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How to prepare for second/final round at Mckinsey?

Case Interview Final Round McKinsey McKinsey PEI
New answer on Jul 16, 2020
9 Answers
2.6 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 01, 2020

Hi all,

Usually in Germany Mckinsey proceeds having a full day of first round Interviews (morning) and then if you have passed those you get the chance of having the second/final round in the afternoon. Due to the current situation they changed their interview process into two parts, one first round with 3 Interview via Videocall and then they will do a second round on a different date with 2 Videointerviews as well. After you have passed these two rounds, you will get the offer or be rejected.

So my question is, how do I prepare properly for this next round?

Thank you so much for your comments. Really appreciate them!

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Sidi
Expert
updated an answer on Jul 01, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

It might be helpful to outline a list of frequent issues that I have observed with candidates, who did NOT get an offer in the final round.

1. PEI

  • Failure to cope with the extreme deep dives and follow-up questions related to their PEI stories --> final round interviewers often go to extreme depth in order to really understand the motives and reasons, WHY you did or said certain things. Many candidates did not understand that the core is not WHAT they did, but WHY they did it! Having no strong answers to these questions was a frequent source of doubt the oftentimes led to a rejection
  • Failure to show empathy in the stories (especially in "Personal Impact") --> Very often, candidates' stories concentrated too much on analysis and how they provided evidence for the superiority of their ideas in order to convince others; however, what the Firm is really looking for are persons who are able to look at a problem through the eyes of others! So a good story of convincing others should show how the candidate tried to understand the REASONS why the other person was against the his/her ideas, and then how he/she addressed these concerns in order to get buy-in.

2. Case

  • Failure to derive structural elements from a clear logic and missing link to the core question (weak conceptual thinking) --> Very often, candidates misunderstand that structuring a case does not just mean to come up with buckets and sub-aspects, but that they have to make clear how they will answer the question that has been asked. This is very important in order to avoid coming across as a "weak conceptual thinker"
  • Failure to take the interviewer along --> candidates frequently made the mistake of expecting interviewers to read their mind, i.e., when doing some analysis, they just went silent, did the calculation, and then presented the result. This is a weak performeance, completely independent of whether the result is correct or not! The interviewer needs to be treated as a client. HEnce, you have to walk him through your logic an align on this logic. Then you perform the calculations while TAKING ALONG the interviewer. This is how you would also ensure buy in from a client (Walking him through the analytical steps instead of just presenting a result), and this is what interviewers are testing for!

3. General

  • Failure to show progress on first round feedback --> if a particular area was singled out as an impovement need after round one, then it is absolutely crucial to get this right for the final round! Interviewers will scrutinize this critically, and only if they see clear progress they will give the candidate the thumbs up.

So building awareness aroind these points will go a very long way towards ensuring success!

I hope this is helpful!

Cheers, Sidi

(edited)

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Anonymous B on May 18, 2022

Hello! Is there the possibility to not pass the first round or in any case you pass to the second round and then just be rejected offered a job at the really end of the process? (McKinsey) Thanks

(edited)

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 01, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

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

Specifically, the main differences you will 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 few interviews 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 PEI 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.

In case you need help with unusual cases please feel free to PM me, I do a specific session on them (eg How would you estimate the effect of the Coronavirus on the economy in China)?

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Anonymous on May 18, 2022

Hello! Is there the possibility to not pass the first round or in any case you pass to the second round and then just be rejected offered a job at the really end of the process? (McKinsey) Thanks

Francesco on May 18, 2022

Hi there, not sure if I understood your question, of course you can be rejected after either a first or final round. Best, Francesco

Anonymous on May 18, 2022

yes was exactly that my wondering. Thanks for your reply!

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 02, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Honestly? The same what you've already been preparing.

Of course, you should be ready for it to be potentially a little more intense, or to dive more into business concepts or be more unstructured, but it's all generally the same!

Additionally, if you received specific feedback on weaknesses, make sure to address/fix these!

Other than that, keep doing what you're doing it's you've passed the earlier rounds as it's obviously working!

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Robert
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 01, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Apart from technicalities who is interviewing you (which are more senior folks, usually on partner/director level for McKinsey), the main idea is simple. Let me give you the 3 major differences to consider.

1) Ensuring that any short-comings from previous rounds are a non-issue

Whatever was not 100% matching the expectation level of McKinsey in the first round interviews will be evaluated in detail again in final round interviews. Final round interviewers are normally also briefed about previous interviews' performance so that they can cover this aspect again. This is to ensure that you are really a good fit from the firm's perspective, and any short-coming from previous interviews was not a systematic issue (makes sense, doesn't it?).

So for whatever was not going 100% perfect in your previous interviews you need to make absolutely sure to improve on that - chances are high you will need to show that in your final rounds.

