Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
12

Do you have to be genius(very smart) or hardworking to break into MBB and be agood consultant?

MBB

Ex Mckinsey Global MD Dominic Barton revealed only 1% of the applicant receive a job offer. So we can all agree that calls for one to be extremely smart to be among the1%. so my question is do you have to be genius or extremely smart to get job offer from MBB and succeed in that environment? or can an average person who is willing to work hard, practice cases,do coaching etc be among the 1% and the succeed in MBB? is cracking cases and succeeding at MBB something that can be learned if you are an average person? Thanks in advance.

Ex Mckinsey Global MD Dominic Barton revealed only 1% of the applicant receive a job offer. So we can all agree that calls for one to be extremely smart to be among the1%. so my question is do you have to be genius or extremely smart to get job offer from MBB and succeed in that environment? or can an average person who is willing to work hard, practice cases,do coaching etc be among the 1% and the succeed in MBB? is cracking cases and succeeding at MBB something that can be learned if you are an average person? Thanks in advance.

I think you need be in the top 1% of the general population. I applied as an experienced hire, from a target school in UK, 1st grade honours, and still didn't get into it, ... it's super competitive and I see no future for me in consulting... — Anonymous B on Jun 03, 2020

oh sorry about your situation I posted the question so I could hear from Ex-MBBs. — Anonymous A on Jun 03, 2020

12 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Khaled

100% Recommendation Rate

14 Meetings

1,058 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi there,

Every consultant would tell you that consulting is not rocket science - to be a great consultant you just need to be an intellectually curious person with an approachable character that people can work with for 14 hours per day every day.

I had interviewed applicants that ranked 1st and are super technical - however, they did not pass the "can I work with the person" test because either they were too technical (detailed oriented) and didn't have the ability to see the big picture or because there attitude is too academic (professors and consultants don't speak the same language)

Self-motivated, curious, and approachable hard workers make great consultants

I hope this helps

Khaled

Hi there,

Every consultant would tell you that consulting is not rocket science - to be a great consultant you just need to be an intellectually curious person with an approachable character that people can work with for 14 hours per day every day.

I had interviewed applicants that ranked 1st and are super technical - however, they did not pass the "can I work with the person" test because either they were too technical (detailed oriented) and didn't have the ability to see the big picture or because there attitude is too academic (professors and consultants don't speak the same language)

Self-motivated, curious, and approachable hard workers make great consultants

I hope this helps

Khaled

Thank you very much — Anonymous A on Jun 03, 2020

Hi Khaled, thank you for your response. Do you have any tips on not being to detail oriented? As an ISTJ (MBTI type) I'm kinda struggling with that while prepping. — Anonymous C on Jun 03, 2020

ISTJ is the most common type at MBB and it's exactly the detail oriented type — Vlad on Jun 03, 2020

I'm not a big fan of MBTI or other personality types - people got too hung up on their "categories" (but that's a dicussion for another day ;) ... to make sure you don't end up being to detailed oriented and forget about the big picture, just ask yourself 3 why's...why do i need this information? why? why? that 3rd why would get you to a level that is more strategic than operational and would help you structure your pyramidal thought process — Khaled on Jun 04, 2020

I do agree with you that people tend to put themselves in a box based on MBTIs, but I also think there are some benefits to it. Anyway, thanks a lot for the responses! — Anonymous on Jun 04, 2020

Book a coaching with Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

50 Meetings

12,420 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hello!

For sure not!

It always makes me laugh a bit when people say that to get to McK you need to be like a super-hero, because, nothing further than reality!!!

I leave you here a slide from the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34). It direcly adresses what you are asking!

The importance of Fit Interview

If you are interested in the guide, provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes, since we still have some left from the launch!

Hello!

For sure not!

It always makes me laugh a bit when people say that to get to McK you need to be like a super-hero, because, nothing further than reality!!!

I leave you here a slide from the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34). It direcly adresses what you are asking!

