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How to prepare for McKinsey first round interviews?

Anonymous A

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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B replied on 04/05/2018

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



Vlad replied on 04/05/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / 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 (
  • 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!


Késia replied on 04/05/2018

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

Francesco replied on 04/05/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for coaching sessions (1300+) and recommendation rate (100%)

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