expert
Expert with best answer

Robert

96% Recommendation Rate

296 Meetings

1,321 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

6

McK Interview Process

Hi,

I was wondering why actually the McK Interviews are perceived as the toughest interviews among all consulting firms? I mean, you have a clear structure in every interview having 4 questions consisting of structure, calculation, chart analysis and creativity question. In other consulting interviews you are not that prepared of what you can expect. What makes McK so hard then?

Hi,

I was wondering why actually the McK Interviews are perceived as the toughest interviews among all consulting firms? I mean, you have a clear structure in every interview having 4 questions consisting of structure, calculation, chart analysis and creativity question. In other consulting interviews you are not that prepared of what you can expect. What makes McK so hard then?

(edited)

6 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Robert

96% Recommendation Rate

296 Meetings

1,321 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

Absolutely fair point which you are making!

I usually tell my case interview coaching candidates (a bit jokingly though) that McKinsey is actually one of the most easiest firms on this planet to get in.

Why do I say this? To make fun of my coaching candidates? No, for sure not - I say this because I want to let them know one of the key issues on consulting interview prep, and it probably holds true in many many other occasions:

It's not always the smartest, brightest, best people landing offers at McKinsey.

It is actually those candidates who know how to prepare correctly.

Or in other words: mastering the McKinsey interview process is more a matter of diligent preparation, than being a genius (for sure you will need good business acumen and a logical way of thinking [a.k.a. being client friendly] - but this is far away from being a genius).

I specifically say that McKinsey is one of the most easiest firms to get in because there is hardly any other firm where you know in that much detail what exactly will happen in the recruiting process (as opposed to many other firms outside the consulting industry). There is no magic in solving case interviews and preparing for the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview) in a surefire way - it is mainly hard, highly disciplined work and lots, lots, lots of practice. (Or as someone else used to say: it is 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration, and not the other way round!)

Therefore, you have the opportunity to prepare for your McKinsey interviews accordingly - it is up to you to use it, but at least you have the opportunity. There really is more than enough prep material available to do all this, starting from basic knowledge like Victor Cheng, more focused material like my own for the McKinsey PEI as well as interview practice partners here at PrepLounge.

Most definitely McKinsey is a highly regarded brand not only from the client's perspective, but also on the job market. Therefore lot's of strong candidates apply at McKinsey, and they can choose quite freely amoung a very large pool of strong candidates, which makes the whole recruiting process really competitive (in conjunction with the general recruiting mindset that they rather like to err on false negatives than false positives) - but given all the opportunities for in-depth interview prep, I can't except a lot of excuses for not getting at least extremely close to getting an offer from McKinsey (yes, as with everything in life, there is no 100% guarantee whatever you will do in your prep).

Absolutely fair point which you are making!

I usually tell my case interview coaching candidates (a bit jokingly though) that McKinsey is actually one of the most easiest firms on this planet to get in.

Why do I say this? To make fun of my coaching candidates? No, for sure not - I say this because I want to let them know one of the key issues on consulting interview prep, and it probably holds true in many many other occasions:

It's not always the smartest, brightest, best people landing offers at McKinsey.

It is actually those candidates who know how to prepare correctly.

Or in other words: mastering the McKinsey interview process is more a matter of diligent preparation, than being a genius (for sure you will need good business acumen and a logical way of thinking [a.k.a. being client friendly] - but this is far away from being a genius).

I specifically say that McKinsey is one of the most easiest firms to get in because there is hardly any other firm where you know in that much detail what exactly will happen in the recruiting process (as opposed to many other firms outside the consulting industry). There is no magic in solving case interviews and preparing for the McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview) in a surefire way - it is mainly hard, highly disciplined work and lots, lots, lots of practice. (Or as someone else used to say: it is 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration, and not the other way round!)

Therefore, you have the opportunity to prepare for your McKinsey interviews accordingly - it is up to you to use it, but at least you have the opportunity. There really is more than enough prep material available to do all this, starting from basic knowledge like Victor Cheng, more focused material like my own for the McKinsey PEI as well as interview practice partners here at PrepLounge.

