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Mckinsey interview doubts

McKinsey
New answer on May 21, 2024
6 Answers
177 Views
Anonymous A asked on Apr 25, 2024

Hello,

I have some some questions regarding the McKinsey interview format.

First question: Usually in Mckinsey cases (at least on their website) the prompt is divided into “Situation description” and “McKinsey study” and “Question”, where the firsts are more broad and the last is the specific question where we should develop the framework.

After they read the first two parts, will they give me time to ask the typical clarifying questions? Or should I wait for them to read the "Question"? Because often it is difficult to understand if they already read the whole prompt or not, and asking the clarifying questions before having all the prompt feels like I'm not being as specific as I could. Perhaps asking questions on both phases is possible?

 

Second question, how much time is “acceptable” to take between the typical brainstorming questions for the mck format? Often I feel like I could have more ideas but I seem to not want to take more than 1 minute for this.

 

Thank you for attention!


 

(edited)

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 25, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

It kind of depends on the interviewer. Some would rather have questions after the whole prompt, others give you room to ask in between. Either way, making this a conversation is never regarded as a negative, so you're fine with asking questions.

Regarding how much time… what really matters is having a good answers, how long it takes is completely secondary. Of course, if you take 2 minutes, there's an expectation that you will go deeper and are able to provide more detail. But there's no set time limit. What is critical is that you can make this look like a “real” conversation and “real” joint problem solving activity.

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 25, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

These are great, targeted questions. 

On the first one:

Yes, most interviewers read the full prompt. Others will actually take breaks in between to ensure that you follow - it depends on the style of the interviewer.

But regardless of how they do it, you can always ask questions. Unless you missed out a critical part of the prompt, it's best to ask the questions at the end. 

On the second one:

Yes, the 1 minute mark is the typical one. 

But more important is to ensure that you have a good answer. So if you feel like you need more time, take it. Yes, the expectations of the interviewer will increase, but it's still better than giving an answer that you know yourself is not great.

Good luck!
Cristian 

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Regarding questions, interviewers tend to prefer to finish the prompt before asking the questions. So generally let interview finish and ask 2-3 clarifying questions if needed.

Regarding time to structure your brainstorming answer, take the exact time you need to come up with a good and structured answer. 30-60 seconds should be enough but take more if you feel you need it.

Best,

Alberto

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

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 26, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) Will they give me time to ask the typical clarifying questions? Or should I wait for them to read the "Question"?

This might depend on the interviewer. In general, I would recommend waiting until they have provided the prompt and asked the question before asking clarifying questions, unless you missed something critical that would compromise your understanding of the rest of the prompt/question.

2) How much time is “acceptable” to take between the typical brainstorming questions for the mck format?

It depends on the question, but in general, 1 minute should be enough time to properly structure most brainstorming questions during the case. There is no strict rule in terms of time, so if you need more time, I would recommend taking extra time in order to provide a better answer.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 21, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your questions:

  • First of all, I would highly advise you not to overthink this. It is generally accepted and even expected to ask clarifying questions, either right after the prompt or after the interviewer presented the first question, depending on the situation.
  • Moreover, regarding the time for brainstorming questions, I would highly advise you to use the time needed to generate meaningful ideas, especially if it enhances the quality of your solutions.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming McKinsey interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Santiago
Expert
replied on Apr 25, 2024
Ex- Consultant at Mckinsey (With Offer from BCG too) | Expert Case Coach | Passionate for Case Studies

Hi! I've been at McKinsey as a consultant and I'm a coaching expert on the matter. I hope this is helpful in better understanding the case structure

  1. Clarifying Questions: It's typical to ask clarifying questions after the interviewer presents the entire prompt. However, if unsure, it's acceptable to ask clarifying questions after each section.
  2. Brainstorming Time: Aim to spend around 1-2 minutes brainstorming ideas, focusing on quality over quantity. Prioritize impactful ideas and mention you have more to discuss if time allows.
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Pedro gave the best answer

Pedro

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