The importance of Fit Interview

If you are interested in the guide, provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes, since we still have some left from the launch!

Thanks. — Anonymous A on Jun 04, 2020

Book a coaching with Axel

100% Recommendation Rate

48 Meetings

810 Q&A Upvotes

USD 179 / Coaching

Hi,

My point of view is that you need to have some minimum level of intelligence to secure the offer and do well in the job. This level is certainly far from genius-level but also certainly considerably above average intelligence.

As has already been pointed out, the level of intelligence is just one success factor of many. You need to have the dedication and focus to be able to work extremely long hours for many years on end, have an intellectual curiosity and flexibility that allows you to constantly work on different projects and problems, and you need to be a person that is able to work well with others in high-pressure situations.

-A

Hi,

My point of view is that you need to have some minimum level of intelligence to secure the offer and do well in the job. This level is certainly far from genius-level but also certainly considerably above average intelligence.

As has already been pointed out, the level of intelligence is just one success factor of many. You need to have the dedication and focus to be able to work extremely long hours for many years on end, have an intellectual curiosity and flexibility that allows you to constantly work on different projects and problems, and you need to be a person that is able to work well with others in high-pressure situations.

-A

Thank you. — Anonymous A on Jun 04, 2020

Definitely not. Most of the job you can do by just being above-average intelligence while also being organised and hard working. In fact, being a "genius" (very high IQ) is more often than not associated with having weaker people skills / being "weird" (low EQ) which is as if not more important in consulting.

The vast majority of consultants (including at MBB) are of slightly above average intelligence with good people skills, while also being very driven (mostly because you need to be willing to put up with long hours).

Definitely not. Most of the job you can do by just being above-average intelligence while also being organised and hard working. In fact, being a "genius" (very high IQ) is more often than not associated with having weaker people skills / being "weird" (low EQ) which is as if not more important in consulting.

The vast majority of consultants (including at MBB) are of slightly above average intelligence with good people skills, while also being very driven (mostly because you need to be willing to put up with long hours).

Thanks a lot. — Anonymous A on Jun 03, 2020

Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

404 Meetings

11,350 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

Hi,

Nope, you should not be a genius or extremely smart. Moreover, it's not the smartest / most talented who make it to the partner level.

However, there are several important things:

  • You should have some relevant background in your resume. Depending on the role you are applying to it should be a good university, relevant career path, etc. However, I've seen a lot of exceptions
  • You should definitely be smart. Smart means - solving the problems quickly, understanding math, etc
  • You should be a good communicator - presenting your ideas, being concise and structures
  • You should invest a lot of time and effort in preparation
  • Still, you should be lucky to get there
  • You should be coachable and ready to learn while in consulting
  • You should be able to sustain very long working hours

It's not a rocket science, but it's not easy

Best

Hi,

Nope, you should not be a genius or extremely smart. Moreover, it's not the smartest / most talented who make it to the partner level.

However, there are several important things:

  • You should have some relevant background in your resume. Depending on the role you are applying to it should be a good university, relevant career path, etc. However, I've seen a lot of exceptions
  • You should definitely be smart. Smart means - solving the problems quickly, understanding math, etc
  • You should be a good communicator - presenting your ideas, being concise and structures
  • You should invest a lot of time and effort in preparation
  • Still, you should be lucky to get there
  • You should be coachable and ready to learn while in consulting
  • You should be able to sustain very long working hours

It's not a rocket science, but it's not easy

Best

Thank you. — Anonymous A on Jun 04, 2020

Book a coaching with Robert

96% Recommendation Rate

317 Meetings

3,640 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

Hi there,

I usually tell my case interview coaching candidates (a bit jokingly though) that McKinsey is actually one of the most easiest firms on this planet to get in.

Why do I say this? To make fun of my coaching candidates? No, for sure not - I say this because I want to let them know one of the key issues on consulting interview prep, and it probably holds true in many many other occasions:

It's not always the smartest, brightest, best people landing offers at McKinsey (McKinsey is probably a bit more specific and since most candidates want to go there I will stick to McKinsey below, but it's true for MBB in general).

