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Andrea

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How do i feel confident in my McK interview?

Hi,

I have a first round interview at McK on Friday. I have done lots of prep (although its hard to feel as though you've ever done enough). My big areas of weekness are maths and confidence. I'm terrified of making a maths mistke in the interview. Do you have any advice?

Best,

Alex

Hi,

I have a first round interview at McK on Friday. I have done lots of prep (although its hard to feel as though you've ever done enough). My big areas of weekness are maths and confidence. I'm terrified of making a maths mistke in the interview. Do you have any advice?

Best,

Alex

6 answers

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Assuming that you are well prepared and crack your cases, then confidence won't come with further refining your case skills but will come with more practice of full interviews. By agreeing upfront with your interviewer to give you specific feedback on this dimension in upcoming practices you can address the verbal and non-verbal cues that make you come across as insecure.

In the past, when I gave the same feedback to interviewees it was because I could tell they were more worried about the interview outcome and about giving me the answer they believed I wanted to hear vs. being concerned about the case at hand itself and find joy and satisfaction in solving it. That also showed in fit questions where instead of being excited of sharing a personal experience to answer my question, they seemed focused on weighting carefully the words they were using.

My recommendation (and I am aware it's extremely hard to put in practice) is to try to enjoy the interview as much as you can by focusing on the challenge of solving the case and the satisfaction it brings you when you solve it and the joy of sharing your life experiences with someone else. If you are able to do focus on these aspects, and not think and care for those 45 minutes about what is at stake, then (usually) you will come across as genuine and confident.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

Assuming that you are well prepared and crack your cases, then confidence won't come with further refining your case skills but will come with more practice of full interviews. By agreeing upfront with your interviewer to give you specific feedback on this dimension in upcoming practices you can address the verbal and non-verbal cues that make you come across as insecure.

In the past, when I gave the same feedback to interviewees it was because I could tell they were more worried about the interview outcome and about giving me the answer they believed I wanted to hear vs. being concerned about the case at hand itself and find joy and satisfaction in solving it. That also showed in fit questions where instead of being excited of sharing a personal experience to answer my question, they seemed focused on weighting carefully the words they were using.

My recommendation (and I am aware it's extremely hard to put in practice) is to try to enjoy the interview as much as you can by focusing on the challenge of solving the case and the satisfaction it brings you when you solve it and the joy of sharing your life experiences with someone else. If you are able to do focus on these aspects, and not think and care for those 45 minutes about what is at stake, then (usually) you will come across as genuine and confident.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

Hi Alex,

This is a common issue and it's 100% normal to feel this way. Let me give you my 2 cents ( i did get an offer!).

From my experience, interviews are actually not tricky - they are designed to test you, but the cases are by no means the hardest cases you have probably ever done + they are super predictable...15 mins PEI, a 30 min case, followed by Q time.

It is generally fine to make a mistake in math - i know i did! I said 2 x w was 24 and said 50 goes into 1000, 200 times instead of 20. Interviewers understand you are nervous, and that mistakes happen...nobody is perfect. Of course, try not to make these mistakes but by no means is a math mistake going to stop you from getting an offer.

My advice for building confidence is to take your time and align with the math before going ahead. Take 1 minute to build your approach, explain it to the interviewer and if they say 'this looks good' you can forget about logic and just focus on doing the actual numbers (which BTW, are generally whole, nice numbers in MCK interviews).

Other confidence tips:

  • Listen to your favourite movie before going in, do 10 mins of mental math to boost your confidence right before you walk into the building
  • Get to the office early, sit there and relax as much as possible. The longer you are in your surroundings the more comfortable you will get.
  • THink positive put out positive vibes. Talk to the receptionist, stand up while you wait to display confidence and then be proactive when you talk to the interviewer. Ask how their day is, break the ice....once you realise they are just a person you will feel far more at ease.
  • Be confident in your training and prep - You are right, you can't ever be 100% prepared, but if you have done cases and committed yourself, you are probably at your best. This will either be good enough or it won't be...
  • Reassure yourself, that they have given this interview for a reason - they see something they NEED. McKinsey also really do want the best from you, they will help you feel at ease and try to allow you to succeed.
  • breathing and meditation on the morning - pump yourself up to succeed. Watch 'the rock", WIll Smith or CT Fletcher on youtube for example.
  • visualise yourself leading up to the interview doing the math correctly and bonding with the interviewer.
  • Stick your shoulders back, make space in the room so that physically you are force to be listened too. Honestly, body language is half the trick here. If your body looks confident, your mind will follow. Dress sharp...look good too as this all helps
  • SMILE
  • If you make a mistake, pre plan how you will deal with this. EG "sorry, im just a little nervous"...dont say this unless you make more than 1 mistake. Forget it and move on ASAP
  • Honestly, just enjoy the experience. You are interviewing with McKinsey. Thousands of people would love this chance...yet they picked you! This is a great opportunity and if you can enjoy the chance to do a case with a McKinsey consultant, you'll do just fine. Hint- Think back to all of those average partners on preplounge and then think about what you're about to do. This is what we train/ed for!!

