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McKinsey BCG Brussels

Nicolas asked on Mar 10, 2018 - 7 answers
Interviewing for McK final round and BCG round 1

Hi

I have virtual interviews with the Brussels office of McKinsey as I am based in the US.

I wonder if there is any specific thing to thing to think about when it comes to virtual interviews? Any special Preparation?

Thanks!

Nicolas

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Sidi
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updated his answer on May 08, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

when I was a candidate, I had my first round with McKinsey as a video interview, since I was applying to an office on another continent. During my time with McKinsey, I then interviewed dozens of candidates via the Firm's Video Conference System for various offices across the globe. So here are a couple of points that I would recommend:

1. Be there early! It might take some time to get the Video Conference System going and you don't want to have the interviewer waiting at the other end (even if it is not your fault)

2. Remember to turn off or silence your phone before entering the McKinsey office. Shut out all distractions, and give yourself around 10 minutes to collect yourself.

3. If it helps you, a video interview gives you the opportunity to bring a "cheat sheet" with a couple of bullet points (e.g., PEI stories or framework elements or critical issues you want to highlight) and place it in a way that you can read it but it is not in the angle of the camera. Just don't stare at the page during the interview - this might feel odd.

4. Look directly into the camera! You might be tempted to look at the monitor or yourself, but focus on making eye contact with your interviewer via the camera.

5. When responding to questions from the interviewer, nod, but take a second before responding in case the connection is weak — so that you don’t end up talking over the interviewer.

6. Double-check your body language! A video interview has the advantage that you can see yourself. So it allows you to more easily keep an awareness on your body language and that you keep the right level of "projection" during the interview.

Cheers, Sidi

(edited)

Great reply Sidi- thanks. Is the cheat sheet really ok? Also how does it work wth exhibits in the video call? Are they pre printed or do they go up on screen? — L on May 08, 2018 (edited)

They are usually pre-printed and an assistant places an envelope for each interview on the table. Then, during the interview, the interviewer asks you to open the envelope with the corresponding exhibit. — Sidi on May 08, 2018

Francesco
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replied on Mar 10, 2018
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Hi Nicolas,

fit part and cases are similar to the standard ones in face-to-face interviews. Preparation should then cover the following:

Fit

You should prepare the standard questions on leadership, drive, impact plus questions about the firm; thus at the bear minimum the following ones, using a STAR or PARADE structure for the answer:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why consulting
  • Why McKinsey
  • Give me an example when you lead a team
  • Tell me about a time when you did not work well with a colleague/supervisor
  • Tell me about a time your idea was criticized
  • Why should I hire you

Case

Standard 30-minute case, as in face-to-face interview (profitability, M&A, market entry etc). It may be slightly easier to get a market sizing case, as this is simpler to deliver and follow in a videocall

Additional tips

Below you can find some additional suggestions:

# 1. Go the extra mile in the case when presenting what you think. This is important in face-to-face interview, but even more in phone/video interviews where the interviewer cannot see you or your notes. In short, this implies:

  1. Explain clearly upfront why you need some information. Eg don’t say “do we have information on price?”. Rather “In order to understand where the problem is on revenues, I would need to analyse price and volume for this segment. Do we have any information on how price and volume changed in the last year?”
  2. Present with numbers in a structured way each area you want to introduce. I would suggest to do that in two steps:
  • STEP 1: mention first the macro areas of your framework. “In order to help our client, I would like to focus on three main areas. Number 1 we may work on [FIRST TOPIC], Number 2 on [SECOND TOPIC], Number 3 on [THIRD TOPIC]. If this is fine for you, let me go deeper in each of them”
  • STEP 2: provide details for each macro point. “In area Number 1, this is what I would analyse. First, I would like to cover [FIRST STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]; second, I would like to focus on [SECOND STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]; next, I would like to work on [THIRD STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]. In area Number 2, this is what I would analyse. First,(…)”

# 2. Hang on the wall in front of you all the material you need (structures, tips for fit part, etc) – in this way you do not have to look for information on the go

# 3. Prepare your own questions. One thing many candidates neglect to do at this stage is to prepare their own questions. Relevant questions at the end are a great way to show your interest in the company and get additional points. In the first reply at the following post you can find some more information on the ideal type of questions to ask at the end of your call: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/open-house-at-bcg-311

# 4. Dress properly - as if you had a face-to-face interview

# 5. Prepare the place for the call - good internet connection and quite environment are must-have

# 6. Smile – it's the easiets way to show energy and is perceived even if there is no video

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Thank you Francesco for those tips, really insightful! — Nicolas on Mar 10, 2018

Vlad
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replied on May 08, 2018
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Hi!

A video interview is a bit harder since you have less personal contact. I would provide some general recommendations:

  1. First of all, come earlier to the conference room in a local office and check the connection
  2. You should be dressed the same as for the regular interview
  3. Don't hesitate to ask clarifying questions if there are problems with connection or you were not able to hear something
  4. Don't hesitate to explain in detail your structures and calculations since the interviewer needs to know what you have on paper
  5. Don't forget to look at the camera and smile - same as you do on a regular interview

Good luck!

Andrea
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replied on May 08, 2018
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I would strongly advice against using a cheat sheet for two reasons:

  1. Integrity - the fact that the suggestion elicits the question on whether this practice is acceptable should be a clear sign that probably is not deemed to be by at least part of the population. An ulterior litmut test would be to think whether you whip out said sheet during a live interview
  2. Consequences if caught - if someone notices said sheet and believes it constitutes cheating/unfair advantage, then you are very likely done with the company you are applying to for a long time (no 1-2 year hiatus between applications)

Hope this will help to choose to do the right thing,

Andrea

Originally answered:

Video Conference Interviews

Victoria
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replied on Jun 18, 2017
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Hi,

Yes - I train a lot of students on this. What to expect - questions are pre-recorded usually, depending on country you may have it via Skype, but usually webcam.

Couple of obvious things - look professional, make sure it is in quiet space with good wifi. Your bedroom usually works (tidy room though). Also make sure you will not get disturbed.

Less obvious - they are testing you on communication and structure. Practise questions such as: Why McKinsey, Tell me about yourself, etc. to have in bullet points (structure). They want to see a bit of personality - so make sure you smile occasionally and appear friendly.

This is a test to see how you can potentially speak with clients - you will have a ton of nerve racking situations on the job, this is a good test for strategy firms.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Victoria

Originally answered:

Video Conference Interviews

Tyrion Lannister replied on Jun 13, 2017
High-borns only! Targaryens preferred. Absolutely NO Lannisters! :-)

Dear Anonymous A,

I have some experience with this.

Aside from the usual tips that apply to an in-person scenario, I would advise that you rise above the technology:

try to release your personality even though your interviewer is hundreds of miles removed from you;

try to avoid the temptation of ALWAYS directing your remarks at the video image of your interviewer in the video feed as this is not making eye contact, instead, try from time to time to look right into the camera;

keep your hands on the table and in plain sight at all times (it reinforces credibility and confidence); and

be prepared to be just as efficient and disciplined at working with exhibits shown on your video screen (sometimes, this can be a little tricky) as you would with paper exhibits in front of you.

All the best to you.

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