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How should one handel streesing during final round of interviews?

Hi all,

I have been moved to Mckinsey's Final round of interviews and I am really excited to go through them.

I wanted to ask you guys a few questions:

1. How is the final round different from the second one?

2. I read that partners usually will pressure you (e.g., Are you sure about your answer?) so what do you think is a good way to showcase confidence, and should I double-check my work when he does so?

3. Generally how to approach a more stressful interview when any pressure is put?

Thank you.

Hi all,

I have been moved to Mckinsey's Final round of interviews and I am really excited to go through them.

I wanted to ask you guys a few questions:

1. How is the final round different from the second one?

2. I read that partners usually will pressure you (e.g., Are you sure about your answer?) so what do you think is a good way to showcase confidence, and should I double-check my work when he does so?

3. Generally how to approach a more stressful interview when any pressure is put?

Thank you.

5 answers

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Hi there,

Well done on landing the final round. I replied below to your questions.

1. How is the final round different from the second one?

The structure of the rounds is the same (fit + case+ your questions); however in finals there is usually more emphasis on communication and fit.

Specifically, the main differences you may find in a final round with partners is that at that stage they:

  1. Spend more time on fit questions and your alignment with the company
  2. Check more closely your communication (eg how you react to challenging questions)
  3. May not have a “proper” structured case to present – during one of my MBB finals I had one interview which was made by two market sizing questions and a brainteaser, without any business case. That's because during the final they know you can structure and crack a case (you passed 1 or 2 rounds already) and are more interested in your logic, personality and fit with the company

So in order to prepare I would concentrate on:

  • Review in detail your fit stories – they will matter more than in the first round. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioral questions
  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure, how to gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc). This is something you can do almost exclusively in interviews with peers.
  • Prepare cases as you did for the first round. More market sizing practice may be useful to think outside the box if you get unusual questions.

2. I read that partners usually will pressure you (e.g., Are you sure about your answer?) so what do you think is a good way to showcase confidence, and should I double-check my work when he does so?

3. Generally how to approach a more stressful interview when any pressure is put?

First of all, you may want to work on your body language. 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 his/her eyes. But you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions such as “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. You can also use icebreakers to gain time before answering a question. Keeping silence creates less connection and may be considered 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. This confidence comes only with practice.

Finally, you may want to exercise with people that put you in a situation of pressure.

Best,
Francesco

Hi there,

Well done on landing the final round. I replied below to your questions.

1. How is the final round different from the second one?

The structure of the rounds is the same (fit + case+ your questions); however in finals there is usually more emphasis on communication and fit.

Specifically, the main differences you may find in a final round with partners is that at that stage they:

  1. Spend more time on fit questions and your alignment with the company
  2. Check more closely your communication (eg how you react to challenging questions)
  3. May not have a “proper” structured case to present – during one of my MBB finals I had one interview which was made by two market sizing questions and a brainteaser, without any business case. That's because during the final they know you can structure and crack a case (you passed 1 or 2 rounds already) and are more interested in your logic, personality and fit with the company

So in order to prepare I would concentrate on:

  • Review in detail your fit stories – they will matter more than in the first round. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioral questions
  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure, how to gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc). This is something you can do almost exclusively in interviews with peers.
  • Prepare cases as you did for the first round. More market sizing practice may be useful to think outside the box if you get unusual questions.

2. I read that partners usually will pressure you (e.g., Are you sure about your answer?) so what do you think is a good way to showcase confidence, and should I double-check my work when he does so?

3. Generally how to approach a more stressful interview when any pressure is put?

First of all, you may want to work on your body language. 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 his/her eyes. But you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions such as “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. You can also use icebreakers to gain time before answering a question. Keeping silence creates less connection and may be considered 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. This confidence comes only with practice.

Finally, you may want to exercise with people that put you in a situation of pressure.

Best,
Francesco

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WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE FINAL ROUND

More of the same - In general, you should expect it to be 90% the same

Focus on your initial weaknesses - you can expect them to really hone in on the areas you displayed weakness in the first round. Reflect on where you were less strong (you should know) as well as ask them if they have feedback for you. Then, make sure you really have those weaknesses resolved for your final round!

More detailed - The intervieweer might dive into more detail on certain topics

Explain your thinking - You might be asked to explain your thinking a bit more, or defend your viewpoint

Brainstorming - You may be asked to brainstorm more. The case might feel a bit more jumpy as the more senior interviewer goes with the flow a bit more and tests what he/she feels they need to text

HOW TO HANDLE INTERVIEW ANXIETY / STRESS

1) Practice, practice, practice - just like playing an instrument, practice until it becomes second nature...then when you perform in front of an audience, muscle memory takes over from stage fright!