Good luck!

T

Hi Alex,

This is a common issue and it's 100% normal to feel this way. Let me give you my 2 cents ( i did get an offer!).

From my experience, interviews are actually not tricky - they are designed to test you, but the cases are by no means the hardest cases you have probably ever done + they are super predictable...15 mins PEI, a 30 min case, followed by Q time.

It is generally fine to make a mistake in math - i know i did! I said 2 x w was 24 and said 50 goes into 1000, 200 times instead of 20. Interviewers understand you are nervous, and that mistakes happen...nobody is perfect. Of course, try not to make these mistakes but by no means is a math mistake going to stop you from getting an offer.

My advice for building confidence is to take your time and align with the math before going ahead. Take 1 minute to build your approach, explain it to the interviewer and if they say 'this looks good' you can forget about logic and just focus on doing the actual numbers (which BTW, are generally whole, nice numbers in MCK interviews).

Other confidence tips:

  • Listen to your favourite movie before going in, do 10 mins of mental math to boost your confidence right before you walk into the building
  • Get to the office early, sit there and relax as much as possible. The longer you are in your surroundings the more comfortable you will get.
  • THink positive put out positive vibes. Talk to the receptionist, stand up while you wait to display confidence and then be proactive when you talk to the interviewer. Ask how their day is, break the ice....once you realise they are just a person you will feel far more at ease.
  • Be confident in your training and prep - You are right, you can't ever be 100% prepared, but if you have done cases and committed yourself, you are probably at your best. This will either be good enough or it won't be...
  • Reassure yourself, that they have given this interview for a reason - they see something they NEED. McKinsey also really do want the best from you, they will help you feel at ease and try to allow you to succeed.
  • breathing and meditation on the morning - pump yourself up to succeed. Watch 'the rock", WIll Smith or CT Fletcher on youtube for example.
  • visualise yourself leading up to the interview doing the math correctly and bonding with the interviewer.
  • Stick your shoulders back, make space in the room so that physically you are force to be listened too. Honestly, body language is half the trick here. If your body looks confident, your mind will follow. Dress sharp...look good too as this all helps
  • SMILE
  • If you make a mistake, pre plan how you will deal with this. EG "sorry, im just a little nervous"...dont say this unless you make more than 1 mistake. Forget it and move on ASAP
  • Honestly, just enjoy the experience. You are interviewing with McKinsey. Thousands of people would love this chance...yet they picked you! This is a great opportunity and if you can enjoy the chance to do a case with a McKinsey consultant, you'll do just fine. Hint- Think back to all of those average partners on preplounge and then think about what you're about to do. This is what we train/ed for!!

Good luck!

T

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Hi Anonymous,

I totally agree with Odeh, confidence is a matter of different elements and most of them are non-verbal. The main elements that can influence your confidence perception are:

  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 notice you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcast with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After a couple of 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 (obviously not too much) in case you get feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not necessarily 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 the question “Why should I hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers from the beginning. Keeping silence create less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. Main sign of lack of confidence is leaning too much towards the interviewer. You should try to keep straight in the chair most of the time.

For the majority of these elements you will need to get feedback from the people you are practicing with, as they are very difficult to spot by yourself.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

I totally agree with Odeh, confidence is a matter of different elements and most of them are non-verbal. The main elements that can influence your confidence perception are:

  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 notice you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcast with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After a couple of 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 (obviously not too much) in case you get feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not necessarily 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 the question “Why should I hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers from the beginning. Keeping silence create less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. Main sign of lack of confidence is leaning too much towards the interviewer. You should try to keep straight in the chair most of the time.

For the majority of these elements you will need to get feedback from the people you are practicing with, as they are very difficult to spot by yourself.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Here's a concrete tip: put things in perspective:

1. You are good,they need good people... you have something to offer that they are looking for

2. You are speaking with one company at a time, there are many others who want to interview you as well. Ok,so this interview isn't going so well? They were not the right company anyway

3. These cases and math questions? They are just games; think "IQ test", or "Jeopardy". It's fun, just enjoy the moment

4. Nothing works this time? You will have other opportunities to try consulting, including (a) after a couple of years of solid work experience, (b) after a masters degree, and again (c) as an experienced hire

5. You dont need consulting to have a great and fulfilling career anyway. Consultancies reject many thousands of candidates each year who end up doing really well elsewhere. Oh, and those guys have a real work life balance too!

I understand your whole life may seem to depend on whether you do well in the next interviews - but take a step back. In the grand scheme of things, it really isn't all that important. You are prepared, you are good... things will be fine.

Good luck!

