Jake Yihai Zhu
McKinsey Office: Tokyo
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
MBA Program, Concentration: Columbia Business School; Finance and Management
Undergraduate School, Major: University of Toronto, Finance and Economics
Focus of current engagement: Company-wide supply chain optimization
Why did you choose McKinsey? It was the opportunity to explore different industries and functions across the world; the scale of the McKinsey network is unmatched by any other firm in the world.
What did you love about the business school you attended? It was the opportunity to be taught by active industry leaders in NY; living in a city where culture, business, and art meet.
What lesson or skill did you learn from training at McKinsey and how has it helped in your role? I learned the ability to structure and drive workstreams independently; network internally and externally with industry and practice experts, and sort through and synthesize an ocean of data for relevant insight. These abilities enable me to provide solutions for client concerns in a fraction of the time previously needed.
Tell us about an “only at McKinsey” moment you’ve had so far. A client wanted to know the global best practice on facility management and needed the information as soon as possible. Using the firm’s network, I located and spoke to an expert in the EU within a few hours to pull together the data and synthesize it into ideas and solutions the next day. This would not be possible without the firm’s enormous global network and cooperative culture.
What advice would you give someone interviewing at McKinsey? Showcase how you are distinctive. The firm is always looking for people who bring new perspectives. Think of what makes you special. The MBA is the perfect place to discover that.
Who has had the biggest impact on you at McKinsey and how has she/he helped you? A manager of one of my first engagements taught me the mindset of being a true client consular. Before, I was so focused on doing the right analysis that it blinded me from seeing what the client really needed to know. This manager taught me the importance of understanding the true concern of the client, which may not be apparent from the original problem statement, before deep-diving into the data.
My most meaningful achievement (professional or personal) and how it made a difference is…an analysis and recommendation I made that led a client to revisit and potentially restructure their pricing strategy, which hadn’t been changed since the inception of the business.”
A fun fact about me is…Back in undergrad, I made a living and paid tuition as a hedgehog breeder. When I put that on my resume, an investment management firm rang me as they read it and thought I ran my own hedge fund.”