Most definitely McKinsey is a highly regarded brand not only from the client's perspective, but also on the job market. Therefore lot's of strong candidates apply at McKinsey, and they can choose quite freely amoung a very large pool of strong candidates, which makes the whole recruiting process really competitive (in conjunction with the general recruiting mindset that they rather like to err on false negatives than false positives) - but given all the opportunities for in-depth interview prep, I can't except a lot of excuses for not getting at least extremely close to getting an offer from McKinsey (yes, as with everything in life, there is no 100% guarantee whatever you will do in your prep).

Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

388 Meetings

7,316 Q&A Upvotes

USD 299 / Coaching

Hi,

I believe there is a number of reasons for that:

  1. In most of the locations McKinsey is the first choice for the candidates, so it creates a bias that it is tougher to get there. And if you don't get a McKinsey offer, you switch to the 2nd choice. In reality, it's all about being smart, prepared and lucky.
  2. Indeed, McKinsey interviews are more structure, though not always interviewer-led. I would prepare for interviewee-led cases in order to be able to approach both types successfully
  3. While McKinsey cases are more structured, McKinsey has a lot of unusual, social type cases (e.g. How will you approach developing a Bankruptcy Law?) and a lot of candidates get stuck
  4. McKinsey FIT interview part is the hardest among all the BIG3 companies. Personal Impact, Achievement / entrepreneurial drive, and even leadership stories create a lot of confusion for the candidates.

Hope it helps,

Best!

Hi,

I believe there is a number of reasons for that:

  1. In most of the locations McKinsey is the first choice for the candidates, so it creates a bias that it is tougher to get there. And if you don't get a McKinsey offer, you switch to the 2nd choice. In reality, it's all about being smart, prepared and lucky.
  2. Indeed, McKinsey interviews are more structure, though not always interviewer-led. I would prepare for interviewee-led cases in order to be able to approach both types successfully
  3. While McKinsey cases are more structured, McKinsey has a lot of unusual, social type cases (e.g. How will you approach developing a Bankruptcy Law?) and a lot of candidates get stuck
  4. McKinsey FIT interview part is the hardest among all the BIG3 companies. Personal Impact, Achievement / entrepreneurial drive, and even leadership stories create a lot of confusion for the candidates.

Hope it helps,

Best!

Few points to add:

- Mckinsey is NOT the hardest. They often seem the easier ones between BCG and Bain.

- Mckinsey cares a LOT more about "the mckinsey way". It's just a set of ambiguous soft skills (executive presence, charisma, etc) that you can't fake/learn overnight.

- Mckinsey also cares a LOT more (or pretends to at least) about the "soft issues". Look for Mckinsey 7S framework and use it to evaluate your solutions. Example, if your soln leads to people firing and you miss out stating a 'workforce job-hunting training' program as part of your response they'll not like that.

- they like to go very deep into the behavioral stuff. You'll be asked to take them into the very room a debate happened, explain who said what, analyze why s/he said it, your responses, your feelings, why, etc. Be ready for that - most fail here.

Hemant

Few points to add:

- Mckinsey is NOT the hardest. They often seem the easier ones between BCG and Bain.

- Mckinsey cares a LOT more about "the mckinsey way". It's just a set of ambiguous soft skills (executive presence, charisma, etc) that you can't fake/learn overnight.

- Mckinsey also cares a LOT more (or pretends to at least) about the "soft issues". Look for Mckinsey 7S framework and use it to evaluate your solutions. Example, if your soln leads to people firing and you miss out stating a 'workforce job-hunting training' program as part of your response they'll not like that.

- they like to go very deep into the behavioral stuff. You'll be asked to take them into the very room a debate happened, explain who said what, analyze why s/he said it, your responses, your feelings, why, etc. Be ready for that - most fail here.