2) Everything can happen - mostly non-standardized scheme of cases/discussion

Apart from that - well, the firm's owners are interviewing you. So apart from ensuring any shortcoming from previous interviews are ok, they can do pretty much whatever they want and what makes sense to them. And they usually use non-standard cases which you are used to from practice or even first round interviews - sometimes it's more like discussing some challenging projects/aspect they are dealing with at the moment.

So also be prepared that everything can happen and that most likely it won't follow the standardized scheme from previous interviews.

3) Increased importance of personal fit (McKinsey PEI)

In addition, personal fit is usually getting more important in final round interviews than before. Specifically for McKinsey, I wrote an extensive ebook on how to prepare, since basically all candidates get it wrong in the first place, even though it contributes around 50% to your overall evaluation. You can find an excerpt of "The Ultimate McKinsey PEI Prep ebook" directly here on PrepLounge (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/the-secret-mckinsey-pei-cheat-sheet-42).

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

Robert

(edited)

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Anonymous on May 18, 2022

Hello! Is there the possibility to not pass the first round or in any case you pass to the second round and then just be rejected offered a job at the really end of the process? (McKinsey) Thanks

Fayyaz
Expert
replied on Jul 01, 2020
Consultant at BCG | Coaching tailored to personalised needs

Hi Anon,

The final round interviews are usually conducted by partners or senior leaders but are very similar to the first round (case and behavioural). However, sometimes the interviewer can throw something unexpected and it is possible that they don't do a proper case with you.

In one of my final rounds, both the partners didn't do a proper case. Instead they discussed some latest developments in the broader market and kept discussing qualitative issues. One of the partners discussed three companies in three different industries in one interview. In any case, the expectation is that you would be structured and follow a logical approach in your analysis and discussion.

My suggestion would be to have a look at the interviewer's profile and develop some understanding about the industry they usually work in. Also keep yourself abreast with latest developments in relation to major players and be ready to discuss anything in a structured way.

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Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 01, 2020
#1 Career Coach for Aspiring, Practicing & Ex-Consultants|The Only 360° Coach - Ex-Mckinsey, Certified Coach & Recruiter

Hi,

Congratulations for making it to the second/final round. As a final round expert and alum of McKinsey Germany (Frankfurt office), I am happy to give my 2 cents.

You can find a detailed answer at this link:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mckinsey-final-round-what-to-watch-out-for-589

You can also few details on My approach section of profile as well:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/profile.php?id=54457

Feel free to message me in case you need to know anything specific. Happy to help.

Cheers,

GB

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Anonymous on May 18, 2022

Hello! Is there the possibility to not pass the first round or in any case you pass to the second round and then just be rejected offered a job at the really end of the process? (McKinsey) Thanks

Anonymous replied on Jul 02, 2020

​Hi A,

For you final round preparation, concentrate on the following tips:

  • Review in detail your personal fit stories – they will matter more than in the first two rounds. In some finals there is almost exclusively behavioral questions

  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure is extremely important, how to gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc). This is something you can do with peers or with a coach.

  • Prepare cases as you did for the first rounds. More market sizing practice may be useful to think out of the box if you get unusual questions.

In case you need help with unusual cases please feel free to PM me, I do a specific session on them (eg How would you estimate the effect of the Coronavirus on the economy in the Middle East)?

Best,

André

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 02, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

The preparation indeed is the same! Just some details change.

I leave you here a page that can be insightful. It´s from the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB",Difference between first and second roundrecently 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!

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Anonymous replied on Jul 16, 2020

Dear A,

Interview structure is same for all the rounds - FIT questions, case, questions to the inerviewer

The main difference in the final round is that interviewed by partners. So that means they will pay more attention to cases and your personal fit to the company.

My only advice - don't be too much relaxed, don't be nervous and go through/prepare again your fit stories. Because you will be asked them by the partner and checked whether you fit to the company ot not.

Wish you best of luck,

Best,

André

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Anonymous replied on Jul 14, 2020

Dear A,

the structure of the final is the same (fit + case+ your questions); however there is more emphasis on communication and fit to the company.

Specifically, the main difference you will 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 - I am sending your attached FAQ for different companies

  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 personal fit stories – they will matter more than in the first two rounds. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioral questions

  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure is extremely important, how to gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc). This is something you can do with peers or with me.

  • Prepare cases as you did for the first rounds. More market sizing practice may be useful to think out of the box if you get unusual questions.

In case you need help with unusual cases please feel free to PM me, I do a specific session on them (eg How would you estimate the effect of the Coronavirus on the economy in the Middle East)?

Best,

André

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0
Anonymous replied on Jul 02, 2020

Hello,

Sorry for this extremely simplistic answer, but preparation for the 2nd round is the same as for the 1st round !!!

The only difference is that between the two rounds you will probably have a detailed feedback that you must make sure to understand and define the associated action plan.

Do not hesitate to share this feedback when you'll have it.

Best

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