I passed the first round interview with McKinsey and was wondering:
a) If the final round is harder?
b) What are the expectations of partners? Do they focus more o PEI or Cases or both?
The feedback I got was that I need to find more solid and strong examples for the PEI. They said they were ok but that I needed to give more importance to what I did.
How do you suggest I practice and fix those?
Thanks in advance,
McKinsey Final Round
Overview of answers
a- No, they are same!
b- You may want to prepare better for fit questions. Here is my list. (bolded ones are priority)
- Tell me about yourself
- Why MBA at that point of career?
- Why Your school?
- Why consulting
- Why Our Company?
- What would you be doing as a consultant?
- What is the most important consulting skill?
- When did you demonstrate it?
- When was the time when you demonstrated team skills or team work?
- What was the most important thing you learnt in your earlier job? What skills did you gain in your earlier job which would prepare you for consulting?
- When did you have to work with data? How are your data analysis skills?
- Why should we hire you?
- Have demonstrated all 4 skills that you look for (use examples above)
- What is the most important thing I should know about you that I cannot learn from your resume?
- How would a friend or professor / colleague who knows you well describe you?
- What serves as your biggest motivation? What are the key metrics for measuring success?
- When did you receive constructive feedback?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Which boss / mentor has had a clear influence on you? What do you admire about your previous boss?
- Follow-up: Constructive feedback –
- How do you work in a pressure situation / short on time / short on resources
- What has been your biggest achievement?
- Link this answer to leadership / problem solving
- Tell me about a leadership experience
- Tell me about a time when you had to analyse data
- Tell me about a time when you had to analyse financial information
- Tell me about a time when you had to face a challenge
- Tell me about a time you have failed
- What are your short term and long term goals?
- Tell me about a time when you set a goal for yourself and what steps you take to achieve the goal?
- Describe a situation when you were unable to reach a goal?
- Tell me about a time when you overcame failure?
- Have you ever had to change your priorities to meet another person’s expectations?
- Tell me about the time you had to compromise
- Tell me about a time when you didn’t meet a deadline
- Tell me about a time when you had to multi task
- Tell me about a time when you had to adjust to a project schedule because you did not have enough resources
- Describe a situation in which you used different communication styles to influence stakeholders with differing perspectives
- Tell me about a time when you had to be assertive to get your point across
- Difficult situation that required careful communication (Crisis Management)
- Describe most rewarding customer experience
- Tell me about a time when you had to accept an unreasonable request from a client
- Dealt with a customer that tested your patience
- Tell me about a time you took a difficult decision and had to explain it to others / Tell me about a time you took an unpopular decision
- Tell me about a time you took a quick decision
- Tell me about a time when you identified a problem and then solved it
- Tell me about a time when you built a rapport with client / colleague
- Tell me about a time you resolved a conflict in a team
- Have you led a team where different members of the team do not work well together? How did you deal with this situation
- Describe a time you gave constructive criticism to someone
- Tell me how did you determine priorities / Handling multiple deadlines at the same time? How did you handle the situation
- How did you deal with ethical dilemmas?
- Team experience that you found rewarding / Tell me about you had to work in a team to accomplish your goal
- Team experience that you found disappointing
- Describe a situation when you were a member of a team (not leader) of a team and conflict arose. What did you do?
- Team member not pulling his weight. What did you do?
- What is important in a job environment?
- Why do you think you can put up with long hours?
- Tell me about your college experience
- What else do you do at school apart from studies?
- How do you manage stress in your life?
- Favorite Class and grade you got in it
- What do you read?
- Fun fact
- What do you hate the most?
- Favorite website?
- Tell me full names of people who interviewed you before
- Do you have any questions?
Congrats on reaching the final rounds. Great achievement!
The final rounds are not harder. It's the same format - 30ish mins for the case and the remaining 20 mins for PEI. The difference is that most of the times these are actual cases that the Partners interviewing you have solved, so they are usually more passionate and can expect more creative and out-of-the box answers from you. But your preparation should not really be that different for final rounds vs what you've done so far. Bottom line - don't stress about it!
For PEIs - I'm sure you know by now that McKinsey interviews go deep on the answer rather than going broad. It is critical that you flesh out 4-5 good stories that cover topics like Leadership, Conflict, Personal Achievement and Entrepreneusrhip. Usually, these should be sufficient to answer all questions.
One thing I ALWAYS recommend is to start with a headline for your PEIs. For instance, if someone asks about Leadership say something like 'A time when I showed leadership is when I did X despite Y which helped us achieve Z'. This has 2 important benefits:
1) It shows top-down and concise communication which helps you stand out from the remaining candidates
2) It gives the interviewer the chance to tell you to change the story if they don't find the right content. This saves you 5-6 mins of going down the rabbit hole and then being told to change the story, which can be very frustrating
I'd be happy to do a Final Round McKinsey Case with you and work on fine-tuning your stories before your interview. Please let me know if interested. Thanks!
Here is my perspective as an ex-Mckinsey consultant and part of recruiting team:
How do these interviews with the partners differ from the first round interviews?
Every partner discussion is different and the direction the conversation takes depends on role that you are interviewing for, feedback that the partner has got from earlier rounds and of course the Partner’s personality.
However, generally it is advisable to keep the following things in mind.
1) Are the cases delivered with the same style of precision and structure as the first round?
- A lot of times, the Partner round case discussions are less structured. Partners tend to give real life case from their experience or sometimes they can also pick a situation from the candidate’s CV, make a few changes and turn it into a case.
2) Is the Fit format consistent with the PEI, or do the partners take these conversations in different directions?
- Generally, Partners will hit fewer topics but will go much deeper. So they will ask you about something and then you should expect a lot of follow on questions. They really want to understand the full story.
Hope this helps.
The final round is similar to the first with its structure - FIT, case, questions to the interviewer. But Here you will be interviewed by partners. Specifically, the main difference you will find in a final round with partners is that at that stage they spend more time on fit questions and your alignment with the company.
For FIT in particular:
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!
First of all, congratulations for passing the first round interviews!
To answer your questions - final round interviews are not necessarily harder, I'd say they are just different. Whereas first round interviews at McKinsey are highly standardized (including cases), second-round interviews are much more diverse and will be focusing specifically on those areas in which you could not convince your interviewers to 100% in the first round interviews - so in your case the McKinsey PEI part. Moreover, cases from partners tend to be much more open-ended, are usually not standardized McKinsey interview cases, and require more insight.
Concerning your PEI feedback - it sounds a lot to me as if you did not really go into the details of your actions and even more importantly into your decision-making rationale. So first of all you need to sit down and think about your PEI examples you would like to use in your second round interviews (contrary to many believes, McKinsey does not appreciate the same examples again - it simply won't reflect well on your experience if there is just 1 single example for the PEI dimensions from your whole life, and furthermore it does not allow McKinsey to gain additional insight..). Then make sure you focus on specific situations inside those examples, and prepare the detailed actions and decision-making rationale for each step.
I answered a lot of questions also on my McKinsey PEI blog which might be useful for you (https://pei.consulting-case-interviews.com/blog); furthermore feel free to contact me for a coaching session to make sure your PEI examples will be living up to McKinsey's expectations.
Hope that helps!