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5

How to prepare McKinsey FIT interview

Dear community,

Some months ago I had the interview with McKinsey in Madrid and I was told that I nearly cracked the case, that I was much more creative than what they are used to see, nevertheless that I couldn't pass to the second round of interview due to my poor performance in the fit part.

During the interview I felt that the interviewer was getting bored and that I completely lost the plot after 10 mins talking about what I did, it was kind of a nightmare even for me, so I wouldn't like to imagine what the interviewer felt.

In any case, while I was having the feedback call, I was offered to enter in the "Keep in touch" program and have already been invited for an interview in September, that's why I am willing to get any insights about which parts should I stress most in the 3 different questions (Entrepreneurial drive, Leadership and Personal Impact) and also if there is any kind of structure I should follow when doing it.

I would appreciate if you have any kind of advice.

By the way, I have also been invited for a BCG Interview in early september, should I assume that the Fit part will be kind of similar or should I prepare different stories or approaches to crack it?

Dear community,

Some months ago I had the interview with McKinsey in Madrid and I was told that I nearly cracked the case, that I was much more creative than what they are used to see, nevertheless that I couldn't pass to the second round of interview due to my poor performance in the fit part.

During the interview I felt that the interviewer was getting bored and that I completely lost the plot after 10 mins talking about what I did, it was kind of a nightmare even for me, so I wouldn't like to imagine what the interviewer felt.

In any case, while I was having the feedback call, I was offered to enter in the "Keep in touch" program and have already been invited for an interview in September, that's why I am willing to get any insights about which parts should I stress most in the 3 different questions (Entrepreneurial drive, Leadership and Personal Impact) and also if there is any kind of structure I should follow when doing it.

I would appreciate if you have any kind of advice.

By the way, I have also been invited for a BCG Interview in early september, should I assume that the Fit part will be kind of similar or should I prepare different stories or approaches to crack it?

Just curious, what was the timeline between whwen you were rejected the first time and when you got the next interview offer? I am also going to enter into the keep in touch program, and am interested to know how long I will have to wait before being able to interview again. — Anonymous B on Oct 13, 2020

5 answers

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Best Answer

Hi there,

It is great to hear that you did a great job for the case part. It is relatively much more difficult in my opinion. Having said that, the fit part is very important and require ell preparation. I recommend you to be ready for the following questions. Bolded ones are priority. I am happy to offer you free 10 min call to explain how you can prepare for those questions.

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why MBA at that point of career?
  3. Why Your school?
  4. Why consulting
  5. Why Our Company?
  6. What would you be doing as a consultant?
  7. What is the most important consulting skill?
  8. When did you demonstrate it?
  9. When was the time when you demonstrated team skills or team work?
  10. What was the most important thing you learnt in your earlier job? What skills did you gain in your earlier job which would prepare you for consulting?
  11. When did you have to work with data? How are your data analysis skills?
  12. Why should we hire you?
  13. Have demonstrated all 4 skills that you look for (use examples above)
  14. What is the most important thing I should know about you that I cannot learn from your resume?
  15. How would a friend or professor / colleague who knows you well describe you?
  16. What serves as your biggest motivation? What are the key metrics for measuring success?
  17. When did you receive constructive feedback?
  18. What are your weaknesses?
  19. Which boss / mentor has had a clear influence on you? What do you admire about your previous boss?
  20. Follow-up: Constructive feedback –
  21. How do you work in a pressure situation / short on time / short on resources
  22. What has been your biggest achievement?
  23. Link this answer to leadership / problem solving
  24. Tell me about a leadership experience
  25. Tell me about a time when you had to analyse data
  26. Tell me about a time when you had to analyse financial information
  27. Tell me about a time when you had to face a challenge
  28. Tell me about a time you have failed
  29. What are your short term and long term goals?
  30. Tell me about a time when you set a goal for yourself and what steps you take to achieve the goal?
  31. Describe a situation when you were unable to reach a goal?
  32. Tell me about a time when you overcame failure?
  33. Have you ever had to change your priorities to meet another person’s expectations?
  34. Tell me about the time you had to compromise
  35. Tell me about a time when you didn’t meet a deadline
  36. Tell me about a time when you had to multi task
  37. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a project schedule because you did not have enough resources
  38. Describe a situation in which you used different communication styles to influence stakeholders with differing perspectives 
  39. Tell me about a time when you had to be assertive to get your point across
  40. Difficult situation that required careful communication (Crisis Management)
  41. Describe most rewarding customer experience
  42. Tell me about a time when you had to accept an unreasonable request from a client
  43. Dealt with a customer that tested your patience
  44. Tell me about a time you took a difficult decision and had to explain it to others / Tell me about a time you took an unpopular decision
  45. Tell me about a time you took a quick decision
  46. Tell me about a time when you identified a problem and then solved it
  47. Tell me about a time when you built a rapport with client / colleague
  48. Tell me about a time you resolved a conflict in a team
  49. Have you led a team where different members of the team do not work well together? How did you deal with this situation
  50. Describe a time you gave constructive criticism to someone
  51. Tell me how did you determine priorities / Handling multiple deadlines at the same time? How did you handle the situation
  52. How did you deal with ethical dilemmas?
  53. Team experience that you found rewarding / Tell me about you had to work in a team to accomplish your goal
  54. Team experience that you found disappointing
  55. Describe a situation when you were a member (not leader) of a team and conflict arose. What did you do?
  56. Team member not pulling his weight. What did you do?
  57. What is important in a job environment?
  58. Why do you think you can put up with long hours?
  59. Tell me about your college experience
  60. What else do you do at school apart from studies?
  61. How do you manage stress in your life?
  62. Favorite Class and grade you got in it
  63. What do you read?
  64. Fun fact
  65. What do you hate the most?
  66. Favorite website?
  67. Tell me full names of people who interviewed you before
  68. Do you have any questions?

Cheers

Serhat

Hi there,

It is great to hear that you did a great job for the case part. It is relatively much more difficult in my opinion. Having said that, the fit part is very important and require ell preparation. I recommend you to be ready for the following questions. Bolded ones are priority. I am happy to offer you free 10 min call to explain how you can prepare for those questions.

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why MBA at that point of career?
  3. Why Your school?
  4. Why consulting
  5. Why Our Company?
  6. What would you be doing as a consultant?
  7. What is the most important consulting skill?
  8. When did you demonstrate it?
  9. When was the time when you demonstrated team skills or team work?
  10. What was the most important thing you learnt in your earlier job? What skills did you gain in your earlier job which would prepare you for consulting?
  11. When did you have to work with data? How are your data analysis skills?
  12. Why should we hire you?
  13. Have demonstrated all 4 skills that you look for (use examples above)
  14. What is the most important thing I should know about you that I cannot learn from your resume?
  15. How would a friend or professor / colleague who knows you well describe you?
  16. What serves as your biggest motivation? What are the key metrics for measuring success?
  17. When did you receive constructive feedback?
  18. What are your weaknesses?
  19. Which boss / mentor has had a clear influence on you? What do you admire about your previous boss?
  20. Follow-up: Constructive feedback –
  21. How do you work in a pressure situation / short on time / short on resources
  22. What has been your biggest achievement?
  23. Link this answer to leadership / problem solving
  24. Tell me about a leadership experience
  25. Tell me about a time when you had to analyse data
  26. Tell me about a time when you had to analyse financial information
  27. Tell me about a time when you had to face a challenge
  28. Tell me about a time you have failed
  29. What are your short term and long term goals?
  30. Tell me about a time when you set a goal for yourself and what steps you take to achieve the goal?
  31. Describe a situation when you were unable to reach a goal?
  32. Tell me about a time when you overcame failure?
  33. Have you ever had to change your priorities to meet another person’s expectations?
  34. Tell me about the time you had to compromise
  35. Tell me about a time when you didn’t meet a deadline
  36. Tell me about a time when you had to multi task
  37. Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a project schedule because you did not have enough resources
  38. Describe a situation in which you used different communication styles to influence stakeholders with differing perspectives 
  39. Tell me about a time when you had to be assertive to get your point across
  40. Difficult situation that required careful communication (Crisis Management)
  41. Describe most rewarding customer experience
  42. Tell me about a time when you had to accept an unreasonable request from a client
  43. Dealt with a customer that tested your patience
  44. Tell me about a time you took a difficult decision and had to explain it to others / Tell me about a time you took an unpopular decision
  45. Tell me about a time you took a quick decision
  46. Tell me about a time when you identified a problem and then solved it
  47. Tell me about a time when you built a rapport with client / colleague
  48. Tell me about a time you resolved a conflict in a team
  49. Have you led a team where different members of the team do not work well together? How did you deal with this situation
  50. Describe a time you gave constructive criticism to someone
  51. Tell me how did you determine priorities / Handling multiple deadlines at the same time? How did you handle the situation
  52. How did you deal with ethical dilemmas?
  53. Team experience that you found rewarding / Tell me about you had to work in a team to accomplish your goal
  54. Team experience that you found disappointing
  55. Describe a situation when you were a member (not leader) of a team and conflict arose. What did you do?
  56. Team member not pulling his weight. What did you do?
  57. What is important in a job environment?
  58. Why do you think you can put up with long hours?
  59. Tell me about your college experience
  60. What else do you do at school apart from studies?
  61. How do you manage stress in your life?
  62. Favorite Class and grade you got in it
  63. What do you read?
  64. Fun fact
  65. What do you hate the most?
  66. Favorite website?
  67. Tell me full names of people who interviewed you before
  68. Do you have any questions?

