Incoming McKinsey & Company with experience of completing over 200+ cases at MBB level
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Final Round @ Strategy& London

Anonymous A

Hi all,

I have been invited to Strategy& London's final round which is an Assessment Day at their offices, for the Corporate Strategy team. It is expected to last 2 x 4hrs (2 half-days, successful candidates make it to the afternoon session). Below is additional information from the email.

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What you’ll be doing at our assessment centre

  • numerical and diagrammatic reasoning tests
  • an unstructured case study interview
  • a structured case study interview

We would advise you to:

  • Be prepared to answer competency based questions within the case study interviews
  • Review the Strategy& website for further information on how the team creates value for clients and to review recent publications written by the team

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Here are some questions I have regarding the event:

  • Any idea what kind of numerical and diagrammatic reasoning tests they carry out, and whether there are any samples online? I'm not sure if the tests are similar to those carried out by PwC with samples available on their website.
  • What do they mean by "structured" and "unstructured" interview? My understanding is that the structured one may be a more traditional interview, that may be part of their case interview bank with accompanying figures and charts, whereas the unstructured one may be a bit more of an open question with no real set direction, carried out more like a discussion.
  • How do the activities break down between morning and afternoon? I assume the testing should happen in the morning, with interviews being held in the afternoon; if anyone has had a different experience please let me know.
  • Are there any other activities not mentioned in the description? 8hrs (excluding lunch) seems excessive for 2 tests and 2 cases. There also appears to be no pure fit interviews even though it seems to be standard practice in the final rounds of other firms.

Any help would be kindly appreciated - thank you very much in advance!

Best,

V

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Harri
Expert
replied on 11/14/2018
Incoming McKinsey & Company with experience of completing over 200+ cases at MBB level

Hello,

Congratulations on the upcoming interview! I’ve answered your questions based on my experience of interviewing in the London office last autumn:

1) The numerical and diagrammatic tests were multiple choice and paper based. The test provided on the PwC website are similar and should be used to prepare. I’d also recommend signing up to assessmentday.com. The tests are representative of what you’ll get and there are loads of examples on there. During the actual interview, make sure to work quickly and skip any questions which seem time consuming - come back to them once you’ve got the easy ones out the way.

2) Your understanding of the structured and unstructured case interviews is correct:

Structured - you’ll be presented with a set of slides outlining the case objectives, background information and plenty of data. At the start of the interview you’ll be given 5/10 minutes to read through the case material and to start formulating your approach.

Unstructured - as you mentioned, the unstructured case is more of a ‘discussion’ and doesn’t involve the use of charts and graphs like a traditional case. However, it’s still VERY important to stay structured when answering, be flexible and communicate your thought process clearly at all times. The types of questions you could be asked might include:

- Estimate the annual profit for Disney land Paris

-What’s the ratio of land mass in the northern hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere

- Calculate the expected take home profit for a Spanish deli style supermarket in London

-You might be asked to put forward your own business idea related to one of your interests and then do a quick profit/loss calculation for it (e.g I want to open restaurant in location X, calculate the potential revenue and costs)

As you can see, you can be asked just about anything and it will really depend on who is interviewing you. Expect to have your business knowledge tested as you talk around the case. As mentioned, stay calm, be structured and ensure a good dialogue with the interviewer at all times.

3) The order in which you complete the activities depends on the group you’re assigned to. From what I recall, candidates were put into 3 or 4 groups and rotated around each of the activities.

4.1) Other activities: The only other activities not mentioned that I completed was a written case interview and a presentation (it’s possible you don’t have to complete these as I was told beforehand by HR).

4.2) Fit questions: although I didn’t have a stand alone fit interview, both the structured and unstructured cases contained elements of fit (particularly in the second round). Expect questions such as: tell me about yourself, why consulting, why strategy&, why should we hire you, what other firms are you interviewing with, etc

I hope that helps and do feel free to get in contact if you have anymore questions. Good luck with the preparation!

Harri

Guennael replied on 11/13/2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

An unstructured case interview might simply be a free format discussion on a specific topic. I would strongly encourage you to try & gather your thoughts so you come off as structured and methodical as opposed to simply blurting out possibilities "out of the blue". Easier said than done btw, I actually lost a great job opportunity post-BCG for making that very mistake.

2nd round interviews do not necessarily have a fit component. Partners are used to analysing people. They will try to figure out if it is safe to put you in front of their client, and if you can build a rapport with strangers / talk about a variety of subjects. An unstructured case interview would fit that bill perfectly. I did have one such interview on my final BCG round for example.

As for why so much time... there might be some downtime for scheduling reasons

Anonymous B replied on 11/13/2018

Hi V,

I had my first round with Strategy& in an office in Continental Europe a few weeks ago.

The first case was a typical case study --> market sizing followed by a strategic recommendation.

The second case was an unstructured one --> basically I was given a P&L and had to talk through it with the interviewer. The interviewer asked questions like: what do you think happened with the costs of raw materials? what is happening with bottom line? For this case there was no formal structure, e.g. layout my approach or have a formal conclusion. It was more of a conversation.

Hope this helps.

Thanks

Alan replied on 11/13/2018

Hi - best of luck with this. I'm about to apply to Strategy& and was wondering if I could ask you a quick question? You are anonymous - so please could you private message me? Would massively appreciate it - I understand you could easily ignore this!! Cheers, Alan