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How long should non-PEI fit questions take?

FIT
New answer on Oct 31, 2020
7 Answers
918 Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 19, 2020

I have a Bain/BCG interview this week and for both there will be some time for non-PEI behavioral questions (ex. Why X-firm, Why Consulting, Tell me about yourself).

For each of these questions I've thought of <2min good answers but have heard that interviewers may expect <30 second or <1min answers. How long should my answers roughly take and if it varies between interviewers, how do I find out?

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Indeed, your intuition is right.

You are referring to intro & cv questions and motivational questions, families I and II of the 4 families that FIT includes. We are talking about short pitches, 1-2 mins tops.

If you would like to know more, 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 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.

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Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch!Integrated Fit Guide for MBB

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

First, congratulations on getting the interview!

Now, 1-2 minutes is what you should aim for. However, ultimately quality not quantity matters! So, if you can tell the same story in 60 seconds (i.e. demonstrate your skills / thinking, do the story justice, etc.), aim for the faster time!

In terms of interviewer-adjustments, read the room! If they're getting fidgety, speed things up (i.e. cut) or adjust the pace!

-------------------------------------------------------------------

How do you create the answers for these questions?

Resume walkthrough

  • Needs to be chronological
  • Only keep important details that make you look good (i.e. I worked across 7 industries and rose up the ranks twice in the course of that role)
  • Keep a theme of "why consulting"
    • I.e. at each step you need to show that you both got exposure to aspects of consulting AND thrived + enjoyed them
  • Finish with: And that's why I'm here today looking for consulting with your company

Why Consulting

  • You need to summarize what you did before along the theme of consulting aspects you liked and consulting aspects that were missing
  • You then combine those two - i.e. I know I like + am good at x, y, and z which is required for consulting, and I really am excited to get a, b, and c
  • You finish with a "mini" why x company

Why x company

  • Start with a "mini" why consulting
  • Then have 2-3 reasons why x company is your target
  • Every "reason" needs to incorporate 1) That you know they value x 2) That you not only value x but have exhibited it and done it in the past
  • Be very very mindful of what they want you to want

Personal Stories

Step 1 - Categorize the main stories

There are 5-10 "themes" you need to prepare for. i.e. Leadership, teamwork, challenge, etc. Figure out this list and make sure your stories cover this range (PM me and I can provide you with a template for this list)

Step 2 - Create FLEXIBLE stories that cover a range of categories

You need to create 4-6 stories that each cover a range of topics. They need to be powerful stories that can be adjusted and adapted based on the question asked.

One of my "core" or "killer" stories was usable for Initiative, Achievement, Leadership, Challenge, Change of direction, AND Persuasion.

Write down these stories along STAR or similar format...use bullet points

Interview questions notes

Step 3 - Organize these stories so you know which ones can be used for what and PRACTICE

Make sure you cover the whole gambit. Then, practice getting asked a question and thinking of which stories apply. I can assure you, no-one is coming up with full stories in a few seconds. Rather, they have practiced how to adapt an existing story to the question asked.

Interview stories notes

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Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 20, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

The main principle is structuring your answer top-down. In this case the actual length of your answer becomes even mostly irrelevant, since you can always easily react to your interviewers' implicit signals and stop anytime. With that top-down approach he still always gets the full picture (as opposed if you would build your answer bottom-up).

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

Robert

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Vlad
Expert
replied on Sep 20, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

In "Tell me about yourself" you should be talking about your career path till now. You can finish this story with an argument about why consulting is the next logical career step.

I would recommend the following structure:

  1. Start with a 1 sentence summary of your background, why you are relevant for McKinsey and what's your unique selling point
  2. Talk about 3-4 of your roles (may be professional, education, extracurricular), 3 sentences each. The more experienced you are the more you should speak about professional roles. It can be also the distinct roles within the same organization. Typical structure: 1) What was the company 2) What you were responsible for 3) Greatest achievement in that role, that will stay in the memory of the interviewer (E.g. While working at Adidas supply chain I was personally responsible for the delivery of soccer balls to the Worldcup in Africa)
  3. The main reason why consulting (or McKinsey if you were a consultant before) is the next logical career step for you

Why consulting?”, “Why McKinsey” or “Why BCG” questions are used to assess your motivation to be a consultant in general and to work in that particular firm. They will check how you have done your homework and what you’ve learned about them. They also want to make sure that you have a clear intention to work in consulting.

  • The answers to these questions are supposed to be short and take no more than 30 seconds each.
  • For each question, you should provide three bullets points with different reasons.
  • Make sure that you guide the interviewer through your reasoning. Words like “The first reason”, “Moreover”, “Finally” will help you.

When answering “Why consulting” questions, provide three reasons why you want to pursue a career in a consulting firm. A general rule is to find the reasons that are important for you and logically fit everything you have done before (e.g. you want to grow further in financial services and get exposure to these clients). You can always use some personal rationale like your experience of working with consultants on a client side.

"Why this company" is a more specific question and can include the following arguments:

  • The general marketing story the company is trying to sell (e.g. Bain is a small "Family" company)
  • Brand / positioning / market share in the region
  • More clients / projects / expertise in the industry you are interested in
  • More well-known stories of success in your city
  • Your friends working there
  • Your interactions with the other consultants before the interview
  • Your prior experience of working with the Firm on a client side
  • Office traditions
  • Work experience with firm alumni
  • etc

Best!

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Anonymous replied on Oct 31, 2020

Typically 1-2 minutes. And then you'll need to be prepared to answer in-depth questions about your story.

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Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2020
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360° coach(Ex-McKinsey+Certified Coach+Active recruiter)

Hi there,

The answers are expected to be no longer than 2 min. Nevertheless, what really matters is the quality of answers, not the time you spent giving them.

Try to be concise and clear. A good framework might help you structure your story (if it was a question about you) or explanation (i.e. Why consulting?) to tell the important information and not waste time on unnecessary details.

Do you need any further help?

GB

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Anonymous replied on Sep 21, 2020

Hi A,

Your answer should as concise as possible, from 1 minute up to 2 minutes but not longer.

I would recommend using the following structure:

  1. Start with 1 sentence summary of your background.
  2. Bring out the problem.
  3. Talk about 3-4 of your roles (may be professional, educational, extracurricular), 3 sentences each.
  4. Shortly explain how you resolved that.
  5. Tell what you learned from that.

If you feel you could skip some details that are irrelevant to the question, do it.

Good luck!

Best, André

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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