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McKinsey vs Bain 1st round 2024

Bain & Company Interview McKinsey Interview Scheduling MBB MBB McKinsey mckinsey 1st round interview
New answer on Mar 12, 2024
6 Answers
629 Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 08, 2024

Hello!

I got invited to 1st round interviews for McKinsey early Feb and Bain late Feb. I noticed a few things in the interview email invites:

1) Mck only has 1 first round interview and upto 3 second round interviews 

2) Bain has 3 first round interviews (market sizing, case & fit) ad upto 3 second round interviews 

Personally I prefer M > B. Need help deciding if I should have my Bain interviews scheduled earlier or Mck interviews later to get the nerves out of the way. I've heard from multiple candidates that no matter how much you prep there's always going to be a couple nervy moments in your very first interview. I'd rather risk this with Bain and get a feel for a real mbb interview than with the only shot I have with McKinsey.

Looking for advise from Experts and fellow candidates alike. Urgent.

(edited)

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 09, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

First, remember that you might not have control over scheduling. For the most part, they get to decide when they take place.

Ultimately, I would apply (or have applied) to dozens of other firms. They can be your practice interviews! (and backup offers if you don't get McKinsey/Bain).

Feel free to ask Bain if they have any flexibility - if they do, then you can wring your hands over the decision! (And ask to interview earlier).

Please also get coaching! seems you're already getting stressed over little things - having guidance would be super helpful for you.

Read the following too: The Most Common Pitfalls in Case Interview Preparation

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 08, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

McKinsey is shifting to the 1 interview format in first round in more offices quite recently.

I suggest you delay as much as you can both process so you have time enough to practice. The more realistic the practice setting, the best to manage your nerves during the real interviews (e.g., case peers, case coaches, etc.).

Happy to keep talking about this in private, just send me a message.

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 08, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there!

The format of the interview (i.e., how many you have in each round) does differ significantly from region to region. 

So, if you do want to manage for nerves, then indeed start with the firm that you least prefer.

Ideally, you'd get a couple of other interviews even before the Bain one. This way you keep both Bain and McKinsey for when you are most prepared. 

Sharing with you a guide I wrote on how to plan out your application strategy to control for the controllable:


Best,
Cristian

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 09, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platftorms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hey there,

First of all, congratulations on getting invited to the first-round interviews for both McKinsey and Bain! In the current market, this is already a great achievement…

Regarding your question about scheduling, your strategy makes sense. Given that you prefer McKinsey over Bain and are concerned about initial nerves affecting your performance, it could be wise to schedule the Bain interviews first. This approach allows you to gain valuable interview experience and potentially work through any initial nervousness. The experience from these interviews can then be leveraged to improve your performance in the McKinsey interview, which seems to be your priority.

I agree with Christian and would even add more first-round interviews if possible (or work with a coach) to get the real deal before sitting in that McKinsey interview.

The good thing is that McK is generally very flexible with interview (re)-scheduling so that should not be an issue. 

Important to note: Some offices introduced this one interview first round during the pandemic to not block 3 interviewers right away for someone who might not be suited. I would expect the interview to last 75 minutes instead of 60 and the case to be a bit longer than usual.

Here are a few additional points to consider:

Practice and preparation: Even though real interviews provide unique experiences, thorough practice and mock interviews can significantly reduce nervousness. Try to simulate the interview environment as much as possible during your practice sessions. Think about engaging a coach if you cannot line up other real interviews before.

Feedback loop: After your Bain interviews, take some time to reflect on what went well and what could be improved. This reflection can provide actionable insights for your McKinsey interview. Use the remaining time to hone in on those areas.

Scheduling logistics: Ensure that you leave enough time between the interviews to rest and reflect. Avoid scheduling them back-to-back to prevent burnout. Some offices interview on Friday and Monday and I remember when I was doing my interviews I had a full McKinsey marathon day on Friday (PST and 5 interviews) and 4 interviews with Strategy& the following Monday in a different city where I had to fly out to. Not ideal

Plan B: While you have a preference, consider the possibility that both opportunities could lead to exciting career paths. Approach each interview with equal seriousness and preparation. Also, consider other consulting firms to reduce pressure and get more practice cases.

All the best,

Florian

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Stanley replied on Mar 12, 2024

I think you should interview Mck later to reduce the time gap between the two interviews. Then, you will avoid wasting energy and spirit when preparing for interviews.

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 09, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Personally I prefer M > B. Need help deciding if I should have my Bain interviews scheduled earlier to get the nerves out of the way. 

If you prefer McKinsey, I would do Bain first and McKinsey later if you have the option, for the following reasons:

  1. You will have your first experience with the least favorite firm and could take learning points from that
  2. You might be able to end the process with Bain first. If you get a Bain offer, doing the final with McKinsey with that should decrease the pressure

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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