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Mckinsey Operations Interview - Phone Case Interview

Anonymous A asked on Jul 14, 2019 - 2 answers

Hi All,

Recently I have been recruited for Operations Associate role in Mckinsey and I was told there will be a Phone Case Interview. Has anyone gone through that and can you share how does the Phone Case Interview will be conducted?

Thanks, E

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replied on Jul 15, 2019
Ex-McKinsey EM | Experienced interview coach (400+ sessions) | London Business School MBA
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Hi E,

The phone case interview is not different from any other case interview. At McKinsey, these are typically conducted by the firm alumni, will not have a PEI (Personal Experience Interview) component and (for obvious reasons) will not have exhibits. The questions asked tend to be simpler than in a face to face round, and the pass rate seems to be higher.

One important thing to note: as it is a phone interview, avoid long stretches of silence, talk through your calculations and be extra conscious about creating rapport with the interviewer.

Hope it helps!


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updated his answer on Jul 31, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

a phone case interview is quite similar to a typical case interview, although it is usually shorter. I would recommend to pay particular attention to the following points:

# 1. Prepare the place for the call - a quiet environment is a must-have

# 2. Prepare on the wall in front of you the material you need (structures, tips for fit part, etc) – in this way you will have everything already prepared and won't have to look for it during the interview

# 3. Prepare your own questions. One thing many candidates neglect to do at this stage is to prepare their own questions. Relevant questions at the end are a great way to show your interest in the company and get additional points. This is particularly important in a phone/video interview, as the interviewer will naturally connect less with you, so differentiating in this part helps to be remembered. In the first reply at the following post you can find some more information on the ideal type of questions to ask at the end of your call:

# 4. Smile during the call – even if they cannot see you it's the easiest way to show energy

# 5. Go the extra mile when presenting what you think. This is important in a face-to-face interview, but even more in phone/video interviews where the interviewer cannot see you or your notes. In short, this implies:

  1. Explain clearly upfront why you need some information. Eg don’t say “do we have information on price?”. Rather “In order to understand where the problem is on revenues, I would need to analyse price and volume for this segment. Do we have any information on how price and volume changed in the last year?”
  2. Present with numbers in a structured way each area you want to introduce. I would suggest to do that in two steps:
  • STEP 1: mention first the macro areas of your framework. “In order to help our client, I would like to focus on three main areas. Number 1 we may work on [FIRST TOPIC], Number 2 on [SECOND TOPIC], Number 3 on [THIRD TOPIC]. If this is fine for you, let me go deeper in each of them”
  • STEP 2: provide details for each macro point. “In area Number 1, this is what I would analyse. First, I would like to cover [FIRST STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]; second, I would like to focus on [SECOND STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]; next, I would like to work on [THIRD STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]. In area Number 2, this is what I would analyse. First,(…)”

Hope this helps,



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