How would you feel if you had to work for someone who knows less than you?

consulting help MBB PrepLounge: Personal Fit Real interview question
New answer on Oct 10, 2021
10 Answers
2.6 k Views
Anonymous B asked on Oct 12, 2019

How would you answer this question in your Personal Fit interview? Receive feedback on your answer and browse through the Q&As to review the approaches of other applicants and experts.

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Daniel
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 15, 2019
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

This happens quite often in consulting when you work with unexperienced clients (frequent example – a new CEO/department head/team head who doesn’t know what he is doing). So, your interviewer would be curious to hear how you would act.

If you have a real story to tell about a situation like this, great, tell it. In any case your answer should focus on the following 3 points:

– No matter with whom you work you always focus on the results – and in the situation like this you will ensure that this knowledge gap doesn’t affect the results

– You will do your best to educate and coach the person who knows less than you, being sensitive to his/her feelings

– You always keep a positive attitude – even if a person has no idea what he/she is doing, you keep your energy high and deal with it with a positive mindset

Was this answer helpful?
Baris
Expert
replied on Sep 25, 2019
Ex McKinsey | Ex Top Tier Private Equity | Experimenter | Investor | +150 Case Interviews

I think the question is a little vague here so first I would clarify it. Below are the first 2 questions I would ask.

1) In what topic(s) does the person know less than me?

Maybe in one topic (lets assume the core of our business) they know less than me, however they have so much experience on coding (lets assume which is not central to your business but is still important), she/he might help you in that area. It is pretty hard for someone to know less than you in all topics of business/life.

By asking this question first, i think you would be showing the interviewer that you are humble and you realize that you cant know about everything better than everybody else.

2) If they know less than me (which is meant to sound unappealing) why do I have to work for them?

Now this is something that every young business person gets to know at some point in their lives. Not all bosses are smart. They just have money, which is pretty important if you want to get things done and invest in your business for further growth.

So, in fact, if you found someone that has a lot of money, knows less than you about a specific topic, but believes in you and is willing to put her/his money on the table for you. Wouldn't you really want to work for that person? I would!

The point I am trying to make by these 2 questions is, by asking these types of questions, you show the interviewer that you are open minded, and you see other alternatives and potential scenarios in any given scenario no matter how good or bad it may look.

Hope this helps

Cheers

Was this answer helpful?
Marco
Expert
replied on Sep 23, 2019
MBA | Head of Product for a Tech company | Former Strategy& and KPMG Advisory

Hi,

I would stress the fact that you are keen on working with someone who has less knowledge than yourself; although difficult, this is a great challenge to improve both someone else's skillset and your ability to act as the person of reference in a project. The 2 points I would dive deep on are:

1) eagerness to share your knowledge. This is vital to improve the way your peers work and, as a consequence, the performance of the whole team

2) ownership: considering you know more than the other person, you are the ultimate responsible for the decisions that are made. This means you have to be in charge and lead the other person to do what's right

Hope this helped!

Cheers,

marco

Was this answer helpful?
Aws
Expert
replied on Sep 24, 2019
Senior Consultant @ Google | McKinsey, BCG, Bain exp. as Client | 100+ REAL MBB cases

Hi A,

Great question. It's important to let the interviewer know that you are able to work with different kind of people.

In this context I would say:

I am happy to work with people that may know more or less on a certain topic, as they will bring a different viewpoints that I may not have yet considered. I believe that you can learn from every interaction, whether that is with a fellow peer or someone on a different level of the hierarchy

Hope this helps!

Aws

Was this answer helpful?
Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 13, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

I guess it's mostly a matter of framing what "knowing less" means.

Globally speaking, you might encounter specific persons who seem to know everything. Yes, still exist in today's bits and bytes highly-specialized knowledge world. That might be one situation to talk about.

However, in a much more typical scenario you will work with persons who know more about a specific topic (e.g. IFRS accounting standard and how to apply them in practice to commodity trading industries) but might lack fundamentels in other areas (e.g. managing a project in a structured way outside the regular line organisation).

So that situation is rather the norm than the exception. Main idea is obviously to be successful, meaning to use the strengths of each person involved in the team to achieve your targets. Nothing unsual, more like daily business.

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

Robert

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous E replied on Oct 10, 2021

I feel motivated in  teaching him/her thinghs that doesn't know 

Was this answer helpful?
0
Anonymous D replied on Oct 04, 2021

I would try help the person to understand the basic context and give the greatest support. I would simplify the problem, so the person would get a better understanding.

Was this answer helpful?
0
Anonymous C replied on Sep 30, 2021

unconcerned

Was this answer helpful?
0
Joe updated an answer on Jul 12, 2020

Unless you are interviewing for Bain Capital, who've been likened to somalian pirates with inexplicably high IQ's, your answer should incorporate some form of EQ.

I recommend mentioning that that the ideal scenario (a client who knows what you do, but is too lazy to execute) is rare, and more often than not, the client has hired you to discover what he doesn't know. In a matter of speaking, it is your job as a consultant to fill in these holes in their knowledge base and help guide them toward the best decision (while keeping an air of professionalism).

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
0
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 06, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

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!

Was this answer helpful?
Daniel gave the best answer

Daniel

Content Creator
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews
234
Meetings
1,121
Q&A Upvotes
40
Awards
121 Reviews