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McKinsey - 1st round Interview

Actively preparing for interviews at McKinsey and BCG BCG McKinsey and Bain frameworks mckinsey I'm preparing to McK coming next week McKinsey & Company
New answer on Mar 01, 2022
8 Answers
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Simona asked on Feb 25, 2022

Hi everyone, I have to do the 1st round of McKinsey Interview, any hint about frequent topics of the business cases? (ex. market sizing, market analysis …)

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 27, 2022
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi Simona,

That is the wrong way to approach the McKinsey interview.

McKinsey has moved away from typical business cases and traditional frameworks as described in most case books and the focus is rather on creative cases and questions.

It is all about the process of how you arrive at an answer than about specific content. 

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
  • Deep
  • Insightful

You would need to go into detail and qualify your answer with practical examples and more details.

To come up with the framework you have 1-2 minutes (2 minutes is kind of a soft limit). Then, 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 at the end

Summing up the core differences of McKinsey cases vs. other firms, focusing of on the structure:

  • You have more time to think about it
  • You have more time to lead the interviewer through your structure
  • You need to go wide and deep to create an exhaustive and creative structure, whereas in BCG/Bain you rather need to be focused and quickly zero in on the key points where the problem of the case is most likely buried
  • Questions tend to be more creative and not suitable for classic frameworks, especially on the lower levels of the framework
  • Instead of drilling through your framework, in the end, to look for answers to solve the case, in a McKinsey-style, you need to discuss what part of your framework you would want to prioritize

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. 

Because of that you should focus your prep on the HOW much more than on the WHAT.

Let me know if you have more questions or check out the following two articles about McKinsey interviews:

  1. Case:
  2. PEI:



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Content Creator
replied on Mar 01, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Don´t focus on the topics/industries, but the “types” of cases. 

You need to be ready for everything, but covering the “classics” is always a good idea. 

In a nutshell:

1. Practice cases with partners asap, as many as you can do.Find experienced partners who can provide a good feedback

2. Practice your math skills, both in your cases and with ad hoc exercisess, such as:

1. ​Multiplying double digit numbers (

2. Leveraging math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

Furthermore, you should practice as much as you can, and ensure that you cover:

1. Profitability cases- basic profitability framework.

2. Idea generation cases: for any specif issue

3. Growth cases: market penetration, new product launch, product mix change, etc.

4. Pricing cases

5. M&A cases

6. Valuation cases

7. Value chain cases

Given you are under this much time contraint, consider working with a coach to foster speed and ensure you have a tailored plan to be very targeted. PM me interested!

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 27, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader

Hi Simona, 

in reality you can get any business case, but the truth is, market sizing are the most common, so you likely will have one on this, but prepare for any type of cases. 

I would recommend you:

1. familiar yourself with the type of cases you can get and check cases published on PrepLounge

2. Practice math!

3. Dont learn any framework by hard, understand rather how to structure a problem and form a hypothesis to prove/disprove with an analysis

4. Practice with peers and take a few sessions with a coach

Feel free to reach out if you need a coach to support you, I am rewarded as a top BCG trainer, training new hires all the consulting skills (including how we create frameworks), as well as experienced coach. 

Good luck!


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2022
ex-McKinsey EM & Interviewer | 7/8 offer rate for 4+ sessions | 90min sessions with FREE exercises & videos

Hi there,

More than the type of case (which is impossible to predict), it will be important to internalize some key elements:

  1. McKinsey cases are interviewer-led and based on specific questions
  2. You will be asked to build 2-3 structures (1x initial structure and 1-2x brainstorming structures
  3. All structures must be MECE and communicated top-down (can’t emphasize this enough)
  4. There will always be a graph/visual to be interpreted with a likely quantitative deep-dive

Try to stay cool (easier said than done), always be MECE, and to “over-communicate” top down everything you do!

If there’s anything specific you need help with, feel free to reach out! Best of luck!

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2022
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hey Simona,

My main recommendation is to stop focusing on what exactly you will face and rather just prepare for it all.

When you start to try to predict what will happen based on company, office, or interviewer, you're bound to be disappointed and, worse, be thrown off course!

Train yourself in approaching any problem in any situation in a structured, objective-driven way. 

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updated an answer on Feb 25, 2022
Ex-McKinsey |Former McKinsey Interviewer|Tailored Interview Prep| 7 years Teaching Experience

Hi Simona, 


There are no statistics on types of questions for the first rounds. But the first round questions are usually shorter and interviewers keep them around 25-35 minutes


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replied on Feb 26, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Hi Simona,

it could be any case. 

a) Most important know how a case interview is conducted and what is expected of you (what to ask when)

b) Learn how to communicate top-down, structuredly and in MECE ways

c) Practise what you can, in particular creating frameworks and making a recommendation

Best regards,


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replied on Feb 26, 2022
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

You will have all of that: market sizing, market analysis, branstorming, structuring, chart analysis, …. and it can be on any industry.

Honestly, don't try shortcuts here: you will have to do a comprehensive preparation, spending time on multiple topics. 

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Florian gave the best answer


Content Creator
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU
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