It is actually those candidates who know how to prepare correctly.

Or in other words: mastering the McKinsey interview process is more a matter of diligent preparation, than being a genius (for sure you will need good business acumen and a logical way of thinking [a.k.a. being client friendly] - but this is far away from being a genius).

I specifically say that McKinsey is one of the most easiest firms to get in because there is hardly any other firm where you know in that much detail what exactly will happen in the recruiting process (as opposed to many other firms outside the consulting industry). There is no magic in solving case interviews and preparing for the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview) in a surefire way - it is mainly hard, highly disciplined work and lots, lots, lots of practice. (Or as someone else used to say: it is 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration, and not the other way round!)

Therefore, you have the opportunity to prepare for your McKinsey interviews accordingly - it is up to you to use it, but at least you have the opportunity. There really is more than enough prep material available to do all this, starting from basic knowledge like Victor Cheng's book "Case Interview Secrets" and free youtube videos or his LOMS program, case studies (here you can get tons of the for free: Case Interview Casebooks, or specifically geared towards McKinsey interviewer-led cases), surefire PEI prep material at https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com and finding tons of case interview practice partners at PrepLounge.

Most definitely McKinsey is a highly regarded brand not only from the client's perspective, but also on the job market. Therefore lot's of strong candidates apply at McKinsey, and they can choose quite freely amoung a very large pool of strong candidates, which makes the whole recruiting process really competitive (in conjunction with the general recruiting mindset that they rather like to err on false negatives than false positives) - but given all the opportunities for in-depth interview prep, I can't except a lot of excuses for not getting at least extremely close to getting an offer from McKinsey (yes, as with everything in life, there is no 100% guarantee whatever you will do in your prep).

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Hi there,

I usually tell my case interview coaching candidates (a bit jokingly though) that McKinsey is actually one of the most easiest firms on this planet to get in.

Why do I say this? To make fun of my coaching candidates? No, for sure not - I say this because I want to let them know one of the key issues on consulting interview prep, and it probably holds true in many many other occasions:

It's not always the smartest, brightest, best people landing offers at McKinsey (McKinsey is probably a bit more specific and since most candidates want to go there I will stick to McKinsey below, but it's true for MBB in general).

It is actually those candidates who know how to prepare correctly.

Or in other words: mastering the McKinsey interview process is more a matter of diligent preparation, than being a genius (for sure you will need good business acumen and a logical way of thinking [a.k.a. being client friendly] - but this is far away from being a genius).

I specifically say that McKinsey is one of the most easiest firms to get in because there is hardly any other firm where you know in that much detail what exactly will happen in the recruiting process (as opposed to many other firms outside the consulting industry). There is no magic in solving case interviews and preparing for the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview) in a surefire way - it is mainly hard, highly disciplined work and lots, lots, lots of practice. (Or as someone else used to say: it is 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration, and not the other way round!)

Therefore, you have the opportunity to prepare for your McKinsey interviews accordingly - it is up to you to use it, but at least you have the opportunity. There really is more than enough prep material available to do all this, starting from basic knowledge like Victor Cheng's book "Case Interview Secrets" and free youtube videos or his LOMS program, case studies (here you can get tons of the for free: Case Interview Casebooks, or specifically geared towards McKinsey interviewer-led cases), surefire PEI prep material at https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com and finding tons of case interview practice partners at PrepLounge.

Most definitely McKinsey is a highly regarded brand not only from the client's perspective, but also on the job market. Therefore lot's of strong candidates apply at McKinsey, and they can choose quite freely amoung a very large pool of strong candidates, which makes the whole recruiting process really competitive (in conjunction with the general recruiting mindset that they rather like to err on false negatives than false positives) - but given all the opportunities for in-depth interview prep, I can't except a lot of excuses for not getting at least extremely close to getting an offer from McKinsey (yes, as with everything in life, there is no 100% guarantee whatever you will do in your prep).

