Interview with a Partner

McKinsey
New answer on Dec 01, 2022
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 30, 2022

My first round interview is with a Partner (and EM). How does that change things, and how is that now different from second round?

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Francesco
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: My first round interview is with a Partner (and EM). How does that change things, and how is that now different from second round?

Having partners in round one is rare but may happen sometimes at MBB. It may be due to the availability of the team.

In terms of the difference between the first and final round, you can find some info here:

▶ Differences between First and Final Round

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
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Hi there,

Try not to worry too much about precise differences as, at the end of the day, the difference between individual interviewers (i.e. two human beings) is going to be far different than large generalizations we can make.

In general (emphasis: in general), Partner rounds can be a bit more fluid, or rushed, or abrupt, or “brainstorm-y”. But, at the end of the day, you need to enter that room the exact same way.

That is, come in being adaptable and agile to whatever will come your way…come in prepared not for x thing but for anything.

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Rushabh
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replied on Nov 30, 2022
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Hello,

As you may know, usually, first round interviews are with Managers/Principals and Second round with Partners/MDP.

However, having a first round interview with a Partner is not unusual. I would expect the interview to go roughly the same as if it was a Manager/Principal i.e. they will certainly test quant through a proper case, plus a bunch of fit questions. 

However this is different in two ways:

1) The quality of questions that you will have to ask in the end should be higher. You need to show higher signs of maturity since you are dealing with a partner

2) Use this as an opportunity to practice dealing with a partner for your final round interview. Often times, candidates get intimidated in the final rounds when dealing with partners.

Let me know if you need any help with interviews via chat.

All the best!

Rushabh

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Emily
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replied on Nov 30, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

The experience should be the same - you do the PEI followed by a case which is chosen from a case library. People say that partners make up cases or focus more on one part or another but they rarely do. HR doesn’t like it as it makes it very difficult to compare candidates.

Good luck! 

 

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Dennis
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replied on Nov 30, 2022
Seasoned project leader with 7+ years of consulting and recruiting experience in USA and Europe

Since it’s a first round, you can expect the interview to be similar to other first round interviews conducted by managers or more senior consultants. While partners sometimes tend to not focus on cases in final round interviews, I would still expect a case here. 

Make sure you meet them at the more strategic or visionary level when you get to ask a few questions at the end of the interview. Avoid asking questions that any recruiter could answer for you.

Best of luck 

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Emre
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updated an answer on Nov 30, 2022
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Hi!

In terms of the interview setting, it will not cause a big change. In my opinion and experience so far, partners expect you to demonstrate more business acumen while you are solving the case. Therefore, personally, I would give more emphasis on the implications/interpretations of my findings and focus on “why?” questions as I proceed through the case.

All the best!

Emre

(edited)

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Mario
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replied on Nov 30, 2022
Ex-Mckinsey (analyst->associate->manager) and now in tech (Bytedance) + Part time interview coach and mentor

Hi there,

 

All interviews are similar in structure but partners tend to ask higher level questions than more junior interviewers who might go into more depth on quant and exhibits.

 

Mario

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Florian
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replied on Dec 01, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

McKinsey is trying really hard to create an objective and standardized interview experience for all candidates, across offices, practices, and interviewers. As a result, you should expect exactly the same interviewing format as in the first round

  • 25 minutes PEI
  • 25 minutes case
  • 5 minutes for your questions at the end of the interview

You will be evaluated on the same criteria, and metrics, with the same types of cases and questions, regardless of who your interviewer might be (first or second round).

Now, that's the theory. :-)

Quick reality check!

That being said, partners sometimes employ their own way of doing interviews based on their personal preferences, which means that sometimes the final round with them can be less predictable.

Some focus on the case, others focus solely on the fit part (and deviate from the traditional PEI to ask other personal fit questions), and some stick to the standard format. I had a client last year who had to go through two cases and one of them was made up on the spot, which made it very tricky.

In general, the more senior the partner, the more likely are they to deviate from the standard interview format because they a. can b. have their own way of doing things. :-)

So now you know the practice.

What does this mean for you and your preparation?

Not much.

Continue with your preparation, meaning

  • Rehearse and finetune your PEI answers with a coach or peers who know what they are talking about
  • Hone your case interview skills that are relevant for McKinsey (structuring, math, exhibit interpretation) with coaches and drills
  • Prepare for some traditional fit questions (Why consulting, why McKinsey, etc.)

 During the interview

  • Stay cognitively flexible
  • Do not be surprised if the format deviates from what you expect
  • Stay calm and collected no matter what happens
  • Stay enthusiastic, engaged and portray the impression that you are happy to be here (partners love that...)

Fingers crossed and let me know if you need some help with McKinsey! 

Cheers,

Florian

For more on the two interview components, check out these two articles that I wrote:

Case: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/mckinsey-interview

PEI: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-pei

 

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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