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“What do you know about business?”

Addressing interviewer
Neue Antwort am 26. März 2024
5 Antworten
Anonym A fragte am 5. Juni 2023

Hi community,

Hope everyone‘s well!

This was one of the interview questions I received during the first round interview @mckinsey. Interviewer seemed like he wanted to hear more about business in general and not about theories (which were my answers).


in that case, would there be any advice on what we should talk about business, in general?



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Beste Antwort
antwortete am 5. Juni 2023
300+ coached cases | Former McKinsey interviewer + recruiting lead| End-to-end prep in 2 weeks

When discussing business in general, interviewers are often looking for your ability to articulate your understanding of real-world business operations, strategies, trends, and challenges, rather than academic theories or models. Here are a few tips on how you can approach such discussions:

Talk about industry trends and market forces: Show that you understand the key factors driving business performance in different industries. These could include technological changes, regulatory shifts, consumer behavior, global economic trends, and so forth.

Discuss real business examples and case studies: When discussing strategies or concepts, try to use real examples from companies you've read about or worked with. This not only demonstrates your business acumen but also your interest and engagement in the business world.

Highlight your understanding of different business functions: Show that you understand the interplay between different aspects of a business, such as marketing, finance, operations, and human resources, and how they contribute to overall business success.

Discuss strategic and operational challenges: Demonstrate your ability to understand the kinds of challenges that businesses face, whether it's competition, innovation, or managing growth. Talk about strategies for overcoming these challenges.

Leverage your personal experiences: If you've worked before, use examples from your work to demonstrate your points. If not, use examples from internships, academic projects, or even extracurricular activities where you've had to think about organizational or business issues.

Remember, every interviewer is different, and it's essential to be adaptable. Listen carefully to their questions and responses to gauge what they're looking for, and don't hesitate to ask for clarification if you're unsure.

Best of luck with your interviews!

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Content Creator
antwortete am 5. Juni 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

The way I read your question is that you want to understand what the interviewer meant by the question and how to effectively answer it. 

Basically, if she was asking more about the business / client, I assume she wanted you to be more specific with your insights and tailor them to the client context.

One of the criteria that McK assess for is how insightful your recommendations / comments are and in practice, that means how able are you to connect the dots across the case and provide comments that leverage what you know about the client and about the industry at large. 


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Content Creator
bearbeitete eine Antwort am 5. Juni 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Love this question!

But your approach is wrong.

You're a tennis player. You've just lost a game because your opponent hit the ball to your left and then to your right. Now you're saying “hmmm, how do I respond when he hits the ball to my left then to my right”.

But, next time, he's not going to do that! Gaurenteed!

He'll hit right then left. He'll hit a slice then a topspin. He'll hit a depp shot then a drop ball. He'll volley twice then spin to your right.

Learn how to play the game.

What am I getting at?

Learn how to answer ANY question that comes your way.

McKinsey won't ask you this question again.

They might ask you “explain nuclear energy to my 7 year old daughter” or they might ask “what would you ask you if you were me” or they might ask “what's one word to describe you”.

Be flexible, be adaptable, be ready for anything.


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antwortete am 7. Juni 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching


This is a very open question! I think it's difficult to give prescriptive advice on this because it's going to be context-dependent. 

I would try to “read the room” a little bit in sensing what kind of answer might be most appropriate. For instance, if this question is asked during or right before/after the PEI, I would take it as a cue to talk about your professional/academic experiences, highlighting what they've taught you about business. If the question comes closer to the case portion, they might be looking for an answer that does more connecting some of the business logic of the case with real world business trends (though I'm not sure why they'd want to ask something like that - you're welcome to bring your own knowledge into the case, but they are not testing you on subject matter knowledge, just on your reasoning and analytical skills). If it comes closer to the end of the interview, it might be an invitation to have a more informal discussion.

With an open question like this, always try to figure out what you can get out of it in terms of showcasing yourself as a candidate they might want to hire. Using it to pivot into your professional/academic experiences could be a good strategy, for instance. Though of course it depends on what exactly the interviewer is looking for.

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Jacob antwortete am 26. März 2024

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300+ coached cases | Former McKinsey interviewer + recruiting lead| End-to-end prep in 2 weeks
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