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Thank you. — Anonymous A on Jun 05, 2020

Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

200 Meetings

16,277 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi,

I think most of us live in a bubble, and therefore some of the answers below are a bit misleading.

Yes, you do need to be smart. You definitely need very high intelligence compared to the regular population (I'm talking 80-90 percentile at least).

However, remember that we are in a bubble (both coaches and preploungers). By just being on PrepLounge and striving for MBB, you're already likely in the intelligent bubble, hence many answers from coaches stating you don't need to be super smart!

100% you need to be hardworking. You need to have grit and determination. Don't think for a second MBB will be easy! Additionally, you can 100% outwork a slightly lesser intelligence

Most importantly: I have yet to meet a PrepLounger where I thought "They can't get into MBB"

Hi,

I think most of us live in a bubble, and therefore some of the answers below are a bit misleading.

Yes, you do need to be smart. You definitely need very high intelligence compared to the regular population (I'm talking 80-90 percentile at least).

However, remember that we are in a bubble (both coaches and preploungers). By just being on PrepLounge and striving for MBB, you're already likely in the intelligent bubble, hence many answers from coaches stating you don't need to be super smart!

100% you need to be hardworking. You need to have grit and determination. Don't think for a second MBB will be easy! Additionally, you can 100% outwork a slightly lesser intelligence

Most importantly: I have yet to meet a PrepLounger where I thought "They can't get into MBB"

Thank you. — Anonymous A on Jun 05, 2020

Hi A,

For me good consultant has the following abilities and skills:

1. Ability to analyze complex project and complex tasks, break them down into good structure and deliver results.

2. Good and sound communication with client, with project manager, with a partner, and with a team as well.

3. Ability to manage complexity.

4 Follows the principle under sell and over deliver (that means lower the expectations and always exceed them).

Hope it helps you further,

Best,

André

Hi A,

For me good consultant has the following abilities and skills:

1. Ability to analyze complex project and complex tasks, break them down into good structure and deliver results.

2. Good and sound communication with client, with project manager, with a partner, and with a team as well.

3. Ability to manage complexity.

4 Follows the principle under sell and over deliver (that means lower the expectations and always exceed them).

Hope it helps you further,

Best,

André

Thank you — Anonymous A on Jun 04, 2020

Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

3,278 Meetings

12,020 Q&A Upvotes

USD 449 / Coaching

Hi there,

you don’t have to be a genius, but you have to be willing to work hard and persist if you fail initially. And that doesn’t make you an average person ;) The majority of the people don’t want to work hard and/or persist if they fail.

In general, if you:

  • Network hard
  • Work hard on fit and case prep
  • Persist, work on your areas of improvement and apply again after few years if you are not successful

then I am pretty confident you can land the job in the end.

Then, there is always the luck factor - Malcolm Gladwell talked extensively about that in Outliers. But in the end, I believe if you work hard you can create your own luck, given your initial situation.

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

you don’t have to be a genius, but you have to be willing to work hard and persist if you fail initially. And that doesn’t make you an average person ;) The majority of the people don’t want to work hard and/or persist if they fail.

In general, if you:

  • Network hard
  • Work hard on fit and case prep
  • Persist, work on your areas of improvement and apply again after few years if you are not successful

then I am pretty confident you can land the job in the end.

Then, there is always the luck factor - Malcolm Gladwell talked extensively about that in Outliers. But in the end, I believe if you work hard you can create your own luck, given your initial situation.

Best,

Francesco

Thank you. — Anonymous A on Jun 04, 2020

Hello,

No, there are not only geniuses in MBB firms (I am definitely not a genius for example !!!). On the other hand, there are only people who have a good head and who have worked a lot on their preparation. It is quite possible to miss once or twice the MBB interviews and then be taken, as one does not become a genius in a few years, I sincerely think that the work always pays.

