McKinsey Interview Framework

Case Interview McKinsey
New answer on Oct 08, 2022
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Oct 05, 2022


When presenting the framework part, how long should a good framework take? (I was given the feedback that my framework answer took 5 mins and it was too long)


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 06, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hi there,

5 minutes for a McKinsey structure is not too long at all as long as everything you are saying is adding value to the question.

Such feedback only comes from three types of people:

  • Peers who don't know any better
  • McKinsey mock interviewers who have never gone through the Firm's interviewer training
  • Case coaches who don't know any better

I think the misunderstanding might be in the difference between a framework derived for McKinsey vs. a framework created for other consulting interviews.

At the core, McKinsey wants to see creative ideas communicated in a structured manner, the more exhaustive the better.

Your goal should be to come up with a tailored and creative answer that fits the question. The framework should - broadly speaking - follow these three characteristics:

  • Broad
  • Deep
  • Insightful

In a McKinsey interview, you can take up to 6-8 minutes to present your structure, your qualification, and hypotheses. This is due to the interviewer-led format that McK employs. The interviewer will only ask 'what else' if you 

  • haven't gone broad or deep enough
  • did not explain your ideas well enough for them to stand out (again, you have time here)

The firm wants to see exhaustive and creative approaches to specific problems, which more often than not do not fit into the classic case interview frameworks that were en vogue 10 years ago...

Again, this only applies if everything you say

  • adds value to the problem analysis
  • is MECE
  • is well qualified
  • includes a detailed discussion of your hypotheses at the end

The difference in format and way of answering a question is the reason why I recommend preparing very differently for McK interviews vs. other consultancies.

You can read more about that here:



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Content Creator
replied on Oct 06, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

5 minutes is way to long!

You want to aim for 2-3 minutes. Ultimately, how you communicate it is way more important. You need to communicate in an objective-driven, structured, methodical, and clear and concise way.

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 08, 2022
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 200 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

I recommend that all my coachees take at least 1 minute, ideally 1.5 and not more than 2 minutes to structure their first answer. It's really important to present a very detailed, creative and structured response. 

When you're feeding back it is fine to speak for 5 minutes as long as you're not repeating yourself and what you're saying is pertinent to the case and question. McKinsey wants to see that you've thought through the answer comprehensively - you need time to do that! 

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replied on Oct 07, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach


It will generally depend on the case, but I would say that 2-3 mins is usually about the time you want to take to present your framework. That should be enough for you to cover 3-4 main buckets with some sub-buckets for each (on average - the optimal structure of course varies by case). Any longer, and it risks getting into the weeds too early on; any shorter and it is likely that you haven't thought it through to a sufficient level of detail.

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replied on Oct 06, 2022
Ex-Mckinsey (analyst->associate->manager) and now in tech (Bytedance) + Part time interview coach and mentor

Hey there,


Typically, after receiving and clarifying the given, you should take around 1min to structure your thoughts, followed by 1-2min to present your framework to the interviewer. 

Keep in mind that you are being tested on your ability to generate structures quickly and to present them in a clear and concise way. 


One potential reason why this is taking you longer is that you're going into all the details (e.g., in a profitability case structure, you are listing down all possible revenue streams you can think of and all cost items you can think of) whereas in reality, you don't really need to have 100% of the framework ready from the first few minutes of the case. You can cover the big buckets and give examples of sub-items within each. For example “I'll first go into revenues by estimating the various revenue streams such as coffee machines and dishwashers, to then drill down into both fixed costs (such as rent and insurance) and variable costs (such as transport and raw material)” 

You'll have enough time to reveal the various details throughout the case. That first walkthrough is just to validate the broader skeleton of the framework.


Hope this helps.



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