McK Interview - Should I bring my own paper?

Case Interview Mck McKinsey McKinsey & Company Notes
New answer on Aug 14, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 30, 2017

Should I bring my own paper or will they provide paper during the interview to take notes?

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 30, 2017
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

at McKinsey they will always provide paper, and normally also collect your notes.

As for how optimize notes, my recommendation would be to keep the paper horizontal and divide it in 4 areas as reported below; when talking notes, you can then put the information in the appropriate box. Sometimes you would have to do back and forth, as you may get information, objective 1, additional information, objective 2, etc.

The areas on the left and on the top should be smaller to leave more space for the structure:

  • top-left: who is the client
  • bottom left: initial information
  • top right: objectives
  • bottom right: structure

After the first page, you could still divide the page in four parts. Left and right could now be at the same distance. Top areas should be smaller to leave more space for the structures:

  • top-left: name of the first area analysed
  • bottom left: structure for the first area
  • top right: name of the second area analysed
  • bottom right: structure for the second area

Hope this helps,


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updated an answer on Nov 30, 2017
Project leader BCG, Bain and A.T. Kearney / 200+ real interviews


Even though any firm will provide you with paper and a pen, I always recommend candidates to bring a notepad and a pen to a consulting interview.
I suggest bringing graph paper which helps a lot when drawing graphs, writing bullets points and making calculations; in addition to that, it shows major foresight. As an extra tip, turn the notepad to landscape orientation, because consultants use that arrangement in their presentations.
Bringing all the mentioned accessories plus resumes (just in case) in a professional-looking bag is a nice touch.

Good luck,



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Anonymous replied on Aug 14, 2020

Dear A,

During the case interview, you will be given a sheet for taking notes. Designate each sheet for each specialized task.

  • The datasheet is where you note down neatly and ideally, in a table format all information, data, provided by the interviewer throughout the case. If you have additional data as the result of analyses or calculations performed, put them into the datasheet too.

  • The presentation sheet is literally what you use when speaking to interviewers. For example, if you say: “… problem A can be broken down into B and C”, literally draw those on this sheet and point to each one as you speak.

  • Lastly, the scratch paper is there for anything else you need to write out in interviews’ brainstorm ideas, calculations, etc. The purpose of this sheet is to make the other two clear and neat. So you don’t have to worry too much about what you write here on this scratch paper.



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