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I AM SCHEDULED FOR A COFFE CHAT, PLEASE WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS DO I EXPECT?

Bain Bain & Company BCG BCGDubai chat coffee Coffee Chat consulting Fresh Graduate Interview last round MBB Mck McKinsey McKinsey & Company networking oliverwyman Recruiter Referral
New answer on Nov 10, 2023
60 Answers
61.2 k Views
Anonymous B asked on Feb 23, 2018

Bain & Company scheduled a coffee chat meeting for me. Please someone who has the experience should elaborate on what coffee chat is all about. How do I make it a means to my success?

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Best answer
Originally answered question:

Missed an MBB Coffee Chat - What should I do?

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to disagree with the other consultants here.

Not only have I run the analytics around how important networking is (it's important), but missing a company-sponsored coffee chat is not good. I unfortunately think it's unlikely that you'll be invited to interview this year (but you won't be "blacklisted", that's different).

In case you were curious, see below for the research I did around networking/connections and recruiting success. Feel free to message if you'd like to read the full article and see the Naive Bayes regression + variable coefficients.

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Anonymous J on Jun 30, 2021

Hi A! I'd be careful putting too much weight on this analysis. For two reasons: (a) It's actually bad consulting practice: Ian throws in fancy tool names and is suggesting causation that might or might not be there. Nobody would claim that networking is not important, but the number of touchpoints is largely driven by e.g. the school - candidates from target schools get flooded with contact opportunities and going to these schools drastically increases chances for an invitation. But the number of touchpoints is not necessarily the driver of this. (b) It suggests that the more touchpoints the better. An anecdote to the contrary: I run the MBA recruiting for my MBB office. We are actually tracking who reaches out to our consultants and sign up to coffee chats. In the past we have actually discounted applications from candidates that flood us with coffee chat requests just to maximize the number of touchpoints for the sake of it. I'd rather hire somebody that respects the time of my colleagues and asks pointy questions when relevant, than somebody that wastes our time just to make their name being recognized by as many people as possible.

Anonymous E on Jun 30, 2021

Thanks for the response to this B! I'm not worried because I didn't get to have a coffee chat, I have a formal recommendation and have attended other events. My main concern is that the recruiter will see me missing the chat as wasting their time. Do you think they could interpret my actions that way?

Anonymous J on Jun 30, 2021

Na, I agree with the other coaches on this. Missing a coffee chat isn't ideal but it won't disqualify you from the application, especially if you have a referral.

Ian on Jun 30, 2021

Hi Anonymous B, I always appreciate active discussion, especially when it concerns data! Now, there's always an issue of causation vs correlation, but I isolated a range of variables and these were strong predictors of success (for example, someone with a high GMAT score may network more, but if we isolate across a set GMAT range, we can see this relationship holds true). Furthermore, the sample size for this data was just one school, therefore your point regarding school differences is moot. Feel free to check out my analysis on SpencerTom where I dive into the actual process. If you still have issues with it after you've given it a fair shot, I'd love to hear how I could improve it! Note: I emphasized how important a coffee chat/networking is, but I never said "reach out to everyone and anyone you can"...would appreciate no strawman logical fallacies against me please :)

(edited)

Ian on Jun 30, 2021

I would also note that, while I worked at the career office for my MBA program, we did know of candidates who were eliminated from the process because they missed a coffee chat. This doesn't mean you are disqualified, but I have seen it happen.

(edited)

Torrey
Expert
replied on Jun 02, 2021
EX-BAIN INTERVIEWER WITH 250H+ OF PRIVATE COACHING EXPERIENCE

Hey,

My answer is no, you still have a good chance of applying for this job and I have 2 reasons for your:

1. My personal experience: I never got invited to any coffee chat, company event (small scale ones which invite candidates to offices) when I applied to Bain and the reason given was exactly the same as yours i.e. limited capacity. However they still invited me for interview and eventually gave me an offer. This is same for McKinsey as well.

