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Ever-new Operations

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– I joined McKinsey in Cologne about six years ago. I had just finished my Masters at Technische Universität München. I knew I wanted to work in supply chain management, but I wasn’t ready to commit to a single industry, geography, or even company. McKinsey has been the perfect fit. I’ve worked in automotive, pharmaceuticals, consumer packaged goods, and retail; I’ve spent time in Europe, North America and Asia. I’ve worked on high-level strategic questions and tackled very specific and technical operations-related challenges. I’ve surrounded myself with people who love to try new things and learn and they have helped me make it all happen.

Only at McKinsey

I hear this phrase – only at McKinsey – frequently from my colleagues. Sometimes they use it to talk about the level of impact we’re making – are we doing something only McKinsey could do? Sometimes they use the term to refer to the experiences they’ve had as part of this community. For me, the term rings true in both aspects.

Tim inline

Breadth and depth

In the last six weeks alone, I’ve helped clients define their business operations strategy for the next 5-10 years and implemented new processes to optimize flow in a production line. I haven’t merely scratched the surface on these topics; I’ve delved deeply into them, connecting strategic questions with operational challenges, customer needs, and the business environment to make sure our solutions can be implemented and sustained.

Different industries and organizations

One of the best parts about my role is learning from different clients. Each person I serve and each organization to which she or he belongs has something to teach. For example, some of my retail clients have an amazing ability to focus on their customers, while my automotive clients achieve operational excellence with ease. We can use insights from one industry or function and use it for another, making both stronger.

Amazing colleagues

Combining people from different backgrounds and grounding them in common values is not easy, but McKinsey has achieved it in a great way. I work with colleagues all over the world, yet it feels so natural because we share so many interests, skills and values. We share a culture. We support and coach each other in thoughtful ways. Here, feedback is a continuous learning tool, not just a rating exercise, and it helps us all be at our best.

Ownership over my career

I have the opportunity to shape my path here. I select the industry, functional area and people with whom I work. I focus on my passions. It’s a gift…and an obligation. No one tells me what to do or makes decisions on my behalf. I get support, coaching and advice, but I have to bring a clear perspective on where I want to go. This flexibility allows me to change priorities and try new things over time. I have not seen any other organization that gives people so many chances to pursue alternative paths.


From Day 1, I’ve been expected to contribute in a meaningful way and I have enjoyed opportunities to follow my passions outside work. I spend time traveling. I’ve hiked across the Alps and visited Hawaii, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Breaks give me energy to bring to my clients.

An example

One of my most memorable engagements was helping an iconic sportswear brand redefine its supply chain. We took an end-to-end perspective, starting from the consumer and working back to the warehouse design. Our solution drastically changed how customers engaged with the brand. It was inspiring to help my clients align their supply chain strategy to a clear purpose.

The second amazing element of this project was the geographical reach. We began by focusing on Europe and afterwards extended globally. Different geographies presented different business challenges and introduced me to clients from very different cultures. It was interesting to learn to adapt our solution for each market.

The best part was the fantastic people on my team. We worked hard and delivered great results. We became a small family, having deep trust in each other and helping each other grow personally and professionally.

More about Tim

Tim is associate partner in our Operations practice. He focuses on supply chain management. He’s fluent in English and German and loves skiing, his dogs, and traveling the world.

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