McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 50+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Partner level interviews

Anonymous A

Hi PrepLounge, I'm going through final round interviews with a few firms and have noticed that in Partner cases it appears better to ask less clarifying questions - in the few interviews where I've sought to extract more background data before sharing a structure, Partners have asked me to answer my own questions instead (e.g. one case was "how do you improve customer experience at [x] stores?") and when I asked how our client would define / measure uptick in their experience, the Partner asked me how I would define it myself instead. Similar observations were made for other cases too.

Wondering if this is something that others are experiencing as well and if anyone had insight on why Partners appear to provide less information in cases - perhaps to test breadth of one's thinking? And if so, would you only keep clarifying questions to objectives / timeline and include all other questions you had in your structure.

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Sidi replied on 03/20/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 50+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

you have to be careful here not to draw wrong conclusions! As you say by yourself, such a question is just a means to gauge your thinking and test whether you can come up with meaningful concepts by yourself. It does NOT mean that it is "better to ask less clarifying questions". You HAVE to ask before you can proceed with implicit assumptions. And if the interviewer then asks you to come up with an own sensible assumption, then this is completely fine - there is no problem with that!

So I do not see any reason why this would change the process of clarifying and narrowing down to arrive at an educated hypothesis as a starting point for your framework.

Cheers,

Sidi

Vlad replied on 03/20/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Probably you've asked either too many questions or the wrong questions. There are no special guidelines for the partners.

I suggest to ask the following questions:

1) Clarify the business model / how the business actually makes money. Even if you think you understand it, try to repeat it to make sure that you understand it correctly. e.g. if the case is about oil&gas company which revenues are declining, ask if it is Up / mid / down-stream problem. In this case, defining a revenue stream is critical to setting up the right structure.

2) Clarify the objective. Here make sure that your goal is:

  • Measurable
  • Has a time-framed
  • Has / has no limitations

e.g. Should I invest 100k in this business for 1 year if I want to get 15% return?

3) Ask the questions that will help you build a relevant structure and remove ambiguity.

Best!