How to approach political/out of the box questions esp. for McKinsey

Actively preparing for interviews with McKinsey creativity Out of the box Politics Structure
Edited on Feb 02, 2021
8 Answers
810 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 30, 2021

Hello everyone,

when I was practicing the McKinsey online Cases, I realized that for the political cases like e.g. improving education or providing financial services for poor regions, in my structure I missed some major important buckets as they are very different to the business ones most common on PrepLounge. Is there any kind of framework that summarizes the main parts that might need to be looked at when approaching such a case? So like the business situation framework just for politics?

Would be very grateful for some help! Thanks :)

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

You're approaching this wrong...

Let me explain why. You're looking for a framework for x scenario and y scenaio. Unfortunately, 1 million scenarios exist. Yes, market entry, profitability, etc. all exist, but there are infinite variations and possibilities with casing.

As such, you need to focus on solving the problem. Forget about frameworks and buckets.

Your case is a real-life project. As such, your framework is your project plan.

Your framework needs to show good critical thinking ability, good structure, and a clear approach to solving the problem.

Don't quite get it? Please reach out. This is one of the #1 mindset shifts I specialize in, and is incredibly important for nailing out of the box questions (i.e. 50% of all real-life case types)

Was this answer helpful?
Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Fully agree with Ian and Ken here.

Frameworks were applicable in the 2000 years, the era of Victor Cheng and Case in Point. McK has long caught up on this and the cases you will get during the interviews are tailored in a way to test your creativity and ability to generate insights, not remember specific frameworks.

In fact, it will hurt you when you try to use a framework on a case that calls for a completely different approach. Also, it gives a false sense of security that will translate to stress once you figure out how your approach won't work during the real interview - I have seen this so many times...

Your goal should be to learn how to build issue trees no matter the context, industry, or function of the case. I have a system for that, especially for McKinsey cases, that teaches you exactly this approach + a ton of exercises I give my coachees to progress their ability to come up with deep, broad, and insightful frameworks for each case individually.

Happy to help if needed!

Cheers,

Florian

Was this answer helpful?
Ken
Expert
replied on Jan 31, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

I completely agree with Ian. Taking a framework-driven approach will only get you so far. At McKinsey this is called "problem solving by first principles". Even in a traditional profitability case, interviewers are looking for signs of your actual critical thinking which is often is apparent in the levels of detail after one has explained the obvious profitability tree (e.g., fixed vs. variable cost etc.).

In the context of a case interview, one small tip is to ask thoughtful clarification questions to the interviewer, especially if you have no idea. A common mistake I see is candiates having a checklist of 'random' clarification questions after the case intro when this is the time to actually test some of your hypotheses and narrow down the solution space so that you are focusing your structure and the subsequent depth on the most relevant issues.

Was this answer helpful?
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I am helping with such cases. In my profile, you can find a syllabus. I usually give a homework of 10 non-conventional cases covering almost all topics and then we go through these cases during a session. Feel free to reach out.

Best

Was this answer helpful?
Henning
Expert
replied on Jan 31, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

The key to solve uncommon cases is to not have another specialized framework in your toolbox, but to practice to develop taylored frameworks for every case. This ensures that no case can ever surprise you by not working with any of the standard frameworks you might have memorized.

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

The way to succeed at those would be precisely not thinking in traditional frameworks, but focusing on the problem itself. And tons of practice!

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Totally agree with Ian and Ken.

Was this answer helpful?
Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 02, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies
Was this answer helpful?
Ian gave the best answer

Ian

Content Creator
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
819
Meetings
54,290
Q&A Upvotes
158
Awards
5.0
99 Reviews