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Mckinsey Interview Prep

Actively preparing for interviews with McKinsey
New answer on Oct 25, 2020
5 Answers
1.3 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Oct 02, 2020

Hi All,

When preparing for Mckinsey interviews, do I specifically prep with "Interviewer led" case masterial or prep all case types?

Many Thanks!

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 02, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

tl;dr: If you are able to solve candidate-led cases, you will be also able to solve interviewer-led cases (actually perceived a bit easier for most candidates, although there are slightly different challenges involved at the same time).

In slightly more detail:

Candidates in general worry too much about the differentiation between interviewer-led and candidate-led cases.


  1. Also at interviewer-led cases you typcically begin with an overall structure for your case > so no big difference here.
  2. At interviewer-led cases, you are also required the 4-6 smaller chunks inside the case > so no big difference here as well.

Therefore, even if candidates interview at McKinsey, I do more candidate-led cases in the first coaching sessions, before slowly moving to interviewer-led case format. It's essential to be able to navigate through a whole case yourself in the first place, and once you master this skill, you can do that 'easily' inside the smaller chunks of a typical McKinsey interviewer-led case. But yes, it's definitely helpful to also (!) practive interviewer-led cases to feel and better understand the different dynamics involved!

Btw., the typical interviewer-led case format shows up in all rounds, but even more in first rounds since those are mostly pre-defined cases following that structure. Final rounds with partners can be similar but they tend to do whatever brings the most value and insights for them, so don't be surprised if that feels different.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 03, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


There is only one thing that I want to add to this topic: please forget about it!

It only gets interviewees suuuuper confused and goes against their performance.

A case is a business problem that you need to solve, the best that you can, and the quickest. Period! That is all you need to think about.

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Oct 03, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

No! Just solve cases! Don't worry about this difference.

Fundamentally, every case is candidate-led. That's because, even if the interviewer is "leading" the case, you're still driving it! No matter the case type you need to:

  • Understand the objective/question
  • Have a framework and approach for solving the problem
  • Know why you need an exhibit/data when you receive it
  • Whether you decide you want to solve for x, or you get solve to solve for x, you need to understand if x is big, small, good, it affects the answer!

So, just solve cases and make sure you learn to drive them yourself!

Think of it like a bike. Candidate-led is without training wheels. Interviewer-led is with training wheels. Regardless, you need to peddle and aim the bike where you want to go! And, regardless, you may as well learn without training wheels.

Note: McKinsey "training wheels" don't make it any easier :P

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Anonymous replied on Oct 02, 2020

Having successfully gone through both processes as a candidate, I can say that the actual interview experience does not feel so different. There are certain logical steps that the interviewer will take a bit more control of during the discussion, but it is still a natural conversation that you need to nail.

Generally, if you prepare for candidate-led cases, you're fine. You'll lean how to plan and execute the case and drive it independently. This sets up up for the interviewer-led structure just as well.

The other way around would be a bit more tricky, as you suddenly have to drive your analysis from one topic to the next and manage time a bit more proactively.

Bottom line: Practice the candidate-led interview and you're set up for success in both models.

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 25, 2020
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360 coach(Ex-McKinsey + Certified Coach + Active recruiter)

Hi A,

I totally agree with Robert here that the differentiation between interviewer-led and interviewee-led cases is much too overestimated, and you should prepare for solving cases itself in the first place.

The point here is that if you start preparing for a specific situation it will be hard for you to quickly adapt if things go another way than you were planning.

The best solution would be preparing for case solving, then for interviewee-led cases. If you are prepared for these ones, you should not have any difficulties with interviewer-led cases.

Do you need any further help?


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Robert gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author
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