How to prepare for McKinsey first round interviews?

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New answer on Jun 05, 2020
13 Answers
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Anonymous B asked on Apr 05, 2018

I would like to know how is the best way to prepare for the first round interviews and if you have any suggestions about a study plan and about what I should focus more ( for example some case types or industries ) . Additionally , do you have any advice about how to get the first mock interviews here at prep lounge ? Because since I haven't done any yet and I am very insecure about not knowing what to do exactly in the first mock interviews .

thank you very much!

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Originally answered question:

McKinsey Case Interview Experience

Anonymous D replied on May 23, 2016

Hi,

One of my friends had the following experience in McKinsey India a few months ago (copy pasting from the email she sent me):

Round 1 - Case Interview:

The client is a thermal power plant located in India, and is concerned with about coal procurement expenses. The client has no other plants or business interests. Explore this issue and suggest some methods to resolve any issues that you encounter.

Round 2 - Case Interview & Fit questions:

A well-known local retail bank in the Middle East is losing market share in a growing market. Its technology and service levels are as good as any of its foreign competitors. The CEO wants to know why this is happening and what else they can do.

Fit questions:

1. Tell us something about yourself.

2. Why consulting? You have work experience in logistics and supply chain - why not continue more in that direction?

3. Why McKinsey?

Round 3 - Case Interview (????)

How should India ensure that it wins the field hockey world cup in 2018?

(This was the toughest one for me and I was really confused, but managed to say something. Not sure how it went, but the first two rounds were good and so I got the offer!)

What do you think? How would you approach these cases? I am particularly curious about the third case. @Experts - your opinions are welcome!

Sorry for going anonymous, but I just want to ensure that my friend's identity is not compromised. :)

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10
B
Expert
replied on Apr 05, 2018
NOT AVAILABLE

Hey anonymous,

This is the study plan I often suggest to all the candidates I've been coaching (the timings for each stage depends on how long do you have between now and your interviews, which should be at least 1/2 months to be optimally ready):

- start with a theoretical study (Victor Cheng, Case in Points, other materials), that allow you to understand the basics of what a case study is, how is structured, what's expected from the candidate, etc. Besides, you should learn what are the most common types of cases and how to approach them (framework wise); don't memorize frameworks though

- do a couple of a practice sessions with Peers just to apply the concepts you've learned

- practice a case with a seasoned consutant (either a friend of yours at a consulting firm, or reach out to someone there; or alternatively get an expert in here); he/she will give you really valuable and actionable feedback on what you need to improve and how

- keep the loop

Hope this can help clarifying your queries

Best

Bruno

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8
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 05, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Several things that you should be doing on a regular basis:

1) Every 10 cases revisit the previous cases and think how you would structure them differently now having the new experience and having solved the new types of cases

2) Build business judgment. Read about different industries and functions. I strongly recommend practice drawing structures for each industry - profitability, value chain, etc . Then I will switch to getting functional knowledge and key concepts in Marketing (Brand and trade marketing tools, etc), Supply chain (Ops metrics like cycle time and throughput time, distribution and delivery specifics, etc), Finance (Basic Accounting and Valuation). Good sources might be:

  • Books - one good book about airlines with numbers and industry analysis can give you all needed industry knowledge
  • Company reports, equity reports, etc - usually have a good overview of company and industries.One of the best sources to prepare
  • HBS cases - quite useful, but not sure if lot's of them available publically. Probably worth buying

Again, every 10 cases revisit the previous cases and think how you would structure them differently now having the new knowledge

3) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

4) Read Viktor Cheng Book and listen to LOMS. I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

Best!

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 05, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

a good preparation for a consulting interview will likely move through the following areas:

  1. General understanding of the process: get a general idea on what a consulting interview is about
    • Resources: Case in Point, Victor Cheng free videos, PrepLounge Resources section
  2. Learning structures and main fit questions
    • Resources: Victor Cheng Look Over My Shoulder, MBA Handbooks, PrepLounge Resources section, Expert sessions
  3. Practicing with live partners to apply knowledge and improve communication
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews, friends preparing for consulting.
  4. Final review to eliminate the last mistakes
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews (experienced users), friends working in consulting, Experts sessions

You should be aware that just reading Case in Point and doing Victor Cheng LOMS won’t be sufficient as preparation. This material is ok to get an understanding of the process, but not to get to the advanced level to get an offer. You should definitely complement it with live preparation.

During the preparation, you should focus on the usual steps for case interviews, working on:

  1. Fit questions (eg Why do you want to work for McKinsey?)
  2. Cases (eg Our client is a commercial bank losing money, how would you increase profits?)
  3. Your questions at the end for the interviewer.

The most common business case types differ according to the company and country but are generally related to profitability, M&A, market entry and operations. Besides business cases, you should also prepare market sizing. The most common types of industries also depend on the country/company but are generally related to banking, industrial goods and consumer goods.

As for the first mock interview, my recommendation would be:

  • Read first at least one book on consulting prep
  • Try to act as in the interviewer – interviewee dialogue you read in the case
  • You are likely to perform badly in the first live interview. That’s totally ok – you are doing it exactly to get started. Write down all the relevant feedback and try to include in your approach. Then move to schedule the next interview

Best,

Francesco

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Késia replied on Apr 05, 2018
First round coming at Mck: Looking for a partner to practice cases. Native tongue is french but have to practice in english

I think you have a good plan from Bruno but just something that I would like to add:
Please don't forget to prepare PIE it's as important as the cases :)
Take time to think about the structure, what is the right story and why did you choose this story
Best for your interview

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5
Egor
Expert
replied on Aug 29, 2018
Collected McKinsey & BCG offers/ Ex-McKinsey consultant/Harvard/WBS/MSU

Hi,

My list of DO's is the following

  • Structure everything you speak about
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Give rationale for every part of the structure e.g. I want to deep dive into competitors because of 2 reasons
  • Use top-down communication during the fit-part of the interview
  • Wrire neat notes that are easy-to-read and follow
  • Speak always, do not be silent if you do not know what to tell
  • Synthetize, what next steps are, what so-what's
  • Smile
  • Be confident
  • Make sure interviewer follows you by involving into discussion

For DON'Ts I will mention red flags:

  • Be silent
  • Argue with the interviewer

I hope that was helpful.

Kind regards,

Egor Iakovlev

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Originally answered question:

Mckinsey Case Interview for an Associate role

Anonymous F replied on Jun 19, 2017

Hi Javier,

I believe you are able to move your interview date to a different day and time wihtout penalty, which I recommend you do. It goes without saying that you should confirm that with your recruiter.

For preparation, I recommend 3 three things:

1) Read Case Interview Secrets from Victor Cheng. I would almost go as far as to say: you have almost chance in getting through the day without it.

2) Leverage the boot camp from PrepLouge to get up to speed on the basics

3) Do as many meetings with fellow interviewees as possible (thrugh the PrepLounge meeting board) and possible think about investing in a coaching session (Francesco is amazing, e.g.).

Finally, to help you put my recommendation into perspective, I am currently preparing for an number of final round interviews. I have done a tone of reading and talked to people and coaches and arrived at the conclusion that without preparation it's exceptionally difficult to pass. It's very transparent on what the consultancies expect from you so everybody has a fair chance to convince the interviewers. While that is genereally good, it means that most interviewees have practiced a lot and perform well.

Good luck

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3
Originally answered question:

McKinsey Case Interview

Anonymous E replied on Feb 22, 2017

Well, as you hopefully know already, McKinsey case interviews are interviewer led. That means interviewers lead and go through a list of questions they will ask you about the case, controlling the pace of the interview (so they might interrupt you for example and go to the next question on the list). That is the biggest difference I would say, as most other consulting firms do candidate led cases. In my experience, McKinsey interviews are a bit tougher because the interviewer will challenge you more, but I think this is also due to the first point I mentioned. The difficult part about this is not to get too passive even though you are not leading the case. So better elaborate and get interrupted than creating moments of silence. But don't just blab on and on without saying anything insightful.

You just asked for the case interview, but FYI the PEI part of the interview is also quite unique at McK. They will ask you questions regarding one topic only, either personal impact, leadership or entrepreneurial drive. Don’t forget to prepare for this.

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Anonymous replied on Jun 05, 2020

Dear A,

I would recommend you the following algorithm:

1. Start your preparation with reading Case In Point by Cosentino for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is.

2. Start learning and practicing the cases. Some you can find in Case Library and practice it with your partner or experience coach.

3. Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS

Once you feel you are not improving anymore, I would recommend you to take an expert coach for structured feedback and polishing your own performance.

Hope this helps,

Best,

André

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

For the FIT prep part:

On top of the insights already shared in the post, 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.

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

Hope you find it useful!

Best,

Clara

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Originally answered question:

Interview Tips

Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
I strongly recommend to spend last effort on crafting impactful stories about your CV and on answering in a very structured to the questions "why consulting?" and "why McK".

Best,
Antonello

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