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McKinsey R1 Performance

Anonymous A asked on Mar 22, 2019 - 2 answers

Hi everyone,

I know it's of no big use asking for feedback/advice on something that hasn't been decided on yet, but it's been 3 days since my R1 interview and I still haven't heard back re: outcome. I'm getting nervous, so I thought I would maybe ask for constructive feedback here based on my perception of my performance during the cases.

Background: I had my 1st round interview with one of McKinsey's APAC offices this past Tuesday EST (I'm finishing up my undergrad in the States). There's a time difference of about 12 hours between the office and my residence, so the two R1 interviews were split into a morning one and an evening one.

The first one in English went pretty well! Even though I've been mostly raised in my home country (where the office is located) I'm more confident and relaxed expressing myself in English, so despite being super nervous I was still able to build a good rapport with the interviewer and ended up getting all the answers for the case questions. I was initially unsure of my performance because the interviewer kept asking 'anything else?' but at the end, the interviewer said that he kept asking because I was doing a good job and he wanted to hear more of my thoughts. I did choke a bit on calculating a mean profit margin because I was so nervous my brain froze, but after 20-ish seconds I overcame my brainfreeze and got the right answer.

My second interview performance in the evening however was... less than stellar. It was conducted in my native language. I speak it fluently, but since I've been at university and haven't been speaking my native tongue for at least a few months, it's pretty rusty right now. I also tend to add English accents to the language (which is usually monotone), and I've gotten feedback that it makes me sound really young and unprofessional. So right off the bat, that was weighing on my mind.

The PEI went.... ok. Not perfect, but okay. Honestly it was very hard to gauge what my interviewer was thinking due to his extreme pokerface/ lack of reactions. The PEI went over the allotted time by 10 minutes. My computer died in the middle for no reason, and I wasted 3 minutes borrowing my roommate's laptop & setting the virtual interview page back up.

And then we went straight into the case-- by this time we had about 20 minutes to finish the thing. It was a profitability case, so I split it up into revenue & cost, went through what would be the factors potentially affecting the profits in the next five years. At this point the interviewer's pokerface as well as my lack of language proficiency was throwing me off, so I wasn't able to string together smooth sentences-- my sentences were peppered with English terms and um's. He then asked me what costs might be associated with this business (telecommunications) so I listed 3-4 different areas (marketing, installation/service, R&D), making sure they didnt overlap with each other. Then we jumped to a graph showing the competitors' and the client's respective market shares, and he asked me to synthesize some info. After 30 seconds, I told him that it seemed like our client was targeting the low-end market due to it's high percentage of a certain customer segment as well as the low pricing of one of its revenue sources. I made a slight calculation error explaining my reasoning, which I immediately picked up on & remedied (but was flustered doing so).

He then asked 'anything else' and I really couldn't think of any deeper synthesis with the given info, so I summarized what I said before then said I couldn't observe anything else at this given time. (Of course, after the entire thing ended, I realized I could've used the info to set up a potential hypothesis.) And then he ended the case there and then, without further questions. We were going over the allotted time, but at the same time it was so abrupt..?!

During the Q&A session after that he said that my questions were really good.

Extra info: my 1st interviewer was an EM, 2nd was an associate partner. The EM was travelling, I don't know what region though.

Given all this info, I have a few questions:

1. If you were the interviewer, would I have been dinged? Off the top of my head, I can think of a few faux pas that I committed: being jittery, halting my sentences often in my native language, the slight calculation mistake, not being able to come up with more stuff when prompted 'what else?' I know I really won't know how I did until the actual call, but I just,, truly,, need some peace of mind.

2. What are interviewers looking for when they ask 'what else/anything else?' In the case of the 2nd interview, was that just to throw me off or to hint at another piece of information that I hadn't picked up on?

3. What could I have done better? I also have an R1 interview with BCG (same regional office) coming up, so any sort of advice would be appreciated.

Sorry for the word vomit, and I'll appreciate any sort of advice/feedback you can give me!! This site has been super helpful in preparing for my interviews-- without it, I probably wouldn't have been able to string together a single sentence for the interviews. Hope you guys have a great day!

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Best Answer
Francesco replied on Mar 24, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Vlad, your subjective impression is not sufficient to be able to provide an answer whether you will pass or not. Candidates sometimes think they did badly, overweighting some mistakes and pass. And sometimes think they did great and don’t pass, since they have not noticed some mistakes.

An interviewer may ask “Anything else” when they want you to derive additional creative points for a question. This usually happens when you are not particularly structured, or at least you have not presented all the macro areas the interviewer expected.

Hope this helps,
Francesco

Vlad replied on Mar 22, 2019
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Hi,

Sorry, but giving you the feedback just based on your subjective impressions is completely unproductive. You should just wait for the results.

"Anything else" question is very common at McK interviews. They want to check your creativity. When you have a question on creativity you should:

  1. Take a minute to gather your thoughts
  2. Make the buckets of ideas
  3. Create ideas within each bucket
  4. Present your findings

It's really hard to come up with a lot of creative ideas without taking time and structuring the groups of ideas.

Best

Thanks for letting me know! You’re absolutely right, I will wait for the official results and update this post with more constructive/concrete info. In the meantime, it’s good to know what that pesky question actually is trying to get at. — HJ on Mar 22, 2019