McKinsey first round interview

McKinsey first round
New answer on Jan 26, 2021
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 26, 2021

Hi, I will have first round interview within next week With McKinsey for experienced Hire.

i've been practicing case for more than 20 cases now, and i feel like i can always answer the case, but never get it 100% correctly (excellent answer)

just wondering, will the McKinsey first round only pass people who literally answer excelently (flawless answer) or they still have room to pass candidate with let's say 80% answer correctly.

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Best answer
replied on Jan 26, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

Other than getting the math correct, there's no such thing as a 100% answer. Even if you do the math correctly, an "excellent" answer is one where the candidate is able to draw out meaningful implications which is not typical.

If you feel comfortable with the number of cases you have done, I would start to focus on how well you do in the three sections of a McKinsey case (structuring, quantitative thinking and conceptual thinking). Progressing from first to final round is about meeting the bar (which is definitely not 100%) in each section and ideally have more than one section where you stand out from your peers as a strength. McKinsey is a strengths based culture where if you are a candidate that is average all across then that could also be a reason why you don't progress.

Good luck!

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hey there,

In the McKinsey interview you will have to answer three different questions types - broadly speaking:

  • Structuring
  • Exhibit Interpretation
  • Math

Now for Structure and Exhibit Interpretation, there is no right or wrong answer. Some answers are better than others because they are

  • deep
  • broad
  • insightful
  • hypothesis-driven
  • follow a strong communication (MECE, top-down, signposted)

That being said, there is no 100% that you can reach or the one-and-only solution/ answer. It is important that your answers display the characteristics specified above and supported well with arguments.

As for Math questions, usually, there are answers which are correct (not always 100% the same since some candidates simplify or round differently - which is ok), and others that are wrong, either due to the

  • calculation approach
  • calculation itself

Now, for the interviewer, the overall picture counts. Mistakes in one area need to be balanced by a strong performance in other areas. McKinsey wants to see spikes in performance in certain areas and a good enough performance in other areas.

The most common example I see almost every day: You can be strong in structure and exhibit, yet make a small mistake in the math section - overall as you might consider 80% - and still pass on to the next round.

That being said, I specialize in the McKinsey interview format with 5 years of recent experience and am happy to help out if you need an honest and effective perspective on your performance.



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Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

It depends on what you mean by 80% correct answer.

If you mean you are brainstorming 4 points out of the 5 the interviewer wants: yes, you can definitely move to the next round.

If you mean 80% of the math is correct – no, probably you won’t be able to move to the next round.



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Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

there is no such things as flawless or excellent answer. It is important that you do your maths right and give reasonable and uncommon solutions for the case.



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Anonymous replied on Jan 26, 2021

Hi A,

congrats on securing your invite!

For the first round, it will be imperative you leave strong impression on the interviewers to make them pass. Within the case sphere, this means

  • A detailed (possibly 3-level) and tailored (non-framework) structure for the case they give you
  • Correct math
  • Synthesis and contextualization of information during the case
  • A top-down recommendation based on what you found out (state answer first, then relevant reasons)

What most candidates neglect is the importance of the personal part of the interview. Make sure to prepare your PEI well, it's equally important!



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replied on Jan 26, 2021
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Based on what you are saying, looks like it's the very beginning of a journey for you.

The case is not about 100% correct answer. It's about the process, communication, etc. Thus. it's really hard to assess your performance based on what you are saying. But 20 cases is usually not enough. Try to do at least 20 more, with great partners who can give you qualified feedback.

Here is what's being assessed:


1. Structuring

-Initial structure

-Structuring through the case

-Business judgment

2. Math

-Calculations – a) correct b) efficient c) fast

-Analyzing charts and tables

3. Creativity

-Structuring creativity questions

-Business judgment

4. Conclusions / communication

-Synthesis through the case

-Final recommendation


1. Your background and Motivation

-Tell me about yourself / walk me through your resume

-Why Consulting?

-Why Company

2. Key competencies (stories)


-Conflict / Persuasion / Personal impact

-Achievement / Entrepreneurial drive

3. Other questions (Interviewers favorite questions)

-Strengths / weaknesses

-Biggest failure, etc

4. Your questions to the interviewer


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Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

From Francesco and Ken answered best.

Fundamentally, you have to have made them think "I think I could work with this person".

I.e. You should have demonstrated the potential to think critically, communicate clearly, be coachable/adaptable, and be driven/talented.

If you meet the above criteria but had some slipups, you could very well move onto the next round for them to confirm/check if you're good enough.

Please please please don't focus on just "Did I get the right answer". There is so much more to casing than can "ace the case" and still come nowhere close to moving on to the next round. (if you didn't exhibit other important traits).

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


1st of all, congrats on the interview!

To your question, a flawless performance is not needed -I myself made math mistakes in my interviews-.

On top of the business case, and particularly for hte fact that you are an experienced hire, you should prepare FIT carefully. The "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (

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.

Furthermore, you can find 3 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

Intro and CV questions >

Motivational questions >

Behavioural questions (ENTREPRENEURIAL DRIVE) >

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch!

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2021
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching


Thanks for providing context to your question.

I tend to agree with the other coaches in saying that there is no "perfect" answer. There are indeed several additional variables that matter: the reasoning behind your statements, the actionability of your insights, the ability to communicate them, etc.

If you're now confident with your case prep, do invest time on your fit prep, which is equally important.

Hope this helps.



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Ken gave the best answer


Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach
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