Cheers

Serhat

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Hi there,

I can totally understand your situation and frustration after the experience which you had in your previous interviews. Unfortunately many strong candidates do not prepare accordingly for the PEI, even though it contributes to ~50% of the overall evaluation - and definitely, the McKinsey PEI is an interview format of it's own, and there are many many specifics to consider - it's not just talking 'something' about leadership etc.

A good main structure to follow:

Using the PARADE framework as a basic structure, please find below a typical sequence including timing. It's definitely a good idea to provide an overview of your challenges to the interviewer ("Intermediate structure") before diving deep.

  • Headline (~15-30 seconds)
  • Bucket 1 (~1-2 minutes):
    • “Problem”
    • “Anticipated consequence”
    • “Role”
  • Intermediate structure (~30 seconds)
  • Bucket 2 (~8-10 minutes)
    • “Action”
    • “Decision-making rationale”
  • Closing (~30 seconds): “End-result”

You can read the full original blog post here: http://mckinsey-pei-blog.consulting-case-interviews.com/mckinsey-pei-length/

Which aspects to focus on for each of the 3 PEI dimensions (as some examples):

Leadership: Takes on leadership roles, seizes opportunities and takes action, helps to build highly effective teams with a shared vision, is sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other team members, demonstrates mentoring skills

Personal impact: Positively influences others, shows an interest in other people, self-confidence without arrogance, listens, understands and responds well to others

Entrepreneurial drive: Sets high aspirations for oneself, expects and achieves outstanding results, handles obstacles well, shows signs of entrepreneurship and a willingness to take personal risks

Obviously this is just a start into a rather complex and specific interview format and scratching on the surface. I wrote a book specifically on the PEI some time ago to cover all major topics for preparation, and if you need further guidance of course feel free to book a coaching session for discussing and optimizing your individual PEI examples.

Hope that helps to get you started!

Robert

PS: The PEI is really specific to McKinsey - however, the main topics behind the 3 PEI dimensions are of course relevant for a general consulting skill-set, so preparing for the PEI will definitely make you think about important skills you can also use and explain with specific examples for other consulting firms.

Hi there,

I can totally understand your situation and frustration after the experience which you had in your previous interviews. Unfortunately many strong candidates do not prepare accordingly for the PEI, even though it contributes to ~50% of the overall evaluation - and definitely, the McKinsey PEI is an interview format of it's own, and there are many many specifics to consider - it's not just talking 'something' about leadership etc.

A good main structure to follow:

Using the PARADE framework as a basic structure, please find below a typical sequence including timing. It's definitely a good idea to provide an overview of your challenges to the interviewer ("Intermediate structure") before diving deep.

  • Headline (~15-30 seconds)
  • Bucket 1 (~1-2 minutes):
    • “Problem”
    • “Anticipated consequence”
    • “Role”
  • Intermediate structure (~30 seconds)
  • Bucket 2 (~8-10 minutes)
    • “Action”
    • “Decision-making rationale”
  • Closing (~30 seconds): “End-result”

You can read the full original blog post here: http://mckinsey-pei-blog.consulting-case-interviews.com/mckinsey-pei-length/

Which aspects to focus on for each of the 3 PEI dimensions (as some examples):

Leadership: Takes on leadership roles, seizes opportunities and takes action, helps to build highly effective teams with a shared vision, is sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other team members, demonstrates mentoring skills

Personal impact: Positively influences others, shows an interest in other people, self-confidence without arrogance, listens, understands and responds well to others

Entrepreneurial drive: Sets high aspirations for oneself, expects and achieves outstanding results, handles obstacles well, shows signs of entrepreneurship and a willingness to take personal risks

Obviously this is just a start into a rather complex and specific interview format and scratching on the surface. I wrote a book specifically on the PEI some time ago to cover all major topics for preparation, and if you need further guidance of course feel free to book a coaching session for discussing and optimizing your individual PEI examples.

Hope that helps to get you started!

Robert

PS: The PEI is really specific to McKinsey - however, the main topics behind the 3 PEI dimensions are of course relevant for a general consulting skill-set, so preparing for the PEI will definitely make you think about important skills you can also use and explain with specific examples for other consulting firms.

