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McK Final Round Interview Style

Anonymous A asked on Apr 04, 2018 - 3 answers

Hi everyone, going through my McK final rounds (2 out of 3 done) for one of the North Asia markets and noticed that interview styles were very different from first rounds. To illustrate:

1) In the first final round interview, the interviewer didn't really ask a PEI question, but asked "how do you motivate yourself?". The question seemed to be more about how I think / self motivate vs. asking for a story. So I talked about how I rationalize a task and evaluate how it would benefit myself and all parties involved, then work out how to go about it, execute on it / maintain my energy and enthusiasm, etc.. During this discussion the interviewer had further follow on questions, e.g. gave 2 scenarios and asked which I would choose to pursue and why. The case was also simplified, so after initial structuring and a math question - the interviewer re-focused the case towards ways to communicate a solution to the client, assuming the client didn't want to believe your solution.

2) For the second case it was a similar experience, with a "discussion" around personality instead of wanting to hear an example / story. Case-wise, after the initial structuring the interviewer directed the conversation towards the industry developments instead and we spent 15 mins discussing potential implications. (By way of background, I am applying for a generalist role so thought this was somewhat unusual).

In both interviews, Partners were rather conversational - directing questions / sub questions and also adding information as we went along, so the conversation flow was rather... well, conversational, as opposed to the abrupt "ask question-pause-think-answer" interviewer-led case flow I experienced in the first rounds.

Has anyone had similar experiences with McK? Not sure how I should interpret this, or whether this is a clear good / bad sign - keen to hear your thoughts if you had similar experiences. Cheers.

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Vlad replied on Apr 05, 2018
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Fit interview questions are the same at McKinsey interviews on both rounds (Why mck, why consulting, a story about you, 3 stories on competencies), however, partners may ask more tricky and unusual questions. Thus:

1) Make sure that you've prepared everything: A story about yourself, motivational questions and the three main stories - one for each of the skills the company wants to test you on - Personal Impact, Leadership, Achievement. Also, don't forget about your questions to the interviewer - you'd rather have an interesting conversation and score some point instead of a simple Q&A session

2) Then go through each story and think of the additional questions the interviewer may ask. It’s important since additional questions will take up to 50% of the interview. Try to remember the main details and facts and make sure that you know how to explain the key concepts quickly. Test your stories with your friends, ideally consultants, and ask for their feedback. There can be multiple groups of additional questions:

  • The interviewer may be interested in details about the context
  • He may want to check whether this was your effort or more sort of a team effort.
  • “Have you faced any difficulties while implementing your solution?”- Typically an interviewer would like you to tell him how you’ve overcome those difficulties.
  • Your interviewer will check how real your story is. You should be ready to provide even more granular actions, key milestones and a breakdown of potential effects.

3) Now work on 3-6 backup stories. During your interviews, you can then use these stories or adapt these stories to the additional questions your interviewer asks you.

You may be interested, why you need to prepare several stories for each question? At the end of the day, it's not that easy to come up with all of these stories. I've answered here:

4) Next step is talking to consultants. I recommend doing a couple of mock interviews, both case+fit. You can connect with consultants via friends, company events or even LinkedIn. Consultants are entirely opened to share their experiences, but the biggest problem will be the lack of time. Sometimes you’ll need to send a kind reminder to your request, but it pays off.

As for the cases - Partners and Directors have their own favorite cases and may even want you to lead the case. The key difference:

  1. You ask clarifying questions in the beginning and make a structure
  2. You lead the case through the structure you've prepared a) asking questions and trying to identify the root-cause of the problem in the branch of your structure b) making a transition to the next branch c) proactively calculating the data and making data-driven conclusion from the data they give you d) Making a conclusion when they ask you to finish a case

It may seem to you that these 2 types of cases are different, however, the interviewer-led type is just a simplified version of the interviewee-led case. My advice is to always prepare in the interviewee-led format so that you could solve both easily.


Anonymous B replied on Apr 04, 2018

Based on my experience, the partners tend to have a different interview style than in the first round just because they have more flexibility.

In my case, they asked many more questions focusing on understanding who the candidate is as a person, how they make decisions, etc. At the same time, the cases were less standard which meant either short if the discussion was really foscused on fit or more complex/less straightforward if the partner was recalling a case from their own experience

Francesco replied on Apr 05, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

the style you presented is not uncommon for final rounds. The difference between what you experienced in the first and final round is due to the fact that partners know you already went through a deep analysis of your problem solving skills, and are more interested in:

  • Your personality
  • Your fit with the company
  • Your communication and social skills

This implies you can have more fit questions asked, not necessarily related to one of the “standard” stories on leadership, impact, drive, but to test general aspects of the previous elements.

As for the cases, partners do not have to follow specific rules for them, thus can simply ask one of the most recent ones they had to deal with rather than the proper “structured” case you saw in first round.



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