How to be more conversational in framework part of case?

case interview preparation casing McKinsey
New answer on Dec 01, 2023
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 22, 2023

Hi all! I passed my first round interview at McKinsey and am preparing for the second round. One of the biggest feedbacks my first round interviewer gave me was to be more conversational when presenting the initial framework.

What I did in the first interview:

  • Restate the case to make sure the facts are correct
  • Wait for first question from interviewer (prompting me to create a framework)
  • Ask further questions
  • Ask for 2 minutes to create framework
  • Present framework

It seems like my interviewer thought that I took too long in writing the framework and wished that I had come up with Level 1 buckets in a minute and going into Level 2 with the interviewer (as opposed to using the whole 2 minutes writing L1, L2, L3).

My question is, how would that play out? I think it would be hard to come up with L2 analyses on the fly. How can I incorporate the interviewer in my answers?

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Ian
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replied on Dec 01, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Honestly, this is hard to type out. I highly highly recommend coaching to help you out here.

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Cristian
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replied on Aug 22, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there!

First of all, the fact that you passed the first round is amazing. 

And it's even better that you got specific feedback on what you can improve. 

Being told to be more ‘conversational’ usually has to do not with how much time you took, but how you engaged (or didn't) with the interviewer. 

At the end of the day, the case is meant to simulate a conversation with the client. It should be a back and forth. You should be showing empathy, you should be inviting the listener to ask questions. 

If it's an efficient dumping of content from one side of the interaction to the other then it's not what you're looking for.

A few things that might help:

  • Check in more often with the interviewer to see if they are following
  • Make more pauses during the speech to allow them to jump in and ask questions
  • Ask them whether they are particularly interested in any area before diving deeper into the second or third level of the structure

Best,
Cristian

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Practicing for interviews? Check out my latest case based on a first-round MBB interview >>> SoyTechnologies  

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Alonso
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updated an answer on Aug 22, 2023
MBB Coach|Former McKinsey Interviewer ✅|>95% success rate|Personalized interview prep | Integrative & Expert Tracks

This happens sometimes when the interviewer has doubts about the candidate going in right path, this sometimes has something to do with the candidate behavior and sometimes don't (as it is very early in the case) - the interviewer may have more of a impatient/control profile. 

Some Insider Insights here: The interviewer has a limited amount of time to evaluate you as a candidate in multiple dimensions, letting you run 2 mins by yourself and having the risk you might come up with a complete wrong framework is real (e.g. forcing a framework, understanding wrong the objectives of the client in the case, etc)

So what can you do about it ?

1. Always ask clarifying questions, focused on the context of the client and most importantly on the objectives (e.g. what problem are we trying to solve, what is the time horizon, how does success look like (KPI's to improve)) - this is an easy one and seems you've already done it

→ This shows proactivity and sends a clear message that you are on top of things (you are eager to solve the problem for your client in the most effective and efficient way)

2. Give an overview of first layer of the framework to your interviewer before taking the 2 minutes (e.g. in a public education case, looking for which factors you would analyze to improve it in X country … you can say “before taking a couple minutes to structure my thoughts, let me share with you the overall approach i'm thinking of, ok ? … i will analyze this main categories: educators (teachers), learners (students) & supporters (family), schools, government and methodology) … sounds good ? … great, give me a couple minutes to deep dive into those and comeback to you”

→ This shows confidence, great communication skills and empathy with the interviewer - including them on your plan before investing time on it (this is relevant in the day to day of a consultant, with your manager, with the partner, with the client)

* If the interviewer says it doesn't want this preliminary first layer, thats ok, no problem, you still showed proactivity and desire to communicate/align on work !

Of course to execute on (2), giving the first layer of your framework immediately it takes practice, first prioritize quality in your frameworks and then speed. 

(edited)

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Andi
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replied on Aug 28, 2023
BCG 1st & Final Round interviewer | Personalized prep with >95% success rate | 7yrs coaching | #1 for Experienced Hires

Hi there

congrats to passing R1 - adding a few thoughts on top of what other coaches already mentioned. 

  • Contextualize the wording: don't throw in random generic “buckets” but always link the structure to the overall outcome, the industry you're in (e.g. don't just call it price x volume → be more tailored) and the specific client context. This will make your comms more natural and fit for purpose
  • Build rapport: make sure your build engagement (a dialogue) with the interviewer. Use him/her to gather information, validate assumptions, bounce your ideas and align on the process at key junctures (e.g. summary, structure alignment, after completing branch) to make sure you're on track. The best case performers do this particularly well so that a case becomes a structured way of CO-solving a problem, where you lead the process thoughout but the interviewer is being fully engaged along the way. A case is not an exam where you are expected to “show off”

Hope this helps. All the best for your final round meanwhile!

Regards, Andi

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Sofia
Expert
replied on Aug 27, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

It sounds like your process is very clear and methodical! Being “conversational” to me sounds more about the presentation than about the time you took to write down the framework or level of bucketing. If this sounds right, I would work on trying to engage with the interviewer more: more open body language, pause between buckets so that they can jump in if they want. Treat it more like a conversation than you reciting an answer, if that makes sense.

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Pedro
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replied on Aug 22, 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing Expert | 30% discount in Feb & March

Honestly, I feel you know what you have to do… and to start doing it you just have to practice.

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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