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Preparation for McKinsey final round

MBB McKinsey summer intern
New answer on Jul 16, 2020
6 Answers
1.9 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 25, 2020

Hello everyone,

I will have my final round interview with McKinsey in two weeks. I think I hardly pass the first round (based on my own accessment). I am wondering is there any advise on how should I plan the preparation? Also I know the the format would be the same as first round, is there any tips on how to succeed it?

Thank you!

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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 03, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

the structure of the final round is the same as the first one (fit + case+ your questions); however, there is far more emphasis on communication and fit.

Specifically, the main difference you will find in a final round with partners is that at that stage they:

  1. spend more time on fit questions and your alignment with the company
  2. check more closely your communication (eg how you react to challenging questions)
  3. may not have a “proper” structured case to present – during one of my MBB finals I had one interview which was made by two market sizing questions and a brainteaser, without any business case. That's because at the final they know you can structure and crack a case (you passed 1 or 2 rounds already) and are more interested in your logic, personality and fit with the company

So in order to prepare I would concentrate on:

  • Review in details your fit stories – they will matter more than in the first round. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioral questions
  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure, how to gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc). This is something you can test almost exclusively in p2p mocks with peers/experts.
  • Prepare on cases as you did for the first round. More market sizing practice could be useful to think outside the box if you get unusual questions.

If you got feedback on the first round, it is a good idea to work on the suggested areas as well.




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replied on Jan 25, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


In the final round, I would expect a bit more structured and demanding approach to the fit part. The partners in the last round are more experienced and they will challenge every single detail of your story. So make sure that you have a couple of backup stories. Thus:

1) Make sure that you've prepared everything: A story about yourself, motivational questions and the main FIT stories. Also, don't forget about your questions to the interviewer - you'd rather have an interesting conversation and score some point instead of a simple Q&A session

2) Then go through each story and think of the additional questions the interviewer may ask. It’s important since additional questions will take up to 50% of the interview. Try to remember the main details and facts and make sure that you know how to explain the key concepts quickly. Test your stories with your friends, ideally consultants, and ask for their feedback. There can be multiple groups of additional questions:

  • The interviewer may be interested in details about the context
  • He may want to check whether this was your effort or more sort of a team effort.
  • “Have you faced any difficulties while implementing your solution?”- Typically an interviewer would like you to tell him how you’ve overcome those difficulties.
  • Your interviewer will check how real your story is. You should be ready to provide even more granular actions, key milestones and a breakdown of potential effects.

3) Now work on 3-6 backup stories. During your interviews, you can then use these stories or adapt these stories to the additional questions your interviewer asks you.

You may be interested, why you need to prepare several stories for each question? At the end of the day, it's not that easy to come up with all of these stories. I've answered here: Repeating Fit Interview Stories

As for the cases - Partners and Directors have their own favorite cases and will mostly ask you to lead the case. The key difference:

  1. You ask clarifying questions in the beginning and make a structure
  2. You lead the case through the structure you've prepared a) asking questions and trying to identify the root-cause of the problem in the branch of your structure b) making a transition to the next branch c) proactively calculating the data and making data-driven conclusion from the data they give you d) Making a conclusion when they ask you to finish a case

It may seem to you that these 2 types of cases are different, however, the interviewer-led type is just a simplified version of the interviewee-led case. My advice is to always prepare in the interviewee-led format so that you could solve both easily.


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replied on Jan 25, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

The 2nd interview will trypically varied a bit from the 1st rounds in terms of interview structure.
For a 60-minutes interview, the final round structure will be as follows:

  • 5 mins: introductions
  • 20-40 mins: PEI (personal experience interview) / fit discussions
  • 15-20 mins: case interview / discussions
  • 5 mins: Q&A

There's usually a heavier emphasis on PEI / fit, revolving around leadership and conflict management experiences. Do prepare extensively for this part, having at least 2 stories (advisable) for each potential topics, while also keep improving yourself on the technical case part.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,

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Anonymous A on Jan 25, 2020

Hi Nathaniel, Thank you for the answer. I do have questions for the PEI part. I think I have used up all the best stories in the first round and struggling to structure the stories that haven't been heard. In this scenario, what would you suggest ? Thanks :)

Content Creator
replied on Jul 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


On top of the insights already shared in the post, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Furthermore, you can find 2 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch!

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 25, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

First of all congratulations to reach final round interviews!

While first round interviews are highly standardized especially at McKinsey, in second-round interviewers bascially everything can happen.

The main idea of second/final round interviews is to ensure your performance in those areas in which you did not convince McKinsey in the first round interviews. This can be either the case interview or the McKinsey PEI, or both. Whatever it is, your weak points from first round interviews are where you can expect a strong focus in the second/final round interviews.

Hope that helps!


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Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 25, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

There are a few differences in the final round

1. As Nathaniel mentioned, PEI is of greater significance in this round. Make sure your stories are well structured, answer the question asked and are interesting

2. Cases here tend to be highly correlated to the work that the Partner is currently working on so it is more ad-hoc and is intended to test your problem solving skills

3. This is also where any potential shortcomings in the earlier round is addressed - for example if quantitative ability is flagged you might be asked a market sizing question or brainteaser

4. You are expected to have good questions for the interviewer so make sure you research questions to ask

5. Make sure you focus on communication style, being present in the interview and listening

All the best!



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Francesco gave the best answer


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