Are McKinsey Interviews all Interview-Led ?

Anonymous A asked on Sep 27, 2018

Hi, I am preparing for the McKinsey interview and I do not nderstand if all the cases are interviewer-led and also if in an intervier-led case we should state an hypothesis at the beginning ! Thanks

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Mia replied on Sep 27, 2018
Preparing for case interviews with Deloitte and McKinsey

Not all McKinsey cases are interviewer-led. It depends on the location you are applying to and the preference that your interviewer has. I have a friend who was asked to lead the cases throughtout the entire process.

When it comes to the second part of your question, it is not a "must" to state the hypothesis in the beginning. In fact, sometimes you might not be sure what the answer is and it makes it difficult to come up with a well-structured argument right off the bat. Follow your instinct, especially with an interviewer-led case. Your interviewer will be the one guiding you to the right answer, so just make sure you listen to him/her carefully and don't rush the case.

Vlad replied on Sep 27, 2018
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Hi,

At McKinsey you can have both Candidate and Interviewer led cases. In the first round, you'll have the cases from the McKinsey interviewer guides led mainly by the interviewer. Partners and directors on the second round have their own favorite cases and mainly want you to lead the case

Partners and Directors have their own favorite cases and may even want you to lead the case. The key difference:

  1. You ask clarifying questions in the beginning and make a structure
  2. You lead the case through the structure you've prepared a) asking questions and trying to identify the root-cause of the problem in the branch of your structure b) making a transition to the next branch c) proactively calculating the data and making data-driven conclusion from the data they give you d) Making a conclusion when they ask you to finish a case

It may seem to you that these 2 types of cases are different, however, the interviewer-led type is just a simplified version of the interviewee-led case. My advice is to always prepare in the interviewee-led format so that you could solve both easily.

As for the hypothesis - The major mistake of the candidates is that they start using the hypothesis and neglect having a proper structure.

Moreover, if you perfectly solve the case without ever stating a hypothesis - you'll pass the interview. So most probably you had some other issues with the case as well and they used it as a standard feedback.

There are two ways to use the hypothesis:

First - presenting a structure using the hypothesis. For example, if you are having a PE (private equity) case, you should do the following:

1) Make classic structure (market, company, competitors, feasibility of exit)

2) Make subpoints (e.g. in market: size, growth rates, profitability, segmentation, etc)

3) Present your 1st level Hypothesis:

  • - "In order to understand whether we should invest in Company A, I would like to check a number of the hypotheses - that the Market is Attractive, the Company is Attractive, the competition is favorable and we have good opportunities for of exit"

4) Present the main 2nd level Hypothesis:

  • "In the market, I would like to make sure that the market is big enough and growing;
  • In the company I would like to find additional opportunities for growth;
  • In competition I would like to check that the market is fragmented enough;
  • Finally, I would like to check if we have potential buyers and can achieve desired exit multiples"

Another way to use hypothesis is using the hypothesis to prioritize your analysis:

1) Make a structure: "Problem in sales may be related to Sales Motivation, Sales Strategy, Sales Coverage, and Sales Process:

2) Prioritize a part of the structure based on your knowledge / common sense / available data: "Taking into account that motivation is the core problem of the sales organization, I would like to prioritize this part of the analysis".

Good luck!

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