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Mckinsey Final round in Europe

LIZ asked on Nov 15, 2018 - 3 answers

Hello all,

Anyone could share views especially real experience on questions for 2nd round Mck interviews?

1. PEI
- What questions would be expected apart from the PEI stories? (like tell me about yourself? .. and?)

2. Case
- any focus or types of case? (I got feedback that need to work on my structure. So, how to focus on improving my structure?)
3. Other things that Partners valuate more ?

Thanks in advance!

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Someone updated his answer on Nov 15, 2018

Hi Liz,

Congratulations on the upcoming interview!

I’ve tried to answer each of your questions in turn based on my experience of interviewing with McKinsey last autumn:

1) PEI

The types of PEI questions you’ll be asked don’t differ between the first and second round. Similarly to the first round, the aim of each PEI question is to demonstrate one of the four skills McKinsey is looking for:

• Leadership

• Personal Impact

• Entrepreneurial drive

• Problem-solving

You can expect the questions to take the following form:

  1. Leading others (22%) - Tell me about a time you led a team through a difficult challenge. Getting a bunch of people – who disagree – to agree on one idea enough to actually do it, and do it successfully
  2. Managing a team conflict (22%) - Tell me about a time you worked in a team and had to manage a conflict (where two or more people disagree on what to do next and each tries to influence the other)
  3. Managing a personal conflict (21%) - Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a colleague/boss
  4. Influencing others (17%) - Tell me about a time you changed the mind of a group of people / an individual 5. Overcoming challenges
  5. (11%) - Tell me about a challenge you had to push yourself hard to overcome
  6. Other (7%) - Includes questions such as "Why consulting?", or "Why this firm?"

Basically, the model is: "Give me an example of some really screwed up situation involving a lot of people that you successfully resolved."

This information was taken from the following blog (definitely worth checking it out):

https://igotanoffer.com/blogs/mckinsey-case-interview-blog/mckinsey-pei-how-to-impress-your-interviewer

Expect to be pushed a little harder on the details of your stories. It is also OK to reuse stories that you used in the first round of interviews.

2) Case

From what I recall, the difference in difficulty between the first and second rounds was not significant. However, in the final round, there is less leniency when it comes to making mistakes (e.g making math errors, using generic structures or not communicating your thought process clearly).

It likely that you could be given a slightly unusual case (maybe in terms of the market being analysed or problem that the client is facing), meaning structuring correctly is crucial. In order to practise this skill, I would recommend the following:

  1. With a case partner or coach, go through the opening of 10+ cases in quick succession (repeating the original question back, asking clarifying questions and then structuring in under 60 seconds). Make sure to review your answers once you’ve finished the session.
  2. Read FT articles (or similar) and draw out structures for how you would solve the given problem being discussed or analysed (it's harder to check if your solution is correct but it allows you to practice more obscure problems)

3) Other things Partners evaluate

I’m not a 100% sure but I believe all interviewers (partners or not) use the same criteria to evaluate candidates during the interviews. However, it’s worth noting that developing a personal connection with the partner, and demonstrating you're a good 'fit' for the firm, is critical in a final round interview.

(edited)

Someone replied on Nov 17, 2018

Liz,

I largely agree with Harri and Vlad but would build on their comments with the following.

1. During the PEI part of the interview, there are several secondary reads that the interviewer looks for in addition to the ones that Harri listed, including:

  • Teamwork: Has the candidate shown deep insight into the whole team effectiveness and taken action to improve it (e.g., actively coaches, resolves conflict)
  • Empathy: Does the candidates behaviors, plans and actions demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the thoughts and feelings of others?
  • Learning: Does the candidate show an sufficient level of intellectual curiosity and extract learnings from experiences?

2. For the Case part of the interview, partner cases can be quite different in the case itself and the evaluation. Early round interviewers use that years live, stock cases and have gone through interview training where they are trained to score on specific attributes. Partners are looking through the lens of how does the candidates performance translate into how he/she would perform in front of clients (e.g., my 15 year client X). Partners uses cases a) that they have used through the years, b) that are a version of current projects that they are working on or c) based on current events.

3. Probably the most important part of the interview for the Partners is "Why McKinsey" and "Why Consulting" to a little lesser degree. Partners and Senior Partners have been at the Firm for a very time and consider it a very special place. They want to know why you want to join their special place. They want to see that you've done research and know the real differences between McKinsey and BCG/Bain for instance. Answers like McKinsey has a great brand, is very diverse, has great people programs and has great client impact are not great answers because other firms can easily claim that as well.

Hope that helps!

Vlad replied on Nov 15, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

In the final round, I would expect a bit more structured and demanding approach to the fit part. The partners in the last round are more experienced and they will challenge every single detail of your story. So make sure that you have a couple of backup stories. Thus:

1) Make sure that you've prepared everything: A story about yourself, motivational questions and the main FIT stories. Also, don't forget about your questions to the interviewer - you'd rather have an interesting conversation and score some point instead of a simple Q&A session

2) Then go through each story and think of the additional questions the interviewer may ask. It’s important since additional questions will take up to 50% of the interview. Try to remember the main details and facts and make sure that you know how to explain the key concepts quickly. Test your stories with your friends, ideally consultants, and ask for their feedback. There can be multiple groups of additional questions:

  • The interviewer may be interested in details about the context
  • He may want to check whether this was your effort or more sort of a team effort.
  • “Have you faced any difficulties while implementing your solution?”- Typically an interviewer would like you to tell him how you’ve overcome those difficulties.
  • Your interviewer will check how real your story is. You should be ready to provide even more granular actions, key milestones and a breakdown of potential effects.

3) Now work on 3-6 backup stories. During your interviews, you can then use these stories or adapt these stories to the additional questions your interviewer asks you.

You may be interested, why you need to prepare several stories for each question? At the end of the day, it's not that easy to come up with all of these stories. I've answered here: Repeating Fit Interview Stories

As for the cases - Partners and Directors have their own favorite cases and may even want you to lead the case. The key difference:

  1. You ask clarifying questions in the beginning and make a structure
  2. You lead the case through the structure you've prepared a) asking questions and trying to identify the root-cause of the problem in the branch of your structure b) making a transition to the next branch c) proactively calculating the data and making data-driven conclusion from the data they give you d) Making a conclusion when they ask you to finish a case

It may seem to you that these 2 types of cases are different, however, the interviewer-led type is just a simplified version of the interviewee-led case. My advice is to always prepare in the interviewee-led format so that you could solve both easily.

Answering your 2nd question - notes are not shared

Best

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