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McKinsey final round rejection: no «spikes»

Final Round McKinsey
New answer on Jun 30, 2023
6 Answers
617 Views
Anonymous A asked on May 08, 2023

I went through a several months long process with McKinsey for a risk management consultant position. Got a call from one of the partners, who told me that it was a close call but no. I scored «meets expectation» on all parameters but did not have any «spikes» both in cases and PEI. He recommended getting more experience specifically from handling difficult situations and encouraged to reapply again. Could you help me understand what are these spikes they are looking for? How can I prepare better next time? Do I really have to get more leadership experience, or did I undersell myself during the interviews?

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on May 09, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Sorry to hear about the rejection. In terms of your questions:

1) Could you help me understand what are these spikes they are looking for? 

Basically you did not have an excellent performance for any of the key evaluation parameters.

2) How can I prepare better next time? 

Unfortunately it seems they did not share the exact areas of improvement, so this is difficult to comment. You would need feedback on the part that should get better to understand which part exactly to focus on.

3) Do I really have to get more leadership experience, or did I undersell myself during the interviews?

This is not possible to know without knowing your stories, so it could be any of the two options.

Best,

Francesco

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Paul
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replied on May 09, 2023
PL-level BCG experience (6 years)|Interviewer at BCG| 6/6 personal + 95%+ candidates offer success rate

HI there,

regarding you questions.

1) Could you help me understand what are these spikes they are looking for? 

I side with Francesco here - I would really gun for more detailed insights if possible. E.g. reach out politely to the Partner (or HR) via mail and

- Restate your interest for the firm and intent to re-apply

- Ask him / her whether he has additional advices on the single performance axes for you to improve your profile and prepare to re-apply in the future 

2) How can I prepare better next time? Do I really have to get more leadership experience, or did I undersell myself during the interviews?

In general I would really 

1) hire a coach and establish a long-term preparation plan that enables you to really outshine the other candidates by building your “spike” on each tested performance axes

2) If you are serious about consulting in general - diversify by applying to many different firms that operate in your practice/vertical (risk). Also worth reaching out to people to understand best window to apply for each firm/geo/office (e.g. some geographies in freeze at the moment)

Hope this helps. Good luck in your journey!

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Cristian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 30, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Basically, in McKinsey, they expect that you're at least decent on all dimensions and that you're particularly good at certain things. 

As a consultant, my spikes were around client leadership and coaching. I was never patted on the back for being a good analyst or handling fancy models. It wasn't my thing. 

They look for the same in applicants during the recruitment process. 

Basically, reapply, but this time try to get a coach early in the process to identify what these spikes are and help you show them better. This is called strength-based development and it's in line with how McKinsey develops its people as well. 

Best,
Cristian

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on May 09, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Sorry to hear about the rejection, especially since you were so close.

Next time, hire a coach.

It sounds like you're missing the consulting way of thinking. My guess is that you've learned online and from peers, and so are good at getting through a case, but you don't know why you're doing it. You haven't learned the why and how of objective-driven thinking and solving problems like a consultant.

That said, that's my guess. None of us coaches can help you unless we personally give you a case and assess you.

If you really want to work at the best consulting firm in the world, invest in yourself to maximize your odds.

Another option is to get real world consulting experience via a pro-bono/experiential learning program (to see what a case really means)

Here's some reading to help: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-to-shift-your-mindset-to-ace-the-case

 

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Nicolas
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replied on May 09, 2023
30% off 1st coaching Promo | #1 Canada Coach | 10y+ Coaching & recruiting | BCG + Industry Executive | INSEAD MBA

Hello, 

This is not pleasant to hear, sorry that it is tough. 

No “Spikes” means that they didn't see specific areas where they were impressed, that stood out. To your point I think it has more to do with the way you portrayed your experiences and their impact during the interviews than the actual experiences themselves. 

 

When structuring PEI, I would recommend focusing on: 

- Actions taken and impact 

- What do you want THEM to take away from your story? Does it clearly come across and stand out when explaining it to someone without prior context 

- Avoid generalities but rather focus on what made THIS experience memorable and meaningful for you and your future contributions. 

Best of luck !
Cheers - Nicolas Vilmin

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Sophia
Expert
replied on May 10, 2023
Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge for 3 years| 6+ years of coaching

Hello,

Hmm, this is a difficult situation. A “spike” is an area where you really stand out. To get an offer, you generally need to be great across the board, but also stand out across a couple of dimensions (e.g., leadership, teamwork, problem-solving). If they didn't give you more details as to what you need to develop, I would continue trying to improve your candidacy (through experience, working on CV/resume, and practicing case/fit interviews) across the board.

Without knowing more about your background or talking to you, it's difficult to assess whether you lack leadership experience or whether you undersold yourself during the interview. The only thing we can objectively assess is that, since you got invited to interview, you must have passed the resume review, so your CV was good enough to get you an interview. 

Keep applying to other firms, and best of luck with the process!

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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