2) Practice with people who make you nervous - Don't keep casing yourself or casing with other PrepLoungers! You need to feel as nervous when practicing as you will in the real thing. To do so, you can do any (or all) of the following:

  • Ask for a buddy/case partner from target firms to which you're applying
  • Ask anyone you have a relationship with at your target firms to give you a practice case
  • Ask your school's career office to give you a case
  • Ask a coach to give you a case (and ask them to be tough/strict/non-friendly)
  • Still ask PrepLoungers to case you, but ask them to jump straight into it without conversation beforehand (i.e. simulate the real thing)
  • Change your enviroment - instead of casing at home, go to a library or office room. Changing the scenery may trigger you to be less relaxed

3) Practice with the unknown - ask people to give you "weird" cases. Ask people to throw everything they have at you (curveballs, confusing statements, etc.)...you'll get comfortable with tripping up (and recovering)

4) Practice fast math - You said you get nervous here...well, practice it until it's the easiest thing you've ever done! How? Use the following:

  • Online "Drills": https://www.jetpunk.com/quizzes/fast-math-multiplication-quiz
  • Math sheets (print these and do them on paper): https://www.math-drills.com/
  • https://www.rocketblocks.me/

There are also some excellent prior Q&As that I think you'll find useful (some old, but all still relevant):

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/be-less-hesitant-5224

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/whats-your-experience-with-tactical-stress-situations-during-the-interview-547

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/recovering-from-mistakes-in-interviews-218

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/coffee-chat-advice-super-nervous-3905

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-handle-nervousness-and-too-fasttoo-much-speaking-during-personal-fit-questions-556

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE FINAL ROUND

More of the same - In general, you should expect it to be 90% the same

Focus on your initial weaknesses - you can expect them to really hone in on the areas you displayed weakness in the first round. Reflect on where you were less strong (you should know) as well as ask them if they have feedback for you. Then, make sure you really have those weaknesses resolved for your final round!

More detailed - The intervieweer might dive into more detail on certain topics

Explain your thinking - You might be asked to explain your thinking a bit more, or defend your viewpoint

Brainstorming - You may be asked to brainstorm more. The case might feel a bit more jumpy as the more senior interviewer goes with the flow a bit more and tests what he/she feels they need to text

HOW TO HANDLE INTERVIEW ANXIETY / STRESS

1) Practice, practice, practice - just like playing an instrument, practice until it becomes second nature...then when you perform in front of an audience, muscle memory takes over from stage fright!

2) Practice with people who make you nervous - Don't keep casing yourself or casing with other PrepLoungers! You need to feel as nervous when practicing as you will in the real thing. To do so, you can do any (or all) of the following:

  • Ask for a buddy/case partner from target firms to which you're applying
  • Ask anyone you have a relationship with at your target firms to give you a practice case
  • Ask your school's career office to give you a case
  • Ask a coach to give you a case (and ask them to be tough/strict/non-friendly)
  • Still ask PrepLoungers to case you, but ask them to jump straight into it without conversation beforehand (i.e. simulate the real thing)
  • Change your enviroment - instead of casing at home, go to a library or office room. Changing the scenery may trigger you to be less relaxed

3) Practice with the unknown - ask people to give you "weird" cases. Ask people to throw everything they have at you (curveballs, confusing statements, etc.)...you'll get comfortable with tripping up (and recovering)

4) Practice fast math - You said you get nervous here...well, practice it until it's the easiest thing you've ever done! How? Use the following:

  • Online "Drills": https://www.jetpunk.com/quizzes/fast-math-multiplication-quiz
  • Math sheets (print these and do them on paper): https://www.math-drills.com/
  • https://www.rocketblocks.me/

There are also some excellent prior Q&As that I think you'll find useful (some old, but all still relevant):

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/be-less-hesitant-5224

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/whats-your-experience-with-tactical-stress-situations-during-the-interview-547

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/recovering-from-mistakes-in-interviews-218

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/coffee-chat-advice-super-nervous-3905

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-handle-nervousness-and-too-fasttoo-much-speaking-during-personal-fit-questions-556

(edited)

Dear A,

1. Final round is very similar to its structure to the second one - fit+case+ questions to the interviewer. Final round you will be having with partners, so you will be paid more attention to your personal integration to the company, and cases might be more difficult.

2. Actually McKinsey consultance are looking for a candidates who can really prove themselves and stay behind there opinions up to the very end even under pressure and in difficult situations. Therefor during the consulting interview they simulate these situations and try to put you under pressure by all means with pushing you to give you the best answers, pressurizing your in terms of time, also the can always interrupt you and not let you say, continuosly asking on "what else can you say on this?", 'what's other possibilities? options? alternatives" unless you aplly all your creativity.

To sum up, McKinsey interviewers are playing arrogant the people during the nterviews, because they are facing these kind of clients in the real life, so please, don't take it personal, but you need to be vry well prepared for this kind of interviews.

3. Here I would recommend you to keep yourself cold and sober, and practice more, even with a coach to pump this skill for your final round.

