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McKinsey Imbellus: is it go/no-go?

Recent activity on Feb 04, 2021
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Anonymous A asked on May 12, 2020

Hey there!

I may have to take the McK Imbellus test next week. The application is for a McK office in Europe.

Three quick questions on this:
1) Is it really true I can not study for this test or is there some material (e.g. mock tests, etc.) that can help me?
2) Is it a go/no-go step in the application process or does it just give an additional indication for the selection?
3) What's the outcome of the test for McK: is it a psychological profile of the candidate or is it more a number indicating my ability in this context?

Thank you so much for your help!


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replied on May 12, 2020
FREE 1st session in November | From Lawyer to MBB | Top in FIT | 10x your structuring skills | Message to get Free Prep Checklist


Whilst you don't have to be a gamer to perform well, the game will certainly test your problem solving ability and your ability to navigate in challenging circumstances.

Which skills are tested?

The game records all of the candidate’s actions (e.g., every movement of the mouse, time spent to choose an action) and uses machine learning to assess candidates’ way of thinking. It’s as much about how close candidates come to the best solution as about how they tackle the problem through. During the game McK assesses 5 cognitive abilities that are critical for a career in consulting:

  • Critical thinking: the ability analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment
  • Decision making: the ability to select the best course of action among several options
  • Self-awareness: the ability to self-assess
  • Situational awareness: the ability to be fully aware of your surroundings at all times, allowing you to react effectively
  • Systematic thinking: the ability to understand different parts of a system and how they work together through cause/ effect relationships

How to cultivate these skills?

Let’s break down each skillset and find ways to improve.

Critical thinking could be broken down into the following subskills:

  • Think about a topic in an objective and critical way
  • Identify the connections between ideas and working out whether the evidence provided supports those ideas or not
  • Evaluate a point of view to determine how strong or valid it is
  • Recognize any weaknesses that there are in the evidence or argument
  • Notice what implications there might be behind a statement
  • Provide structured reasoning and support for an argument that we wish to make

In order to improve your critical thinking I would suggest using mind mapping technique. It exploits the fact that our brains process information visually much more effectively than they do when it’s presented in a written document.

The idea behind mind mapping is that you start with a central theme or idea, typically drawn in a box in the middle of the page, and then from that you create branches, which lead to other ideas, or to supporting evidence or ancillary information.

Decision making could be broken down into the following subskills:

  • Establishing a positive decision-making environment
  • Generating potential solutions
  • Evaluating the solutions
  • Deciding
  • Checking the decision

In order to improve your decision making skills I would suggest that you start applying it to your everyday life situations and start developing small decision making frameworks for each situation (e.g. going to the shop)

Self-awareness could be broken down into the following subskills:

  • Monitor Your Performance
  • Seek Out Feedback and Then Use It

The best way to improve your self-awareness is to reduce your EGO barrier and blind spots. You can read Ray Dalio Principles for more details.

Situational awareness could be broken down into the following subskills:

  • Identifying the baseline for the situation you are in
  • Recognizing any variations to the baseline

In order to improve your situational awareness I suggest that you take typical life situation and:

  • Monitor the Baseline. At first, this will require concentration effort. But after a while, you will find that you can monitor the baseline subconsciously
  • Fight Normalcy Bias. This requires you to be paranoid for a while as you develop your skill. Look at every disturbance to the baseline - this will allow you to stop ignoring or discounting any factors

Systematic thinking could be broken down into the following subskills:

  • Identifying all the elements in the system
  • Understanding the correlations between the elements

This skill could be largely improved by solving business cases.

ALSO I suggest that you should start investing your time into playing different computer/mobile game, where you can practice applying these skills.

Hope it helps!


Anonymous replied on May 12, 2020

Dear A,

You will be given 1 hour to make your test. To get more information, ust keep in mind following tips for the Digital Assessment.

  1. Focus on the process
  2. Follow time tracking. It is easy to get lost in the details and the sheer complexity of information overload the test presents.
  3. Look into the key skills that are being assessed by Imbellus and if you find any weaknesses - then work on them in advance.
  4. Get ready to make 80/20 decisions based on incomplete information. Likely you won’t reach the best answer within 60 minutes, however, you should reach a good answer, demonstrating a clever problem-solving strategy along the way.
  5. Take notes of your observations on the mechanics of each scenario so that you can analyze it.
  6. Get comfortable to calculate with pen and paper math.
  7. Enjoy

Hope it helps,


Content Creator
updated an answer on May 12, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


To your questions:

  1. Some info:
    1. t's a gamified test
    2. Divided into 2 games, 1h to complete both of them:
      • 1st one is a game about keeping an ecosystem balanced
      • 2nd one is a defense game

It´s fun and there is not really a "way" to prep for it My advise would be to be fresh when you do it and pick a right enviroment -during my BCG test in their office there was construction in the patio and the screen was even shaking-. The only thing that could indeed help you prep are logic test or games (GMAT perhaps, or some MENSA tests)

2. Yes, in most cases yes it´s a go/no go. Exceptions can be people that come from special events such as the Atrévete, where very strict pre-screening has been pre-conducted

3. It´s certainly not a psicotecnic test, but something similar to the GMAT: giving an estimation about how well you would do in a consulting role

Hope it helps!




Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 04, 2021
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached



I have had the chance to follow several candidates taking this test and I have written (together with them) a detailed guide on how to successfully approach Imbellus test.

The guide includes:

  • Detailed hands-on strategy to ace the Imbellus
  • Excel model with an algorithm to solve the first scenario
  • Hands-on example and practical tips to crack the game

On top of that, you will receive an interesting paper on Imbellus valuation metrics and a coupon code for a session with your purchase!

Feel free to text me if you are interested. You can find a screenshot of the excel model below.



Content Creator
replied on May 13, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1) You can't study, but if you are good with strategy games - it will be easier

2) It's a go /no go, but the bar is dynamic. In the current times of economic downturn its much higher. Same was with PST btw


Content Creator
replied on May 12, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there

1) There really isn't any material on it (it's an immersive simulation, so hasn't been replicated). However, there is a good Q&A here on what to keep in mind:

You should prepare to be open-minded, flexible, turn on your problem-solving, and pay careful attention to the time + instructions

2) It gives an additional indication

Anton gave the best answer


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