McK Cases - Structuring, Insights needed

case structure Framework Mck
New answer on Jun 03, 2022
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 02, 2022

Dear all, 

I had 2 rounds with McK. 
They came back to me a few hours after, saying they wish another interview with only a case. So they made up a 3rd round for me… 

I did got the feedback that I shall “structure more to represent/identify all the drivers and the complexity more, deeper structure.” When asking more, it seems that they want me to have more levels in my structure. HR said that this is quite McK like to have at least 3 levels.

Can you please help me to describe what they mean? 
I felt that my structure is quite exhaustive (I did identify weaknesses but not this one tbh) and I did not get the feedback in peer sessions (ok not such a good proof but still), but it seems that I need to put the points in a different order, name it differently + add a level.


Thanks for your support
 

 

(edited)

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Florian
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replied on Jun 03, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

There is a significant difference between a framework derived for McKinsey vs. a framework created for other consulting interviews.

At the core, McKinsey wants to see creative ideas communicated in a structured manner, the more exhaustive the better.

Your goal should be to come up with a tailored and creative answer that fits the question. The framework should - broadly speaking - follow these three characteristics:

  • Broad: Exhaustive at the top-level
  • Deep: Supported with several layers of ideas
  • Insightful: Concrete and actionable

As I understand from your feedback, interviewers are interested both in the top-level as well as the lower levels of your answer. While you must have hit some good points (otherwise they would have just rejected you) your framework did not cover the whole issue (not exhaustive) and lacked more concrete ideas and depth to support your top-level (with limited context, be aware!), you lacked some creative ideas, i.e. you would need to go into more detail and qualify your answer with practical examples and more details.

In a McKinsey interview, you can take up to 6-8 minutes to present your structure, your qualification, and hypotheses. This is due to the interviewer-led format that McK employs. The interviewer will only ask 'what else' if you 

  • haven't gone broad or deep enough
  • did not explain your ideas well enough for them to stand out (again, you have time here)

The firm wants to see exhaustive and creative approaches to specific problems, which more often than not do not fit into the classic case interview frameworks that were en vogue 10 years ago...

Again, this only applies if everything you say

  • adds value to the problem analysis
  • is MECE
  • is well qualified
  • includes a detailed discussion of your hypotheses

The difference in format and way of answering a question is the reason why I recommend preparing very differently for McK interviews vs. other consultancies.

I think there are three things that you can do to work on that:

  1. Post the question and your answer to get a more tailored and actionable advice
  2. Have a look at the article on McKinsey case interviews, which covers the topic more exhaustively: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-interview
  3. Book a session with an experienced McKinsey interviewer who knows what is evaluated and has strategies on how to create exhaustive and deep frameworks on the spot. Obviously the best, yet also the more expensive variation.

All the best!

Keep in mind that they really liked your performance across all interviews, being given a 3rd round is very rate and demonstrates that you are doing a lot of things very well already.

Cheers,

Florian

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 03, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

This feedback is quite common at McKinsey and indeed one of the 4 main differences in their approach compared to others (you can find the other 3 here under my reply).

I think the best option you have is to:

1) Report the question that they asked in a new Q&A and

2) Mention the structure you used

Otherwise you won’t get any practical suggestions on how to improve.

If you need more help please feel free to PM me.

Best,

Francesco

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Ken
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updated an answer on Jun 06, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Agree with Ian that it's difficult to comment based on what you've shared.  You're right that McKinsey is a combination of both breadth (i.e., exhaustive) and depth (i.e., levels).  In most cases, there are ways for you to structure to at least level 3-5.  Take profitability, fixed vs. variable costs is still only level 3, from there you could think about a comprehensive list of relevant cost buckets, of which you may want to explore each one in the context of unit cost vs. volume, etc. and further, what is driving the unit cost of a particular cost bucket, etc. etc. 

Hopefully one of your interviewers or McKinsey contacts is coaching you. If not, I hate it when coaches use every opportunity to self-promote, but considering you're at such a critical stage, it may be worth booking a session with an experienced McKinsey interviewer to discuss this in more detail.

Good luck!

(edited)

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Ian
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replied on Jun 02, 2022
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Hi there,

Exhaustive isn't quite enough when it comes to structuring.

It's really hard to give advice here as I don't know how you structure.

Frameworking is often the hardest thing to learn, and it can't really be taught via a Q&A.

That said, remember that frameworking is not about listing every idea you can think of and that being exhaustive. Rather, it's having a holistic plan of attack. That covers all bases.

Especially for McKinsey, it's important that each of your buckets actually has sub-buckets. Think of it as a framework within a framework!

Feel free to reach out for coaching if you're seriously about improving this!

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Cristian
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replied on Jun 03, 2022
Highest recommendation rate / Top McKinsey coach / 100% success rate at >4 sessions / Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there,

Sorry to hear it wasn't a smoother ride up until now, but it looks promising if you're about to go into a third round. Based on your description it sounds like you are a borderline candidate and structuring is what is going to make the difference for you. 

What sets McKinsey apart from the other firms is that they look for a structure that is both broad and deep. That means trying to be exhaustive, going several levels deep, providing examples, while at the same time being concise and speaking in a tone and speed that can be easily followed. All of this should take around five minutes or so. 

All of this can be improved and if you've already gotten this far, then it's just a question of making some tweaks and adjustments. At this point I would highly recommend getting a coach that could help with expert feedback on the structuring to get you past the bar. 

Best,

Cristian

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Lucie
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replied on Jun 03, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hello there, 
peers unlikely will be able to give you feedback at the level of the interviewer, hence not much of a surprise. The good thing is that MCK sees potential in you and is giving you one more chance. I think now it would be the moment to take at least one coaching session to mock your case and learn what and how to improve. Based on your description it seems as if using a more comprehensively pyramidal structure/any way to breakdown the problem and be more precise on the description and also most importantly to communicate in a comprehensive way what you do. Quite a common issue. If you need help, please feel free to reach out directly. 


Good luck!
Lucie
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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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