2. There are normally more spaces for interview than small scale events. For example if they are looking to hire 20 associates this year, they normally will invite 400 people for first round and around 100 people for second round. This is much more than the number of people they can invite for the company event. It might be the case that your CV is not ranked the very top of their list, but you still can be invited to interview. Also bear in mind, once you started interview, your CV doesn't really matter that much any more!

If you want to learn more about how companies select their candidates, please also PM me.

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 03, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Events and standard applications are two separate channels, so it could well be you are rejected for events and invited for interviews when you apply.

Events sometimes have very limited capacity, so although it seems strange that may be even more selective than invitations for interviews.

Having said that, if you have some friends in consulting definitely ask their opinion on your CV to see if there are any improvements.

Best,

Francesco

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Originally answered question:

Missed an MBB Coffee Chat - What should I do?

Ken
Expert
updated an answer on Jul 01, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

I wouldn't worry! The coffee chats are more of an informal event that isn't part of the selection process. Consultants will only share feedback to recruiters if something stands out; unless its an ethical conern, the impact will be marginal.

(edited)

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Anonymous E on Jun 30, 2021

Thanks for the response Ken, do you think not showing up counts as "something standing out"?

Ken on Jun 30, 2021

It would depend on that individual consultants proactivity around flagging it to HR. I would genuinely shocked if an MBB rejected a strong candidate based on missing a coffee chat with a junior consultant.

Originally answered question:

How to request for the second coffee chat?

Retired
Expert
replied on Feb 20, 2018
Former BCG interviewer

Please take this exclusively from my personal experience and perspective. Before getting an interview offer, having a single 1:1 connection is more than enough. If you ask for more it feels over-reaching. However I think is acceptable to:

  • ask to refer to someone else to have a different perspective
  • touchbase asking if they are coming to many:many on campus events so that you can briefly say hi
  • ask for a 1:1 follow up once you receive interview offer to get tips/suggestions.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

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13
Samay on Feb 20, 2018

Thank you for your comment Andrea. I networked McKinsey and Oliver Wyman 1:1, for their summer internship last year. From networking with consultants, they have advised me to network atleast 2-3 times to build the relationship. How should I go about navigation this in this case.

(edited)

Originally answered question:

When does BCG get back to work?

Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 26, 2022
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for a lot of users, thus I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • It's generally a good idea to wait until after the holiday break to send in your application, as you mentioned. This will give them time to review and process all of the applications that have come in, and it will also give you the opportunity to make sure that your application is as strong as possible.
  • As for the coffee chat, it's generally a good idea to follow the instructions that were provided in the email you received from the firm. If the email indicated that coffee chats will be held after the holiday break, then it would be a good idea to wait until that time to reach out and request a coffee chat. If the email did not specify a timeline for the coffee chats, then you could consider reaching out to the firm to inquire about the availability of slots.
  • Keep in mind that consulting firms are typically very busy, and it may take some time to coordinate a coffee chat with a specific individual. It's also possible that all of the slots for coffee chats may be taken, in which case you may need to wait until a later date to request one.
  • In any case, it's generally a good idea to be patient and to follow the instructions provided by the firm. This will help ensure that your request for a coffee chat is handled smoothly and efficiently.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on what to do in your specific situation, please feel free to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Originally answered question:

Missed an MBB Coffee Chat - What should I do?

Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

No need to overthink this..honest mistake and it happens. Not a big deal. Agree with Ken and Henning.

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Originally answered question:

When does BCG get back to work?

Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 26, 2022
ex-McKinsey EM & Interviewer | 7/8 offer rate for 4+ sessions | 90min sessions with FREE exercises & videos

Hi there,

Not sure what the problem is. Are you worried your message gets lost if you reply now? It won't.

My advice is to stop guessing when people may be in or out and just reply as if it weren't the end of the year. Keep the conversation going on your end and let them be the bottleneck, to avoid the risk that you're it.

Best of luck!

Moritz

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Originally answered question:

Missed an MBB Coffee Chat - What should I do?

Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 01, 2021
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi, I confirm it is not an issue. Feel free to stay in touch with them to know next steps and application windows

Best,
Antonello

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Originally answered question:

Missed an MBB Coffee Chat - What should I do?

Anonymous replied on Jun 30, 2021

Agree with Ken. This is unfortunate, and the message will probably have made it to the recruiting team, but I also don't think that this will be a reason to not invite your for your office. Besides: Recruiting files are probably accessing the same database, so I don't think just by sending your application to a different office you'll be starting with a clean sheet.

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8
Bob
Proficient
replied on Jun 03, 2021

This is very funny.

I was accepted to the BCG summer discovery program and then rejected from BCG.

I didn't apply or attend Bain / McKinsey programs but got interviews / offer there.

Virtual coffee chat correlation with application rejeciton? Dubious.

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8
Originally answered question:

When does BCG get back to work?

Anonymous replied on Dec 26, 2022

It's generally a good idea to wait until after the holidays to reach out about scheduling a coffee chat, as many people take time off during this period. In this case, it sounds like the consultant you spoke with mentioned  they would be returning in Jan, so wait until they are back.

Given they may be busy getting caught up on work after returning from the holidays, it may be more convenient for them to schedule the coffee chat for a later date. Just ask when works for them.

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7
Originally answered question:

When does BCG get back to work?

Rushabh
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 26, 2022
Limited Availability | BCG Expert | Middle East Expert | 100+ Mocks Delivered | IESE & NYU MBA | Ex-KPMG Dxb Consultant

Hello,

No harm in expressing your interest for doing a coffee chat now. Most likely, they will still see your email after the holidays, but if they allocate slots based on first in first out, you would still be better off!

Hope this helps.

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any further questions regarding interviews with BCG Middle East.

All the best!

Rushabh

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Originally answered question:

Missed an MBB Coffee Chat - What should I do?

Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2021
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hey there,

I believe you are overthinking this a bit and the impact on a future application will be minimal to non-existent. The main benefit/opportunity you lost was to score a referral during the chat.

Even that can be ironed out with some networking efforts.

Cheers,

Florian

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Originally answered question:

Coffee chat with head of Mck office

Anonymous replied on Jul 16, 2020

Hi Anonymous - well done on landing the coffee chat! This already shows they are still interested in your profile. Use the 30 minutes to tell your story and making sure it is 'WOW'. Take the time to also understand the Senior Partner - their focus area, impact of COVID etc.

At the end of the 30 minutes - mention you are keen to apply again. If your chat has gone well then most likely the senior partner will be supportive and offer to refer you without you having to ask. Try not to focus on what happened 2 years ago - water under the bridge. Fact is they want to speak with you now

That said - I expect you will need to prepare for the interview process rigorously to avoid the mistakes of last time. Highly recommend working with an experienced coach if you are through to interviews

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6
Originally answered question:

Coffee chat with head of Mck office

Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 16, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

The main idea of this ~2 years of waiting time is to give you a chance to develop yourself further in that period.

For sure there was 1 or more topics in your previous interview procedure which were not up to the performance level expected by McKinsey at that time.

So the main idea for your current meeting is to prepare accordingly the following key aspects:

  • What was not 100% perfect in your previous application?
  • What did you do over the last 2 years to address each of those issues specifically - and what are specific examples of that as proof?
  • In general: What's your development since 2 years ago and why is consulting/McKinsey right now the logical next step in your career - so have your story-line ready for that.

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

Robert

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Anonymous C on Jul 18, 2020

Great feedback, thanks a lot!

Frederic
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 10, 2023
ex Jr. Partner McKinsey |Senior Interviewer| Real Feedback & Free Homework between sessions|Harvard Coach|10+ Experience

Hi there,

Congratulations on scheduling a coffee chat with Bain & Company! Coffee chats are a fantastic opportunity to network, gain insights, and make a positive impression.

Here's how you can leverage this coffee chat for success:

Research Thoroughly: Familiarize yourself with Bain's recent projects, company culture, and any recent news. This will showcase your genuine interest and enthusiasm.