David

Hello,

No, there are not only geniuses in MBB firms (I am definitely not a genius for example !!!). On the other hand, there are only people who have a good head and who have worked a lot on their preparation. It is quite possible to miss once or twice the MBB interviews and then be taken, as one does not become a genius in a few years, I sincerely think that the work always pays.

David

Thank you — Anonymous A on Jun 10, 2020

Book a coaching with Emily

100% Recommendation Rate

48 Meetings

2,133 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi there,

Sharing my view on this.

  • No you don't need to be genius (having a super high IQ) to be a successful consultant. You just need to be smart enough (if you have been to a good school with good scores, that's enough) and can think logically
  • You do need to have a good enough EQ as well. This is important because as a consultant you work in teams and work with client. You definitely need to be team and client friendly.
  • Hardworking is a table stake; for if you are not, you would hate the job
  • Attitude is very important, i.e. willing to learn, taking initiatives, not afraid of admitting a mistake and taking responsibility, not so big ego
  • Last, luck plays a part to make someone the 1% as well...

Best,

Emily

Hi there,

Sharing my view on this.

  • No you don't need to be genius (having a super high IQ) to be a successful consultant. You just need to be smart enough (if you have been to a good school with good scores, that's enough) and can think logically
  • You do need to have a good enough EQ as well. This is important because as a consultant you work in teams and work with client. You definitely need to be team and client friendly.
  • Hardworking is a table stake; for if you are not, you would hate the job
  • Attitude is very important, i.e. willing to learn, taking initiatives, not afraid of admitting a mistake and taking responsibility, not so big ego
  • Last, luck plays a part to make someone the 1% as well...

Best,

Emily

(edited)

Thank you. — Anonymous A on Jun 04, 2020

Book a coaching with Udayan

98% Recommendation Rate

94 Meetings

2,738 Q&A Upvotes

USD 209 / Coaching

Hi,

While you do come across people who might well be geniuses you definitely dont have to be one to get in. Hardworking - yes absolutely. For most of the people applying this is true, the interview process and selection criteria ensure that you have to work very hard to get in. But that is true of anything that is challenging and has a lot of competition, e.g., getting into a top college

Learning how to crack the interview is very doable, your focus needs to be on both the case and the PEI elements. With enough practice like with all things this also becomes easier.

The not so good news - the reality is despite all that some things are essential

1. You go to a target school for MBB

2. You have a high GPA to be competitive

3. You have spent your time in college pursuing interests outside of classes while maintaining your grades

4. You are willing and able to network with alumni and at events

All the best with your application process

Udayan

Hi,

While you do come across people who might well be geniuses you definitely dont have to be one to get in. Hardworking - yes absolutely. For most of the people applying this is true, the interview process and selection criteria ensure that you have to work very hard to get in. But that is true of anything that is challenging and has a lot of competition, e.g., getting into a top college

Learning how to crack the interview is very doable, your focus needs to be on both the case and the PEI elements. With enough practice like with all things this also becomes easier.

The not so good news - the reality is despite all that some things are essential

1. You go to a target school for MBB

2. You have a high GPA to be competitive

3. You have spent your time in college pursuing interests outside of classes while maintaining your grades

4. You are willing and able to network with alumni and at events

All the best with your application process

Udayan

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 15.3k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 530
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 9.0k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 458
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

Hot Wheels

Solved 4.8k times
Hot Wheels Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability.
4.6 5 284
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability. Open whole case

Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19

Solved 3.4k times
Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19 Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April.  They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemorrhaging cash and surive in the short-term. They are also looking to see how the current situation can be viewed as an opportunity, and what can be done to prepare for the future. 
4.3 5 102
| Rating: (4.3 / 5.0)

Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April. They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemor ... Open whole case

Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser

Solved 3.0k times
Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing the virus back to your house, where your elderly grandparents are also staying. How would you go about thinking about this problem, and what would you recommend?
4.6 5 36
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Beginner | Style: Brain Teaser | Topics: Brain teaser

You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing ... Open whole case