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Any difference in performance expectation at interview between MBA and PhD candidates?

Case Interview MBA phd
New answer on Aug 02, 2019
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 26, 2019

Just want to know if MBB has more expectation in a case interview performance for MBAs over PhDs or do they view these candidates as equal when evaluating case performance?

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Anonymous replied on Aug 02, 2019

To answer your question: In my vast experience as a McKinsey interviewer in the London office, there is no difference in terms of expectations between MBA and PhD candidates. I've never been in an interview review where we've discussed a candidates performance based on their background. I (and we) scored each candidate based on performance, alone, and decided on how they progressed based on their performance.

Bonus insight: I have prepped 200+ candidates (maybe even more at this stage). The biggest difference I noticed between MBAs and non-MBAs (PhDs, experienced hires, etc.) is that non-MBA were not always as prepared. Because of the nature of MBAs and the fact that it has historically been a direct route into consulting, MBAs have an advantage, by default:

  1. They get a lot of support from their universities in terms of case prep
  2. They know where the bar is and what is expected of them to get in (practice, practice practice)
  3. Arguably the biggest advantage is they have direct access to Consultants who they can practice with.

Whereas non-MBAs don't have this. And I say that as a non-MBA experience hire who got into McKinsey. And as a Consultant who has successfully prepped many candidates - both MBAs and non-MBAs.

With PrepLounge, the great news is you have access to awesome consultants and information so that levels the playing field. Give me a shout if you want to practice!

All the very best!

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Anonymous B replied on Jul 26, 2019

Every candidate is viewed as equal, regardless of background. Applicants with business background might have a slight advantage because of a better business sense, but in regards to internalizing the core logic of case-solving, everybody has to start from zero.

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replied on Jul 26, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It's all the same criteria and expectations and interview process. However based on what I've seen it's much easier to get an offer if you are receiving one of the Top MBAs, simply because of the brand matters. Most of the HBS students who applied to MBB secured 2-3 offers, while it was not the same for Tier2 schools. And it was not the preparation that was different


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