I have already placed several mentees with McKinsey all around the world, if you need any further insights, drop me a line.

Best,

André

Dear A,

1. Final round is very similar to its structure to the second one - fit+case+ questions to the interviewer. Final round you will be having with partners, so you will be paid more attention to your personal integration to the company, and cases might be more difficult.

2. Actually McKinsey consultance are looking for a candidates who can really prove themselves and stay behind there opinions up to the very end even under pressure and in difficult situations. Therefor during the consulting interview they simulate these situations and try to put you under pressure by all means with pushing you to give you the best answers, pressurizing your in terms of time, also the can always interrupt you and not let you say, continuosly asking on "what else can you say on this?", 'what's other possibilities? options? alternatives" unless you aplly all your creativity.

To sum up, McKinsey interviewers are playing arrogant the people during the nterviews, because they are facing these kind of clients in the real life, so please, don't take it personal, but you need to be vry well prepared for this kind of interviews.

3. Here I would recommend you to keep yourself cold and sober, and practice more, even with a coach to pump this skill for your final round.

I have already placed several mentees with McKinsey all around the world, if you need any further insights, drop me a line.

Best,

André

Book a coaching with Clara

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Hello!

Congrats for moving to final round!

As it has been outlined, its very similar, but :

  • Cases you can expect are more "free riding" - less organized than the ones your found in the 1st round or most prep pages
  • Stronger emphasis in the FIT part, as outlined before by other coaches.

If you are interested in deepening your knowledge and preparation on the FIT part, 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.

Furthermore, you can find 3 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

- Intro and CV questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/introduction-and-cv-questions-fit-interview-preparation-200

- Motivational questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/motivational-questions-fit-interview-preparation-201

- Behavioural questions (ENTREPRENEURIAL DRIVE) >https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/behavioral-questions-entrepreneurial-drive-fit-interview-preparation-211

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

Hello!

Congrats for moving to final round!

As it has been outlined, its very similar, but :

  • Cases you can expect are more "free riding" - less organized than the ones your found in the 1st round or most prep pages
  • Stronger emphasis in the FIT part, as outlined before by other coaches.

If you are interested in deepening your knowledge and preparation on the FIT part, 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.

Furthermore, you can find 3 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

- Intro and CV questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/introduction-and-cv-questions-fit-interview-preparation-200

- Motivational questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/motivational-questions-fit-interview-preparation-201

- Behavioural questions (ENTREPRENEURIAL DRIVE) >https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/behavioral-questions-entrepreneurial-drive-fit-interview-preparation-211

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

Book a coaching with Robert

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Hi Rami,

First of all congratulations to reach final round interviews!

  1. While first round interviews are highly standardized especially at McKinsey, in second-round interviewers bascially everything can happen. The main idea of second/final round interviews is to ensure your performance in those areas in which you did not convince McKinsey in the first round interviews. This can be either the case interview or the McKinsey PEI, or both. Whatever it is, your weak points from first round interviews are where you can expect a strong focus in the second/final round interviews.
  2. What you describe usually ties back to not appropriate communication of your logic and rationale behind. Altogether I would not say that partners put more pressure on candidates.
  3. It's clear that McKinsey final rounds are a big opportunity and there is a lot of pressure on your shoulders. At the same time, being overly stressed hurts your performance and is counter-productive. Think about the following: a) You don't have a McKinsey offer yet - so you only have an upside and can get one, if not nothing worse than today. b) In the worst case you would have met a bunch of interesting and intelligent people and having learned a lot about business and structuring business issues during your prep - also not a bad skill for more or less any job in future. c) Brand value of McKinsey is high, but it's not the only interesting and for many not even the best employer. Also many other good options around.

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

Robert

Hi Rami,

First of all congratulations to reach final round interviews!

  1. While first round interviews are highly standardized especially at McKinsey, in second-round interviewers bascially everything can happen. The main idea of second/final round interviews is to ensure your performance in those areas in which you did not convince McKinsey in the first round interviews. This can be either the case interview or the McKinsey PEI, or both. Whatever it is, your weak points from first round interviews are where you can expect a strong focus in the second/final round interviews.
  2. What you describe usually ties back to not appropriate communication of your logic and rationale behind. Altogether I would not say that partners put more pressure on candidates.
  3. It's clear that McKinsey final rounds are a big opportunity and there is a lot of pressure on your shoulders. At the same time, being overly stressed hurts your performance and is counter-productive. Think about the following: a) You don't have a McKinsey offer yet - so you only have an upside and can get one, if not nothing worse than today. b) In the worst case you would have met a bunch of interesting and intelligent people and having learned a lot about business and structuring business issues during your prep - also not a bad skill for more or less any job in future. c) Brand value of McKinsey is high, but it's not the only interesting and for many not even the best employer. Also many other good options around.

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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