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Francesco

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7

How do I "act like a consultant"?

I'm in the process of preparing for McKinsey final round interviews. I know I'm asking a very broad question; there is no certain checklist. I would like to know what you consider as great consultant characteristics I could exemplify in these final round interviews. Thank you!

I'm in the process of preparing for McKinsey final round interviews. I know I'm asking a very broad question; there is no certain checklist. I would like to know what you consider as great consultant characteristics I could exemplify in these final round interviews. Thank you!

7 answers

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Hi Indy,

Very broad question ;)

You want of course to show structuring skills, top-down communication, good math skills, ability to interpret graphs, ability to brainstorm in a structured way, synthesis and good answers for the standard PEI questions. However, I guess you are leaning more on tips on communication skills.

First of all, you may want to work on your body language and voice. Even if you are nervous, you don’t want to show that. You could work on the following:

  1. Sound of your voice. Monotone voice is one of the major elements of poor communication. Speaking fast is also another element that can give an impression of lack of confidence. If you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcasts with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After some days you will start to speak in a similar way, as you will absorb their communication style.
  2. Smile. Smiling can be a powerful element to show you enjoy the interview (and interviewer) and are not afraid. You can force smiles (although not too much) in case you get feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not always look the interviewer in the eyes. But you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions like “Why should I hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers at the beginning. Keeping silence creates less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. Leaning too much towards the interviewer is also a sign of lack of confidence. You should keep a straight position most of the time.

You may also want to work on your mindset. The interview should be an opportunity to understand if you and the company are a mutually good fit and show the skills you practiced, not the only chance you have to change your career.

Finally, you may want to exercise with people that put you in a situation of pressure, so that there are no surprises the day of the interview.

Best,

Francesco

Hi Indy,

Very broad question ;)

You want of course to show structuring skills, top-down communication, good math skills, ability to interpret graphs, ability to brainstorm in a structured way, synthesis and good answers for the standard PEI questions. However, I guess you are leaning more on tips on communication skills.

First of all, you may want to work on your body language and voice. Even if you are nervous, you don’t want to show that. You could work on the following:

  1. Sound of your voice. Monotone voice is one of the major elements of poor communication. Speaking fast is also another element that can give an impression of lack of confidence. If you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcasts with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After some days you will start to speak in a similar way, as you will absorb their communication style.
  2. Smile. Smiling can be a powerful element to show you enjoy the interview (and interviewer) and are not afraid. You can force smiles (although not too much) in case you get feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not always look the interviewer in the eyes. But you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions like “Why should I hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers at the beginning. Keeping silence creates less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. Leaning too much towards the interviewer is also a sign of lack of confidence. You should keep a straight position most of the time.

You may also want to work on your mindset. The interview should be an opportunity to understand if you and the company are a mutually good fit and show the skills you practiced, not the only chance you have to change your career.

Finally, you may want to exercise with people that put you in a situation of pressure, so that there are no surprises the day of the interview.

Best,

Francesco

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  • Has strong beliefs, loosely held
  • Understands "Obligation to dissent"
  • Knows how to challenge thinking in a positive/respectful way
  • Can deal with literally any unknown/ambiguity
    • Turns unknown unknowns into known unknowns
  • Thinks in a structured manner
  • Articulates clearly
  • Is confident but humble/respectful
  • Agile/Adaptable and receptive to feedback/coaching
  • Personable and likeable (i.e. I would enjoy working with them)
  • Has strong beliefs, loosely held
  • Understands "Obligation to dissent"
  • Knows how to challenge thinking in a positive/respectful way
  • Can deal with literally any unknown/ambiguity
    • Turns unknown unknowns into known unknowns
  • Thinks in a structured manner
  • Articulates clearly
  • Is confident but humble/respectful
  • Agile/Adaptable and receptive to feedback/coaching
  • Personable and likeable (i.e. I would enjoy working with them)
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Hello!

Indeed, perhaps the right question to ask here is: how do I shine in my last interview round?

There are a series of attributes that you shall demostrate in order to shine:

  • Structured
  • Ordered
  • Top-down approach to problems
  • Enjoyable -yes, also super important! If you are going to work +100h/week in the bad scenarios with someone, you must ensure that you like that person!
  • Agile problem-solver
  • Team player & social

Good luck!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

Indeed, perhaps the right question to ask here is: how do I shine in my last interview round?