Dear A,

I recommend you to stick to general rules in order to answer fit questions during the interview.

The chronological structure for your FIT question might take a lot of time for you to reply and thus it's very difficult to take the necessary things. So, I would recommend you to start with a summary of your background, why you are relevant for consulting (or some specific company).

Next, talk about 3-4 of your roles (maybe professional, education, extracurricular). The more experienced you are the more you should speak about professional roles. It can also be the distinct roles within the same organization (Company, your responsibilities, your greatest achievements there), and also your main reason why consulting or this company.

Best,

André

Dear A,

I recommend you to stick to general rules in order to answer fit questions during the interview.

The chronological structure for your FIT question might take a lot of time for you to reply and thus it's very difficult to take the necessary things. So, I would recommend you to start with a summary of your background, why you are relevant for consulting (or some specific company).

Next, talk about 3-4 of your roles (maybe professional, education, extracurricular). The more experienced you are the more you should speak about professional roles. It can also be the distinct roles within the same organization (Company, your responsibilities, your greatest achievements there), and also your main reason why consulting or this company.

Best,

André

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Hello!

On top of the insights already shared in the post, next week will be pusblished in PrepLounge´s Shop material related.

In concrete, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB". 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.

Hope you find it useful!

Hello!

On top of the insights already shared in the post, next week will be pusblished in PrepLounge´s Shop material related.

In concrete, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB". 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.

Hope you find it useful!

Book a coaching with Vlad

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Hi,

1) Make sure that you've prepared everything: A story about yourself, motivational questions and the three main stories - one for each of the skills the company wants to test you on - Personal Impact, Leadership, Achievement. Also, don't forget about your questions to the interviewer - you'd rather have an interesting conversation and score some point instead of a simple Q&A session

2) Then go through each story and think of the additional questions the interviewer may ask. It’s important since additional questions will take up to 50% of the interview. Try to remember the main details and facts and make sure that you know how to explain the key concepts quickly. Test your stories with your friends, ideally consultants, and ask for their feedback. There can be multiple groups of additional questions:

  • The interviewer may be interested in details about the context
  • He may want to check whether this was your effort or more sort of a team effort.
  • “Have you faced any difficulties while implementing your solution?”- Typically an interviewer would like you to tell him how you’ve overcome those difficulties.
  • Your interviewer will check how real your story is. You should be ready to provide even more granular actions, key milestones and a breakdown of potential effects.

3) Now work on 3-6 backup stories. During your interviews, you can then use these stories or adapt these stories to the additional questions your interviewer asks you.

You may be interested, why you need to prepare several stories for each question? At the end of the day, it's not that easy to come up with all of these stories. I've answered here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/repating-fit-interview-stories-927#a1813

4) Next step is talking to consultants. I recommend doing a couple of mock interviews, both case+fit. You can connect with consultants via friends, company events or even LinkedIn. Consultants are entirely opened to share their experiences, but the biggest problem will be the lack of time. Sometimes you’ll need to send a kind reminder to your request, but it pays off.

Best,

Hi,

1) Make sure that you've prepared everything: A story about yourself, motivational questions and the three main stories - one for each of the skills the company wants to test you on - Personal Impact, Leadership, Achievement. Also, don't forget about your questions to the interviewer - you'd rather have an interesting conversation and score some point instead of a simple Q&A session

2) Then go through each story and think of the additional questions the interviewer may ask. It’s important since additional questions will take up to 50% of the interview. Try to remember the main details and facts and make sure that you know how to explain the key concepts quickly. Test your stories with your friends, ideally consultants, and ask for their feedback. There can be multiple groups of additional questions:

  • The interviewer may be interested in details about the context
  • He may want to check whether this was your effort or more sort of a team effort.
  • “Have you faced any difficulties while implementing your solution?”- Typically an interviewer would like you to tell him how you’ve overcome those difficulties.
  • Your interviewer will check how real your story is. You should be ready to provide even more granular actions, key milestones and a breakdown of potential effects.

3) Now work on 3-6 backup stories. During your interviews, you can then use these stories or adapt these stories to the additional questions your interviewer asks you.

You may be interested, why you need to prepare several stories for each question? At the end of the day, it's not that easy to come up with all of these stories. I've answered here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/repating-fit-interview-stories-927#a1813

4) Next step is talking to consultants. I recommend doing a couple of mock interviews, both case+fit. You can connect with consultants via friends, company events or even LinkedIn. Consultants are entirely opened to share their experiences, but the biggest problem will be the lack of time. Sometimes you’ll need to send a kind reminder to your request, but it pays off.

Best,

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