Prepare Questions: Have thoughtful questions ready about the company, the interviewer's experience, and the consulting industry. This demonstrates your engagement and curiosity.

Share Your Story: Be prepared to briefly share your professional journey, emphasizing key achievements and highlighting how your skills align with Bain's values.

Seek Advice: Use the opportunity to ask for advice on breaking into consulting or excelling in the industry. People often appreciate helping others navigate their career paths.

Express Enthusiasm: Clearly communicate your enthusiasm for joining Bain. Conveying genuine interest can leave a lasting impression.

As a former Associate Partner, I'd be happy to roleplay a coffee chat with you. Feel free to DM me, and we can schedule a time that works for both of us.

Best of luck, and enjoy your coffee chat experience!

Warm regards,

Frederic

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Originally answered question:

When does BCG get back to work?

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 28, 2022
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

For the coffee chat, feel free to write to them already. This has nothing to do with your application per se. Then aim to send the application mid-Jan when certainly everybody will be back in the office. 

Here is an article about how to approach coffee chats. It details out what you should expect and how to best prepare to get the most out of it. 

Best of luck!

Cristian

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Anonymous replied on Oct 31, 2022

Hi,

Coffee chats have 2 goals:

  1. Learn more about the company, so prepare a broad set of questions for your counterpart
  2. Make a good impression on the interviewer and (potentially) secure a referral; so, research the company and prepare your personal fit questions - these chats very very exceptionally include case-related questions 

Hopefully this helps.

Jorn

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5
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 22, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats, that is exactly how it´s done! Really well done in getting the referral. 

Most of the times, is just going to be an informal chat to get to know you a little better. you should be prepared tough for some Motivational questions, one of the four key families from FIT questions. If you want to deep dive on the topic, 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.

Furthermore, you can find 3 FREE Expert Articles on PreLounge, in a sreies dedicated to preparing for the different parts of FIT:

1. https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/cv-interview-questions

2. https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/motivational-fit-interview-questions

3. https://www.preplounge.com/en/behavioral-interview-questions

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

Hope it helps! 

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Originally answered question:

Networking tips?

Lucie
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 14, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader

Hi there, 

well done! This shows a great initiative. 

I would recommend to send an introduction (killer) email with your CV and ask for a quick chat/coffee. Partners are extremally busy and they may refer you to someone to take it from there. 

 I wouldn't recommend dinner.

Good luck!

Lucie

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Originally answered question:

Coffee chat with head of Mck office

Anonymous replied on Jul 17, 2020

Dear A,

Congratulations for that opportunity! Good job!

Well, in general, you need to be lightly person on order to do so you need to google the most relevant information about your partner with whom you are going to talk about his background, his competence and focus, past projects. Maybe, you can even find any publications where he was an author. Through this, try to ask him the questions and find similarities with yourself: maybe you cam from the same school, town, or interested in the same topics. This will help you to establish both profesional and personal link.

Listen more than you speak, be an active listener. Partners normally like those person who are smart and listen to them. So make the partner feel great during this conversation. And I'm pretty sure that afterwards he will be eager to help you to get into the firm, which is your ultimate objective.

Hope it helps you,

If you need further tips, just drop me a message,

Good luck,

André

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5
Originally answered question:

How to request for the second coffee chat?

Vlad
Expert
updated an answer on Feb 20, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I use the following strategy:

  • Trying to discuss during the first coffee chat an opportunity to meet again in the future
  • Follow up with the e-mail
  • Give an idea of how you can be helpful (easier for associates and people with prior background)

I use the following template to follow up:

"Hi...,

I just wanted to thank you again for today’s coffee chat. I’ve learnt a lot about ... and I'm excited by...

You’ve mentioned you could help with... I would appreciate a chance to meet with you to...

I would also be happy to be a resource for you, now or in the future for any expertise in.."

Best,

Vlad

(edited)

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Originally answered question:

When does BCG get back to work?

Dennis
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 28, 2022
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

The coffee chat thing is something you can contact them about whenever. Send it now and they'll get back to you whenever they can. It's less of a process than the application so I wouldn't worry about perfect timing in conjunction with year-end shutdown.

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Originally answered question:

How to request for the second coffee chat?

Anonymous replied on Jul 10, 2018

Why do you want to network up to 3 times per consultant? How does this improve your chances of getting the Offer? My advice is to limit yourself to activities that positively impact your chances of getting an offer. Chasing 3 meetings for the sake of it sounds unusual.

It will also come off as weird. When you consider that most consultants are too busy to have even one coffee chat and will turn down the majority of candidates who ask them for one, seeking up to three will ring weird: it could communicate that you lack confidence, signal that you have too much time on your own hands (which is not particularly a good thing), or it could be mis-read as a super-awkward romantic interest.

Unless the consultant has dropped some earth-shattering insights that simply cannot be fully explored in a single session, then the single session you're offered should suffice! :-)

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3
Originally answered question:

Networking tips?

Gaelle
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 13, 2022
Techie, Consultant, Computer Engineer, Yoga Teacher

Hey! 

I would suggest introduce yourself and ask for 10 min coffee chat where you can quickly ask him for advice !  would avoid asking lunch / dinner at this stage 

Hope this helps!

 

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B
Expert
replied on Feb 23, 2018
NOT AVAILABLE

Hey anonymous,

I think you're seeing things using the wrong angle, you shouldn't focus on what questions to expect, but actually on what which questions to prepare (based on information you want to gather and clarify, image you want to convey) in order to have an fruitful coffee chat.

Bain representative is not going to be there to interview and you should aim to lead the conversation.

Best

Bruno

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2
Josephine on Feb 23, 2018

Thanks a lot on this

Originally answered question:

MBA coffee Chat

Pedro
Expert
replied on Dec 24, 2021
30% off in April 2024 | Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Sorry, it doesn't work like that. It's not about asking, but about earning it.

First, you don't need to bring it up. They know they can refer you.

Second, does asking for it increase your chances? No, not at all, and can actually lower your chances.

Third, what increases your chances? Having a meaningful conversation. In a meaningful conversation you share unique, interesting things about you, and you learn about the personal experience of your counterpart. Sometimes you discuss an interesting business problem and are able to bring up some value add to the discussion.

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Originally answered question:

Coffee Chat with one of the MBB

Luca
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Mar 14, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello Kay,

Do not worry so much about that, coffee chat is usually not part of the evaluation. Prepare just some smart and interesting talking points to enhance the discussion and to make the chat pleasant for everyone. Avoid to ask general information that you can find online, try to leverage the experience of the principal to have some insights. Be just natural and nice and everything will go well.
Try to see it also as an important chance for you to know some people of the company outside the time of the interview and a strictly professional environment.

Best,
Luca

(edited)

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Originally answered question:

Coffee chat at Mckinsey's last round

Nathaniel
Expert
replied on Mar 07, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello Rachel,

Congrats for making it into the final round!
As Udayan mentioned, it is a good signal which means that your profile is very attractive to the Firm and they wish to convince you to accept the offer should they decide to extend it and provide the opportunity to address any remaining concerns and questions you might had that prevents you from being fully convinced to join the Firm as of now.

My suggestion is to make the opportunities to the fullest, asking any elements that are still a mystery to you and you are very keen to know before deciding to commit yourself to the role.
Additionally, this is the opportunity to establish a relationship with the 2 analyst, so if and when you decide to join the Firm, you would already have 2 network ready to help you.

Hope it helps,

Kind regards,
Nathan

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Originally answered question:

Coffee chat at Mckinsey's last round

Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Mar 06, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

The chats are non evaluative - you would have to do something completely terrible to mess up.

The main reasons we had coffee chats and other sessions was actually to 'sell' McKinsey to the most desirable candidates so you're actually at an advantage here. Prepare a list of genuine and thoughtful questions that you want answers to (e.g., how staffing works or how mentoring works in the office etc.) and you'll be more than fine.

All the best,

Udayan

(edited)

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