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Case interview at McKinsey

Case Interview McKinsey
New answer on Apr 16, 2024
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 10, 2024

Is it true that there are no right or wrong answers in case interviews, specifically when it comes to McKinsey, or is it just a myth?

Edited: particularly in the non-quantitative aspects like framework, qualitative questions, conclusion, recommendation, etc.

(edited)

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Ian
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replied on Mar 10, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

haha uh oh - there are A LOT of wrong answers.

In fact, when I first meet with candidates, most of their answers are wrong and we have to work hard to train them in how to think + approach the problems properly.

Think about it….are there right/wrong answers when advising a multi-billion dollar client on a multi-billion dollar project with huge implications?

Of course!

You need to use the data+information+insights to provide a logical recommendation.

You can even have the right answer but if you say it in the wrong way, or don't defend it properly/articulately, then you would be “wrong” (i.e. not score as well).

Here's some reading to help:

Dos and Don'ts in a Case Interview
 

How to Shift Your Mindset to Ace the Case

The Most Common Pitfalls in Case Interview Preparation
 

Candidate-Led Cases: What to Expect With Example Cases

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Florian
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replied on Mar 11, 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

This is a myth.

There are certainly right or wrong answers but what you probably mixed it up with is that there is not one single correct solution/approach, for instance, when creating a framework.

You can approach a case/dissect a problem in 10+ different ways and would still get the same analytical outcome. This is what is tested in McKinsey interviews.

There are also 100s of ways to get it wrong though, mainly if your framework is not broad enough/too broad, not deep enough and/or not insightful.

If you want to read more about that, I published two articles on McKinsey interviews here:

Cheers,

Florian

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 10, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Is it true that there are no right or wrong answers in case interviews, specifically when it comes to McKinsey, or is it just a myth?

There are for sure wrong answers in a case interview – a simple example is if you do the math wrong or you get the wrong insight from a graph.

Best,

Francesco

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Cristian
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replied on Mar 11, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

That's rather philosophical. 

Maths has a right or wrong because it's maths. 

Structuring, brainstorming, chart interpretation, recommendations are less about right and wrong because they are more concept and content- (rather than numbers-) driven. 

Still, there are BETTER structures and WORSE structures. So lots of structures are good, but very few are distinctive. 

If you're looking into this, you might find this article helpful:

And also this workshop I run on first principles structuring:

Best,
Cristian

 

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Alberto
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replied on Mar 13, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

It is a myth. There are plenty of wrong answers. 

What it is true is that there is plenty of potential solutions to the case and what is valued during a McKinsey interview is the thought process you follow, your business sense and your consulting skills.

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Dennis
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replied on Mar 12, 2024
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi there,

as the expression goes: Many roads lead to Rome. 

As long as you arrive in Rome, you are usually fine. But there are plenty of possibilities to get tripped up along the way. 

Turning this back to your question about case interviews - there may not be only a single correct approach to arrive at the correct solution. But there can be many wrong ways to go about a problem which then will never result in the correct solution.

So whatever you heard in this regard is a myth. 

Best

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Hagen
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replied on Apr 16, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • First of all, it's true that there can't always be just one right answer.
  • However, there are certainly many wrong answers or approaches, be it in the initial structure, brainstorming initiatives, etc.
  • Lastly, this is completely independent of the consulting firm, as the business reality underlying the case studies does not change depending on the consulting firm.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

 

You can find the DACH consulting salaries report 2024 here!

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Pedro
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replied on Mar 12, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

That is true. It is not the answer that matters, but your answers have to be supported by sound logic and evidence.

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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