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Difference between first round and second round interviews?

BCG Case Interview Final Round interviewee-led Interviewer-led McKinsey second round The Boston Consulting Group
New answer on May 28, 2020
18 Answers
37.4 k Views
asked on Nov 08, 2015

Hi! Due to the fact that I participated in several business courses (multiple day recruitment events) in the past, for which the selection procedure resembled a normal first round, I can now move straight on to the second (final) round interviews at several consulting firms. It's been several years since I had the first round interviews and so I'm feeling a little rusty to begin with, but I'm also wondering whether these final round interviews will differ from the first round type of interviews. Is the focus different? Should I practice differently? Do they look for different things? Any tips would be much appreciated!

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Anonymous replied on Apr 30, 2020

Hi Jasmijn,

The focus of the first round is more on your personal fit and individual behavior combined with a case interview. In the second round you will probably have two further interviews - case interviews which relates more to your qualitative and quantitative skills with less personal fit. And the final round - with partner - will be more focused o the case from partner experience and your personal fit to corporate culture.

Hope it helps.

Good Luck!

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact me.


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replied on Nov 14, 2015

Thank you so much for these anwers! Do you reckon there's a specific way to prepare for second round interviews? I mean differently from preparing for first round interviews?

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Anonymous on Jan 04, 2018

My advice is to prepare in the same way. Good luck!

Anonymous replied on Nov 09, 2015

Hey Jasmijn,

Agree with both colleagues with an additional remark. Due to the seniority of the interviewers, not only questions will be more strategical but they will aim other skills ("softer" like empathy, communication...) and specially: If you fit the firms' values. So, express explicitly your adherence to ethical and other values, when possible, and above all, be yourself.

Good luck

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replied on Nov 08, 2015
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Completely agree w/ Matteo, I was just coming to basically write the same thing. Also, the partners may just decide to push the interview in a different direction based on their own interest: They own the company, they do what they want :)

As a result, your interviews might be a little less structured. In my particular case for example, I don't think I even did a true case with the partner - we did talk about a variety of topics however, during which he was able to assess some of my social skills, general culture, creativity... all things that are potentially important to create rapport with a client.

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replied on Nov 08, 2015
MBB consultant (Mckinsey & BCG) focused on Digital & Technology applied to Business

Hi Jasmijin,

from my experience I believe there are 2 key differences between a first round and a second round, at least regarding Mck, Bain and BCG.

1) during the first round the interviewers will be senior managers and/or junior partners, wheather in the second round you will generally meet senior partners or directors

2) Therefore since the two profiles mentioned above have a different seniority during the first round it is more likely that you will be asked more analytical questions and the business cases will be more detaild (e.g. estimate the market share at the endo of the third year knowing that.. ecc.), on the other side in the second round the you might have to tackle more broad and strategical questions (e.g. what would you outsource in a marketing department)

I hope this is useful!

Good luck!

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Content Creator
replied on May 28, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


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