Get Active in Our Amazing Community of Over 400,000 Peers!

Schedule mock interviews on the Meeting Board, join the latest community discussions in our Consulting Q&A and find like-minded Case Partners to connect and practice with!

McKinsey Hiring Decision

Case Interview McKinsey McKinsey & Company McKinsey Final Round
Edited on Nov 30, 2023
7 Answers
1.5 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Apr 23, 2021

Hi,

So my question is, when making undergrad hiring decisions, I know the final round interviews are compared to see overall performance, however, is the difficulty of the case also taken into account?

For instance, I got two very tough and unorthodox cases in my round two, my friend on the other hand got straight forward business problems, does this make a difference?

Thanks!

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 24, 2021
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hey there,

In general, difficulty across all McK interviews should not deviate much since they are developed in specific sessions with coaches and calibrated to ask the same types of questions, have a similar difficulty level, and evaluate the same type of skills. This applies globally to ensure as much objectivity as possible.

Unorthodox could just mean that you did not 'feel at home' with the specific context of the case, which does not necessarily mean that the case or the specific case questions (structure, math, exhibit) were more difficult in nature, just not as business or traditional framework focused as you would expect (which is becoming a standard these days for McK). This is also the reason why I recommend and teach to work with a case, regardless of context, industry, or business problem instead of learning traditional frameworks of Cheng and Co by heart.

For more info on the specifics of the McKinsey interview, check out that article: https://strategycase.com/mckinsey-case-interview

Cheers,

Florian

Was this answer helpful?
Allen
Expert
replied on Apr 23, 2021
Ex-McK Experienced Hire and EM - I show you how to perform at your best

Yes.

The job of the interviewer is to assess how well the candidate met the critieria. The criteria describe what a good answer looks like, but it can never be 100% objective, so the interviewer has to apply some judgement, which should obviously take into consideration how difficult the question is.

If the cases are "tough and unorthodox" it might be less important to you to consider angles that you've never experienced, even if those are core to the case. Often the interviewer will push you to think of these or maybe even reveal them to you.

Just like in real life, tougher problems require more work, time, and resources.

Example: perhaps you've never considered how a certain governmental body is a key stakeholder, so you miss an important part of the case. Less significant than if you miss a key fixed cost, which is something you typically can figure out on your own even if you don't know the industry well.

Hope that helps.

Allen

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 23, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Yes, they do take this into consideration. That said, try not to use this as a crutch! Make sure that, in your preparation, you're testing your ability to react to any question. "Unorthodox" cases are becoming more and more common - this is exactly why I train all of my candidates to expect the unexpected.

Was this answer helpful?
Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 23, 2021
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Yes it will be. However it is a relative performance, so if a case is difficult for everyone then your performance will be judged accordingly. If however others found the case relatively easy then it impacts your score.

Best,

Udayan

Was this answer helpful?
Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 23, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hey there!

totally it will be taken into account.

while breaking the case, your task is to show your best performance and be able to present it to the interviewer. The interviewer will evaluate you then according to the citerias and consider as a factor the difficulty of your case.

if you showed your best - it will be appreciated as well.

good luck,

GB

Was this answer helpful?
Ken
Expert
replied on Apr 24, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

In my experience, case difficulty was never discussed explictly. Interviewers would sometimes caveat their observations (e.g., "the maths in my case is quite challenging but candidate x nailed it") but it is already assumed that interviewers will drive the case in order to calibrate performance.

Was this answer helpful?
Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Nov 30, 2023
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

McKinsey hiring decisions are taken on an individual basis. You either pass the interviews’ bar or not. However, there is typically a recruiting target to be achieved and in some exceptional cases, if your performance is not stellar, that might influence your hiring decision.

You can check how the recruiting process works from an internal MBB perspective here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/mbb-hiring-hacks-behind-the-curtain-secrets

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely