McKinsey Interview Insights

germany MBB McKinsey
New answer on Aug 12, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 07, 2020

Hi All,

I had my first round with McKinsey Germany earlier this week and wonder if anyone here has experienced the same interview process or has heard that someone has gone through the same/ similar process.

I was invited to the first round zoom interview through phone call and I immediately scheduled the date to be in 2 weeks from that time. The recruiter mentioned that my first round will only consist of 1 interview and Imbellus Game, and will be conducted by a consultant from a specific practice that I applied. I didn’t get any formal invitation for a zoom interview and any Imbellus Game information until 3 working days before my interview date – After I sent an Email to HR asking specifically about it. What’s odd about it is that my interview partner is HR, not a consultant. I decided to not bring this up before the interview as it was already 3 working days before my interview.

On the day of the interview, HR explained the whole interview process that includes PEI and Case – The usual interview standard at McKinsey. PEI went well, then as it came to the case interview, especially after I explained my structure (my logic on how to solve this problem), this HR asked me to lay down all the possibilities or all the possible components of profit driver tree. I found this so odd, but I drilled this driver tree until 2 stages deeper and basically said what could be the relevant factors and components. She kept saying, “Is there anything else missing?”. Normally if the interviewer says this, he/she is waiting for a specific answer. It was not in my case, in fact, she kept asking me the same question as we went through every driver and sub-driver of the profit driver tree.

She did not end the case by answering the case question. I did bring up this issue directly on the Q&As after the case interview and she just said that it is one of the ways to end a case.

I got rejected yesterday with feedbacks that I should have detailed my structure furthermore and should be more knowledgeable in the airline industry (It was an airline case).

I found my case to be extremely odd and personally unpleasant for me, especially after all the cases and PEI preparation. Any insights are highly appreciated.



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Content Creator
updated an answer on Aug 07, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate


Thanks for sharing your experience - it's important for others to see this and for you to learn from it!

I think this point of yours is the most interesting: "I found my case to be extremely odd and personally unpleasant for me"

If you want to succeed in not just recruiting, but also real-world consulting, you need to suck it up.

Sorry to be so blunt, but once you join MBB you WILL have some projects that are horrible. You WILL have some unbearable clients. You WILL have a manager/partner that is incredibly demanding, seemingly changes their mind, doesn't articulate clearly, etc.

(^not all projects/clients/managers, but enough)

In both consulting and interview preparation you need to be ready and prepared for any scenario.

This is why I teach "learning how to learn". Memorizing frameworks, planning for a specific, standardized process, etc. is not the way to approach interviews! I am very sorry that you learned this during your Mckinsey interview, but luckily you can move forward from here with your learnings.

Two final points:

1) McKinsey interviews are notorious for being particularly tough/demanding/"mean"

2) You definitely missed a key part of the structure, so unfortunately they were indeed waiting for a specific answer

The greatest accomplishments come from temporary defeat. Learn from this and move forward!


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Anonymous replied on Aug 12, 2020

Dear A,

In all honesty, "sheet happens. Even to the best of us"

I could have provided you very detailed insight what you have done right and wrong in that interview, but it's not result-oriented. So the best way would be tp forget about this interview and to focus on other application processes.

Just turn this page and work on your negative attitude and think on how to transform it to the positive one.

If you need any help in securing the offer next time, drop me a line, I'm happy to help you,


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Anonymous B replied on Aug 07, 2020

Hi Anonymous

I know several candidates who went through the McK hiring process recently and they all noticed that HR/Recruiting are playing a far more active role than consultants in the current time. It could be for various reasons example as hiring and work inflow slows - HR have more time or McK considers it inappropriate to involve consultants who may have been 'on the bench' for a few weeks/months and trust them to make impartial hiring decisions

Secondly - on your interview itself. Based on what you said it is clear that you missed a high level and crucial point in your structure which combined with a lack of exceptionally well performance in other areas led to the rejection. This is very common

My suggestion now is learn from the experience and prepare smarter for the next interview ideally over the course of 2-3 months with help from an experienced coach. Sorry to say but it does seem like your prep was inadequate. Remember preparation is not about quantity but quality! No amount of practicing with inexperienced candidates will equal structured preparation with an experienced interviewer


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Anonymous C replied on Aug 07, 2020

Do you have more details ? What was the case question, what was your structure/components and did you get a feedback of what was this important piece you missed ?

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Ian gave the best answer


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