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Vlad

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4

McKinsey - Tell me about yourself

Hey everyone,

I'm preparing for McKinsey interviews, and I was wondering if there was a format for when you present yourself. As a student, I am used to the investment banking structure :

- Educational background

- Professional background
- Realization you wanted to do consulting
- What you did to pursue you consulting goal

- Why you are here in front of them now

Hey everyone,

I'm preparing for McKinsey interviews, and I was wondering if there was a format for when you present yourself. As a student, I am used to the investment banking structure :

- Educational background

- Professional background
- Realization you wanted to do consulting
- What you did to pursue you consulting goal

- Why you are here in front of them now

4 answers

  • Upvotes
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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Vlad

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Hi,

I would recommend the following structure:

  1. Start with a 1 sentence summary of your background, why you are relevant for McKinsey and what's your unique selling point
  2. Talk about 3-4 of your roles (may be professional, education, extracurricular), 3 sentences each. The more experienced you are the more you should speak about professional roles. It can be also the distinct roles within the same organization. Typical structure: 1) What was the company 2) What you were responsible for 3) Greatest achievement in that role, that will stay in the memory of the interviewer (E.g. While working at Adidas supply chain I was personally responsible for the delivery of soccer balls to the Worldcup in Africa)
  3. The main reason why consulting (or McKinsey if you were a consultant before) is the next logical career step for you

Best!

Hi,

I would recommend the following structure:

  1. Start with a 1 sentence summary of your background, why you are relevant for McKinsey and what's your unique selling point
  2. Talk about 3-4 of your roles (may be professional, education, extracurricular), 3 sentences each. The more experienced you are the more you should speak about professional roles. It can be also the distinct roles within the same organization. Typical structure: 1) What was the company 2) What you were responsible for 3) Greatest achievement in that role, that will stay in the memory of the interviewer (E.g. While working at Adidas supply chain I was personally responsible for the delivery of soccer balls to the Worldcup in Africa)
  3. The main reason why consulting (or McKinsey if you were a consultant before) is the next logical career step for you

Best!

(edited)

Thank you Vlad, that is very helpful! — Melissa on May 28, 2019

However, should I worry that my presentation would be a summary of my CV? I am afraid that if I explain my roles, it would seem like I was reading my CV — Melissa on May 28, 2019

The interviewer would not read your CV before the interviews. Highlight one greatest achievement in each of the roles - it's not what you have in your CV — Vlad on May 28, 2019

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Dear Melissa,

I agree with your underlying idea to keep it structured and including topics which are heading into the direction of consulting ("Realization you wanted to do consulting", "What you did to pursue you consulting goal", "Why you are here in front of them now").

Some additional thoughts to consider to have a great answer to this question:

  1. ABS - Always be structured (and McKinsey is the most pickest firm in this respect) and follow a top-down approach. In other words, start with the high-level picture/key message which you want to convey before going into the details.
  2. Carefully draft your key message. The main idea of the key message will circle around demonstrating your fit to McKinsey and the consulting role including your motivation. In a slightly exaggerated way I can say that you need to develop a storyline demonstrating that with all previous activities in your life you can logically only end up in the consulting world / McKinsey. So you need to think how all your activities so far are related to consulting and what you learned within those roles which will make you a strong consulting and thus hire for McKinsey (topics usually circle about problem solving skills, leadership, persuasion and drive).
  3. Don't repeat the obvious from your CV. Please don't make the mistake to repeat what can be obviously read and understood from your written documents. It will not add any value to the discussion and it's not a client-centric way of communicating.

Hope that helps!

Robert

Dear Melissa,

I agree with your underlying idea to keep it structured and including topics which are heading into the direction of consulting ("Realization you wanted to do consulting", "What you did to pursue you consulting goal", "Why you are here in front of them now").

Some additional thoughts to consider to have a great answer to this question:

  1. ABS - Always be structured (and McKinsey is the most pickest firm in this respect) and follow a top-down approach. In other words, start with the high-level picture/key message which you want to convey before going into the details.
  2. Carefully draft your key message. The main idea of the key message will circle around demonstrating your fit to McKinsey and the consulting role including your motivation. In a slightly exaggerated way I can say that you need to develop a storyline demonstrating that with all previous activities in your life you can logically only end up in the consulting world / McKinsey. So you need to think how all your activities so far are related to consulting and what you learned within those roles which will make you a strong consulting and thus hire for McKinsey (topics usually circle about problem solving skills, leadership, persuasion and drive).
  3. Don't repeat the obvious from your CV. Please don't make the mistake to repeat what can be obviously read and understood from your written documents. It will not add any value to the discussion and it's not a client-centric way of communicating.

Hope that helps!

Robert

Hi Robert, thank you for your answer! Do you think I can make it run by you a little summary of my presentation and tell me if it is well structured? Or would I have to book a session? Thank you! — Melissa on May 28, 2019

Hi Melissa,

your structure is good, but I would not be too dogmatic about it. After all, you also want to use your self-presentation to tell the interviewer what he/ she cannot find in your resume, i.e. your motivation. The purpose of the self-presentation is to get to know you better as a person and to convince the interviewer that it is indeed very logical that you are now discussing the opportunity to work as a consultant. That is to say, you need to present a common thread in what you have been doing so far which now logically culminates in this interview. It is this logic that you want to convey to the interviewer.
If you achieve to get this message across using the structure you presented, fine. If not, restructure.

Let me know if you have further questions regarding your self-presentation.

Best regards

Hi Melissa,

your structure is good, but I would not be too dogmatic about it. After all, you also want to use your self-presentation to tell the interviewer what he/ she cannot find in your resume, i.e. your motivation. The purpose of the self-presentation is to get to know you better as a person and to convince the interviewer that it is indeed very logical that you are now discussing the opportunity to work as a consultant. That is to say, you need to present a common thread in what you have been doing so far which now logically culminates in this interview. It is this logic that you want to convey to the interviewer.
If you achieve to get this message across using the structure you presented, fine. If not, restructure.

Let me know if you have further questions regarding your self-presentation.

Best regards

(edited)

Thank you Jakob for your answer, The situation is I have completed 4 internships in M&A and at my current one, they put me on strategy project which made me realize I wanted to do consulting and not investment banking. Do you think I should explain briefly what I did on each internship or go straight to the point that I am finance student and I realized through my internships I loved strategy and decided to make a switch ? — Melissa on May 28, 2019 (edited)

Hi Melissa, I would explain how you discovered your passion for consulting through M&A. If you completed 4 internships in M&A I would highlight some important projects but also try to summarize your M&A experience as I am assuming some of the tasks were quite similar and focus more on why you are now pursuing consulting. — Anonymous on May 28, 2019

Thank you Jakob! — Melissa on May 28, 2019

Hi there,

Agreeing with our experts, I would also suggest you mention your social-extracurricular aspect. Remember, interviewers are having an interview with many people and it is easy to forget roles, achievements, etc whereas it is difficult to forget if you climbed to Everest, etc....

Cheers

Serhat

Hi there,

Agreeing with our experts, I would also suggest you mention your social-extracurricular aspect. Remember, interviewers are having an interview with many people and it is easy to forget roles, achievements, etc whereas it is difficult to forget if you climbed to Everest, etc....

Cheers

Serhat

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