McKinsey pre 1 round case screening/ interview

BCG McKinsey
New answer on Feb 28, 2021
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 25, 2021

Hi everyone,

I recently finished my 1 on 1 coaching session with McKinsey. My recruiter told me that next step will be a 30 mins case only interview, and I will only be invited to the first round interview if I pass the case round.

This process sounds a bit different, and I'm wondering if anyone also have the same experience? Is it because my performance in the coaching session is not good enough?

I'm also seeking for suggestions/advises on how can I prepare for it within 7 days. Thank you :)

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Florian
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replied on Feb 26, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

In the McKinsey interview you will have to answer three different questions types - broadly speaking:

  • Structuring
  • Exhibit Interpretation
  • Math

Now for Structure and Exhibit Interpretation, there is no right or wrong answer. Some answers are better than others because they are

  • deep
  • broad
  • insightful
  • hypothesis-driven
  • follow a strong communication (MECE, top-down, signposted)

That being said, there is no 100% that you can reach or the one-and-only solution/ answer. It is important that your answers display the characteristics specified above and supported well with arguments.

As for Math questions, usually, there are answers which are correct (not always 100% the same since some candidates simplify or round differently - which is ok), and others that are wrong, either due to the

  • calculation approach
  • calculation itself

Now, for the interviewer, the overall picture counts. Mistakes in one area need to be balanced by a strong performance in other areas. McKinsey wants to see spikes in performance in certain areas and a good enough performance in other areas.

The most common example I see almost every day: You can be strong in structure and exhibit, yet make a small mistake in the math section - overall as you might consider 80% - and still pass on to the next round.

Your phone case:

These short screening phone interviews are usually conducted by an HR person (compared to consultants, which usually do the cases). The types of questions, evaluation, etc. will all be the same. Yet the interviewer will likely record your answers (in written form) and forward them to a consultant together with their observation points. The consultant would then make the decision to move you forward or not.

Hence, your preparation does not differ from the 'real-deal' case interview.

Let me know if you need a quick evaluation of your skills and recalibration of your approach to make sure you match the interviewer's expectations. :-)

Cheers,

Florian

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Ken
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replied on Feb 25, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

The 30 min case only interview before first round does happen in certain McKinsey offices and roles and so I wouldn't worry about it at all. They are typically are conducted by a recruiter who is checking your preparedness with cases to ensure that there are no suprises in first round.

It's hard to generalise how best to prepare for it but hopefully your 1-on-1 case coaching session has given you an indication of what you need to work on. I would definitely make sure you are comfortable with profitability and market entry cases at the bare minimum where you are comfortable solving such cases independent of industry/context, etc. Additionally, I would also spend time ensure that you are comfortable with each section of a McKinsey case: namely structuring, numeracy/exhibit reading and conceptual thinking.

Good luck!

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Anonymous B replied on Feb 25, 2021

Hi

I did the phone interview with HR, it is going to be pure case interview without any other questions. the case will be very simple and typical McKinsey Interviewer led, so expect this structure :

1. What are the key factors of X

2. Quantitative questions

3. Brainstorming questions

in my experience, the case can be done in less than 20 minutes if you have been practicing case interview.

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Udayan
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replied on Feb 25, 2021
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

This is STANDARD process for an experienced here. The process is as follows

  • 1. HR/Recruiter call
  • 2. 1:1 coaching (NOT assessed)
  • 3. 30 min case (feel free to PM me for details on the case) (assessed)

4. If you pass the above you then get to the proper first round

Dont worry you did nothing wrong!

Udayan

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Ian
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replied on Feb 25, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Nothing to worry about here. If your performance wasn't good enough, you'd be cut. You're still in the running and have the same odds as the next guy/gal.

If you only have 7 days to prepare, nothing beats a coaching session! Highly recommend you invest in a coaching session to make sure you're at the required readiness level.

Good luck!

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Antonello
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replied on Feb 25, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, especially in this period and for the most junior positions it can happen to have an additional test from a consultant.

Do not worry and arrived prepared on cases and market sizing. It's a tremendous opportunity (:

Best
Antonello

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 26, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

As mentioned by Ken, this is standard for some McK offices.

I usually recommend the following to prepare (you have probably already covered some of them):

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before the interview and allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the points below. Many people need 100+ hours to be ready before the interview so you can keep that as a benchmark. If you are very new to case interviews, you may want to postpone it since it is in one week
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure to solve them. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb better the information with constant learning.
  4. After the first 5-10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. PrepLounge can be helpful to connect with other candidates for that. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). The case part should also cover math and graph analysis.
  5. Before the interviews, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer –great way to show you prepared in advance and to connect with the interviewer for a good final impression.

If you want to spend few hours only instead of 100+ and cover everything mentioned above, I developed a program to precisely do that. You can click on the following link to learn more:

https://u.preplounge.com/63phuq

After this program, you will know exactly what to expect in your interview, what to work on, and how to focus on the real differentiators to land a McKinsey offer.

Please feel free to PM me if you need more information.

Best,

Francesco

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Gaurav
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replied on Feb 25, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

As explained by the other coaches, you'll need to solve the case, and it is a normal practice.

7 days might be tight, but without knowing your preparation level, it's really hard to say:)

If you are experienced in case-solving, you're gonna do alright, otherwise, some coaching sessions will help to prepare in a short period.

Cheers,

GB

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Luca
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replied on Feb 25, 2021
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello,

That is a preliminary step that sometimes HR ask for testing your preparation before putting you in front of managers and partners. Seven days is not a great amount of time, if you don't have experience with case interview I would rather suggest to try to postpone the meeting.

Feel free to write me for any additional questio,
Luca

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Clara
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replied on Feb 28, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

In line with what has been said before, this is very common!

Focus now on case prep for passing rounds.

I would suggest you:

1. Practice cases with partners asap, as many as you can do.Find experienced partners who can provide a good feedback

2. Practice your math skills, both in your cases and with ad hoc exercisess, such as:

1. ​Multiplying double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo

2. Leveraging math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

Furthermore, you should practice as much as you can, and ensure that you cover:

1. Profitability cases- basic profitability framework.

2. Idea generation cases: for any specif issue

3. Growth cases: market penetration, new product launch, product mix change, etc.

4. Pricing cases

5. M&A cases

6. Valuation cases

7. Value chain cases

Given you are under this much time contraint, consider working with a coach to foster speed and ensure you have a tailored plan to be very targeted. PM me interested!

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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