Hemant

Book a coaching with Andrea

100% Recommendation Rate

129 Meetings

785 Q&A Upvotes

USD 269 / Coaching

This is a very interesting point of view and I heard it only a few times before (as I've actually heard that Deloitte interviews are the hardest after an article came out working out the math that it's easier to get into Harvard than Deloitte...).

that said, I think is a false myth and all top tier consulting firms are equally hard. Please mind that this doesn't translate to the fact that the recruiting and thus interview selection process is equally hard across firms. I think the perception of the latter gets confused with the former.

andrea

This is a very interesting point of view and I heard it only a few times before (as I've actually heard that Deloitte interviews are the hardest after an article came out working out the math that it's easier to get into Harvard than Deloitte...).

that said, I think is a false myth and all top tier consulting firms are equally hard. Please mind that this doesn't translate to the fact that the recruiting and thus interview selection process is equally hard across firms. I think the perception of the latter gets confused with the former.

andrea

Hey anonymous,

I think it's just an overall perception issue (I often compare with the generalized perception of McKinsey being more competitive and more arrogant people when compared with BCG and especially with Bain), rather than a given fact. Personally, I both prefer and find McKinsey style interviews easier to crack (disclaimer: I might be highly biased because in Pt both McK and BCG interviews tend to be interviewer led) because you just need to answer to questions, but I know several people which find exactly the opposite as they can have much more liberty and creativity in candidate led ones (in interviewer led, if you don't know the answer to a specific question there's no way you can try to go through a different path, you really need to address it!).

All in all, I believe it's just a big perception issue and easier/harder depends on the personal preferences

Best

Bruno

PS: not all McKinsey interviews have 4 questions though ;)

Hey anonymous,

I think it's just an overall perception issue (I often compare with the generalized perception of McKinsey being more competitive and more arrogant people when compared with BCG and especially with Bain), rather than a given fact. Personally, I both prefer and find McKinsey style interviews easier to crack (disclaimer: I might be highly biased because in Pt both McK and BCG interviews tend to be interviewer led) because you just need to answer to questions, but I know several people which find exactly the opposite as they can have much more liberty and creativity in candidate led ones (in interviewer led, if you don't know the answer to a specific question there's no way you can try to go through a different path, you really need to address it!).

All in all, I believe it's just a big perception issue and easier/harder depends on the personal preferences

Best

Bruno

PS: not all McKinsey interviews have 4 questions though ;)

Book a coaching with Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

39 Meetings

4,501 Q&A Upvotes

USD 209 / Coaching

Hello!

For the PEI part:

On top of the insights already shared in the post, 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.

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

Hope you find it useful!

Best,

Clara

Hello!

For the PEI part:

On top of the insights already shared in the post, 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.

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

Hope you find it useful!

Best,

Clara

Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.

1 Q&A

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 36.4k times
McKinsey Questions Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you achieving it? What is your typical way of dealing with conflict?
4.5 5 849
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you ... Open whole case

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 2.6k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 112
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 2.1k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.7 5 71
| Rating: (4.7 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Introduction and CV questions – FIT interview preparation

Solved 500+ times
Introduction and CV questions – FIT interview preparation During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 3 of the most common Intro & CV questions asked in FIT interviews:  1. Walk me through your CV 2. Tell me about yourself 3. Tell me about the thing that makes you most proud on your CV   *box-open green* *See Graph 1 – Note: "Intro & CV questions" are one of the 4 types of questions you can find in FIT interviews. *box-close* ➥ Graphs from the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB    
4.6 5 23
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 3 of the most common Intro & CV questions asked in FIT interviews: 1. Walk me through your CV 2. Tell me about yourself 3. Tell me about the thing that makes you most proud on your CV *See Graph 1 – Note: "Intro & CV questions" are one of the 4 ty ... Open whole case

Motivational questions – FIT interview preparation

Solved 400+ times
Motivational questions – FIT interview preparation During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 4 of the most common Motivational questions asked in FIT interviews:   Why Consulting? Why this particular company? (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, others) Why this particular location? *Particularly relevant to people re-locating or choosing an office not in their region Why this particular specialized business function *Only relevant when not applying for a general role (e.g., McKinsey Advanced Analytics, BCG Gamma, etc.) *box-open green* *See Graph 1 – Note: "Motivational" are one of the 4 types of questions you can find in FIT interviews. *box-close* ➥ Graphs from the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB
4.8 5 22
| Rating: (4.8 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 4 of the most common Motivational questions asked in FIT interviews: Why Consulting? Why this particular company? (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, others) Why this particular location? *Particularly relevant to people re-locating or choosing an office not ... Open whole case