The games change a bit every recruitment season - so it’s difficult to predict what exactly will you get.
Whilst you don't have to be a gamer to perform well, the game will certainly test your problem solving ability and your ability to navigate in challenging circumstances.
Which skills are tested?
The game records all of the candidate’s actions (e.g., every movement of the mouse, time spent to choose an action) and uses machine learning to assess candidates’ way of thinking. It’s as much about how close candidates come to the best solution as about how they tackle the problem through. During the game McK assesses 5 cognitive abilities that are critical for a career in consulting:
- Critical thinking: the ability analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment
- Decision making: the ability to select the best course of action among several options
- Self-awareness: the ability to self-assess
- Situational awareness: the ability to be fully aware of your surroundings at all times, allowing you to react effectively
- Systematic thinking: the ability to understand different parts of a system and how they work together through cause/ effect relationships
How to cultivate these skills?
Let’s break down each skillset and find ways to improve.
Critical thinking could be broken down into the following subskills:
- Think about a topic in an objective and critical way
- Identify the connections between ideas and working out whether the evidence provided supports those ideas or not
- Evaluate a point of view to determine how strong or valid it is
- Recognize any weaknesses that there are in the evidence or argument
- Notice what implications there might be behind a statement
- Provide structured reasoning and support for an argument that we wish to make
In order to improve your critical thinking I would suggest using mind mapping technique. It exploits the fact that our brains process information visually much more effectively than they do when it’s presented in a written document.
The idea behind mind mapping is that you start with a central theme or idea, typically drawn in a box in the middle of the page, and then from that you create branches, which lead to other ideas, or to supporting evidence or ancillary information.
Decision making could be broken down into the following subskills:
- Establishing a positive decision-making environment
- Generating potential solutions
- Evaluating the solutions
- Checking the decision
In order to improve your decision making skills I would suggest that you start applying it to your everyday life situations and start developing small decision making frameworks for each situation (e.g. going to the shop)
Self-awareness could be broken down into the following subskills:
- Monitor Your Performance
- Seek Out Feedback and Then Use It
The best way to improve your self-awareness is to reduce your EGO barrier and blind spots. You can read Ray Dalio Principles for more details.
Situational awareness could be broken down into the following subskills:
- Identifying the baseline for the situation you are in
- Recognizing any variations to the baseline
In order to improve your situational awareness I suggest that you take typical life situation and:
- Monitor the Baseline. At first, this will require concentration effort. But after a while, you will find that you can monitor the baseline subconsciously
- Fight Normalcy Bias. This requires you to be paranoid for a while as you develop your skill. Look at every disturbance to the baseline - this will allow you to stop ignoring or discounting any factors
Systematic thinking could be broken down into the following subskills:
- Identifying all the elements in the system
- Understanding the correlations between the elements
This skill could be largely improved by solving business cases.
ALSO I suggest that you should start investing your time into playing different computer/mobile game, where you can practice applying these skills.
Hope it helps!