There are a series of attributes that you shall demostrate in order to shine:

  • Structured
  • Ordered
  • Top-down approach to problems
  • Enjoyable -yes, also super important! If you are going to work +100h/week in the bad scenarios with someone, you must ensure that you like that person!
  • Agile problem-solver
  • Team player & social

Good luck!

Cheers,

Clara

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Hi Indy,

To build on other coaches great tips already, two top tips from me:

1. Be yourself while you work on improving your body language and communication skills- plenty of books, sites and TED talks are available for this. Don't try emulate consultants or someone else. Get inspired but be original. Its in being original that you get people's attention given so many fake people around these days anyway

2. Learn to storytell. Think of yourself as a lead actor/actress in the film your life/event/situation. There is start, middle and end. Convey joy and happiness in telling your story. If you structure your answers this way, trust me you will go places

All the best!

Hi Indy,

To build on other coaches great tips already, two top tips from me:

1. Be yourself while you work on improving your body language and communication skills- plenty of books, sites and TED talks are available for this. Don't try emulate consultants or someone else. Get inspired but be original. Its in being original that you get people's attention given so many fake people around these days anyway

2. Learn to storytell. Think of yourself as a lead actor/actress in the film your life/event/situation. There is start, middle and end. Convey joy and happiness in telling your story. If you structure your answers this way, trust me you will go places

All the best!

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To avoid giving you a longlist, here are my top 3:

+ Strong problem solving intrinsics: someone who is able to really think through any type of problem and is able to work with ambiguity

+ Good communicator: clear and structured communicator that is also engaging with different audiences

+ Personable: interesting and mature individual that believes in team work

To avoid giving you a longlist, here are my top 3:

+ Strong problem solving intrinsics: someone who is able to really think through any type of problem and is able to work with ambiguity

+ Good communicator: clear and structured communicator that is also engaging with different audiences

+ Personable: interesting and mature individual that believes in team work

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I agree with all of the above and want to add that there is little "acting" you can do in an interview. Most of these behaviors are developed over many years, so trying to exemplify any of these is likely just going to let you come across ingenuine.

Better just be yourself and focus on delivering a great case!

I agree with all of the above and want to add that there is little "acting" you can do in an interview. Most of these behaviors are developed over many years, so trying to exemplify any of these is likely just going to let you come across ingenuine.

Better just be yourself and focus on delivering a great case!

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Just few thoughts on final round:

. Final round is about 'depth' and not about 'breadth'. Initial round interviews are broad. Several fit questions, cases with multiple analysis etc. Because the intention is to test the candiate on as many aspects as the interviewer can. Final round is different. It is about testing the depth. Partners typically ask very few quetions but probe every answer to a great depth.

• Candidate needs thorough preparation to tackle 'why-how-translatability' probing questions by partners. Candidates need to be ready to justify their answer in a consulting compliant way.

• Final round is 'unpredictbale'. Final round interviewers, Partners, are known to throw curve balls. There have been interviews where Partners have just taken fit questions and business discussion, on the other hand there have been interviews where Partners have given detailed cases to the candidates. You never know what Partners can pull out of their hat.

Candidates need to be extra prepared. Especially, for question formats that they have not encountered in earlier rounds viz. Partner converting project from candidate's CV into a case, partner starting discusion on recent business event, advice seeking on business issue that the Partner says he is facing. Through all these variety of discussions, Partners try and test the candidature thoroughly.

Was it helpful for you?

If you need any further help, feel free to reach out.

GB

Just few thoughts on final round:

. Final round is about 'depth' and not about 'breadth'. Initial round interviews are broad. Several fit questions, cases with multiple analysis etc. Because the intention is to test the candiate on as many aspects as the interviewer can. Final round is different. It is about testing the depth. Partners typically ask very few quetions but probe every answer to a great depth.

• Candidate needs thorough preparation to tackle 'why-how-translatability' probing questions by partners. Candidates need to be ready to justify their answer in a consulting compliant way.

• Final round is 'unpredictbale'. Final round interviewers, Partners, are known to throw curve balls. There have been interviews where Partners have just taken fit questions and business discussion, on the other hand there have been interviews where Partners have given detailed cases to the candidates. You never know what Partners can pull out of their hat.

Candidates need to be extra prepared. Especially, for question formats that they have not encountered in earlier rounds viz. Partner converting project from candidate's CV into a case, partner starting discusion on recent business event, advice seeking on business issue that the Partner says he is facing. Through all these variety of discussions, Partners try and test the candidature thoroughly.

Was it helpful for you?

If you need any further help, feel free to reach out.

GB

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