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Interview question on priorities

1st day 1st round 1stround Experienced Hire fit interview McKinsey
New answer on Aug 31, 2020
4 Answers
1.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Aug 23, 2020

Real question. What would you answer when asked:

imagine that it is Fri 4pm, presentation for the client demands 15 hours of work to be 80/20 or total of 25 hours of work to be 100% ready. You are about to start the bachelors party of your best friend in 4 hrs and you are the organizer for entire group that does not know the details, what and where will happen. Your partner needs it Monday 9 am for review.
Partner not available for consultation.

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Content Creator
replied on Aug 24, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Honestly, they would never ask you something like this.

Precisely for the fact that does not reflect reality:

  1. You would know, if you are the poor bastard who needs to do this, how important it is for the client and the engagement. You will have the info you need to see whether is good or not to do 8020
  2. Partner will be available at some point to double check. In the real world, people don´t disappear.

Hence, don´t loose time with these things and focus on the real case + FIT prep.

Hope it helps!



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Anonymous on Aug 28, 2020

They did ask;)


Content Creator
updated an answer on Aug 24, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Well, first you need to clarify the objective :)

If this question is during an interview, we both know what you should say your objective is: "To be clear, my objective here, first and foremost, is to fulfill the duties of my job as I know what I'm signing up for. My secondary objective is to ensure my friend has a good bachelor's party"

Then, you need a framework.

Bucket A is how to fulfill your work duties efficiently

Bucket B is how to meet the needs of your friend.

If you're "smart" you tell the interviewer "I have to work 25 hours to get 100%, and 15 for 80%. I would check with the Partner whether we're looking for 80% or 100% for his/her review. I also need to be sure I have enough sleep to perform during the week"

You can realize that, between Fri and Mon you must have 24 hours of sleep, leaving you with 41 waking hours (65 total hours from 4pm Fri to 9am Mon minus the 24 hours sleeping).

So, actually, this problem isn't that can do both :) But, you would likely need to breakdown how you setup the party for success (contact your friend's other friends), plan your Sat+Sun working days on the Friday, then attend the party but stay sober etc.


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Anonymous A on Aug 28, 2020

Thx! Super

Anonymous replied on Aug 23, 2020

Dear A,

I would recommend you to read "& principles of highly effective people" by Stephen Covi, where you can find proper explanaition of hor to prioritize urgent and inmortant tasks, non-urgent and inmprtant task etc.

Basicaly it depends on your values and your responsibilities.

Also, many expert may agree with me, that work-life balance in consulting is not there.

If you can't connect with a partner, then connect with one of the closest friend and explain him details.


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Content Creator
replied on Aug 31, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi, in addition to the solutions proposed by the other coaches in the discussion, I would like to suggest similar cases in the platform to practice with:


Hope it helps,

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Clara gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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