & logistics at The Ohio State University Fisher School of Business, I spent five years in operations roles with high tech organizations, focusing on logistics, manufacturing, and sales and operations planning. I traveled to our manufacturing and supplier sites a lot and lived in the UK and Germany.

Interviewer: What brought you to McKinsey?

Iliana: Joining McKinsey’s Operations practice felt like a natural step for me. I loved operations work and wanted exposure to the toughest operations & strategy problems in a variety of industries. I’ve been with McK for three years and I’ve never stopped learning – that’s exactly what I wanted.

Interviewer: What’s the most exciting part of your work?

Iliana: That’s tough. I love the tactical and strategic nature of my job and the diversity keeps me going. I have gone from delivering immediate cash impact during a transformation to planning strategic moves for 5-10 years in the future. Of course, the impact we bring to clients wouldn’t be as much fun without the amazing group of people I work with. Everyone is so down-to-earth and friendly, it feels like a family. I am totally willing to be stuck on a deserted island with my teams because I know we would not only survive but also have fun together.

Interviewer: What have you been involved with outside of client work at McK?

Iliana: Recruiting, especially for people with experience in operations. I experienced just how different our interview process is for people coming from industry, so I do my best to coach as many candidates as possible to help them navigate the firm. I am also leading several knowledge initiatives in logistics and warehousing.

Interviewer: What advice do you share with the candidates you coach?

Iliana: There are many reasons to pursue a consulting career – the diversity of work, exposure to some of the smartest people in the world, constant growth, etc. There are also some challenging aspects of the profession, as with any job. When I decided to join, it came down to two things – would I enjoy the work and people and would my career progress? For me, the answers were yes, and after almost three years, I’m as excited as ever to stay.

Interviewer: What are you passionate about outside of work?

Iliana: I love street photography. Last year, I learned the basics through a few courses on Sundays; now I’m going with the flow one click at a time. I hope to have my own exhibition someday.