Here's a concrete tip: put things in perspective:

1. You are good,they need good people... you have something to offer that they are looking for

2. You are speaking with one company at a time, there are many others who want to interview you as well. Ok,so this interview isn't going so well? They were not the right company anyway

3. These cases and math questions? They are just games; think "IQ test", or "Jeopardy". It's fun, just enjoy the moment

4. Nothing works this time? You will have other opportunities to try consulting, including (a) after a couple of years of solid work experience, (b) after a masters degree, and again (c) as an experienced hire

5. You dont need consulting to have a great and fulfilling career anyway. Consultancies reject many thousands of candidates each year who end up doing really well elsewhere. Oh, and those guys have a real work life balance too!

I understand your whole life may seem to depend on whether you do well in the next interviews - but take a step back. In the grand scheme of things, it really isn't all that important. You are prepared, you are good... things will be fine.

Good luck!

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Hi,

personally in my own interviews and in helping candidates through the prep process all the way to interviews- it's all about finding your own style.

- For example, for some folks, this means to try and have fun during the case and interview.

- For others, it may mean speaking at a comfortable slow pace, slower than your interviewr on purpose perhaps to set the pace, (this could be difficult when the interviewer is a fast talker).

- For some, it means getting really creative and giving examples from real life when you bring up ideas - this buys you time, let's you talk about something you're 100% comfortable with and as a great byproduc shows ability to empathsize, improvize and ability to relate to the specific case.

These 3 are just examples of, but whatever it is that works for you, you should try and find it with your case partenrs / experts you talk to - with the goal of both developing confidence and showing it off to the other side of the table, (magically sometimes this is also a cyclical thing)!

Good luck!

:)

Hi,

personally in my own interviews and in helping candidates through the prep process all the way to interviews- it's all about finding your own style.

- For example, for some folks, this means to try and have fun during the case and interview.

- For others, it may mean speaking at a comfortable slow pace, slower than your interviewr on purpose perhaps to set the pace, (this could be difficult when the interviewer is a fast talker).

- For some, it means getting really creative and giving examples from real life when you bring up ideas - this buys you time, let's you talk about something you're 100% comfortable with and as a great byproduc shows ability to empathsize, improvize and ability to relate to the specific case.

These 3 are just examples of, but whatever it is that works for you, you should try and find it with your case partenrs / experts you talk to - with the goal of both developing confidence and showing it off to the other side of the table, (magically sometimes this is also a cyclical thing)!

Good luck!

:)

Confidence comes from two main sources: knowing how to answer the case and how you present yourself. Andrea & Amir have both touched upon the case aspect and indeed the more you practice the more confident you will become. But then there's the aspect of how you present yourself.

Body language is 2/3rds the communication. Sitting with your back hunched over, speaking in a low voice and not making eye contact all reflect a lack of confidence. Why is this important? Because one needs to instil confidence in the client. It is important for the client to feel that you know what you're doing and trust what you're saying. Consulting is a people job as much as it is an analytical job.

Here are a few tips to help you gain confidence. There are other ways of course, but these can help you get started:-

1. Practice walking with purpose. No swaying. No bouncing. No shuffling steps, or long awkward strides.

2. Have a firm hand shake.

3. Sit up in the interview, hands clasped in front of you. Plant your bum on the whole seat - not just the edge, and push your back against the back of the seat. This will force you to sit up with an erect spine and shoulders back. It is ok to lean in from time to time to show that you are engaged in the conversation.

4. Don't hold on to a pen or anything else - you will start fiddling with it and it will exacerbate your anxiety.

5. Make eye contact. Don't stare them down though.

6. Speak in a clear, calm and unrushed manner. Don't whisper but equally don't shout. Also don't mumble. Think before you speak - count to 5 in your head if you must.

Hope these tips help!

Confidence comes from two main sources: knowing how to answer the case and how you present yourself. Andrea & Amir have both touched upon the case aspect and indeed the more you practice the more confident you will become. But then there's the aspect of how you present yourself.

Body language is 2/3rds the communication. Sitting with your back hunched over, speaking in a low voice and not making eye contact all reflect a lack of confidence. Why is this important? Because one needs to instil confidence in the client. It is important for the client to feel that you know what you're doing and trust what you're saying. Consulting is a people job as much as it is an analytical job.

Here are a few tips to help you gain confidence. There are other ways of course, but these can help you get started:-

1. Practice walking with purpose. No swaying. No bouncing. No shuffling steps, or long awkward strides.

2. Have a firm hand shake.

3. Sit up in the interview, hands clasped in front of you. Plant your bum on the whole seat - not just the edge, and push your back against the back of the seat. This will force you to sit up with an erect spine and shoulders back. It is ok to lean in from time to time to show that you are engaged in the conversation.

4. Don't hold on to a pen or anything else - you will start fiddling with it and it will exacerbate your anxiety.

5. Make eye contact. Don't stare them down though.

6. Speak in a clear, calm and unrushed manner. Don't whisper but equally don't shout. Also don't mumble. Think before you speak - count to 5 in your head if you must.

Hope these tips help!

(edited)

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