Reasons for failure at mck final round

McKinsey McKinsey Final Round
New answer on May 19, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 16, 2020

Hi there, I'm heading to final round with mck. Curious to hear what are some of the potential causes for failing the partner round interviews, including some of the feedbacks from final round. Any insight is much appreciated.

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Apr 16, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

There are dozens of potential reasons. But let me try and compile the most frequent observations with candidates that did not receive an offer in the final round at McKinsey.

1. PEI

  • Failure to cope with the extreme deep dives and follow-up questions related to their PEI stories --> final round interviewers often go to extreme depth in order to really understand the motives and reasons, WHY you did or said certain things. Many candidates did not understand that the core is not WHAT they did, but WHY they did it! Having no strong answers to these questions was a frequent source of doubt the oftentimes led to a rejection
  • Failure to show empathy in the stories (especially in "Personal Impact") --> Very often, candidates' stories concentrated too much on analysis and how they provided evidence for the superiority of their ideas in order to convince others; however, what the Firm is really looking for are persons who are able to look at a problem through the eyes of others! So a good story of convincing others should show how the candidate tried to understand the REASONS why the other person was against the his/her ideas, and then how he/she addressed these concerns in order to get buy-in.

2. Case

  • Failure to derive structural elements from a clear logic and missing link to the core question (weak conceptual thinking) --> Very often, candidates misunderstand that structuring a case does not just mean to come up with buckets and sub-aspects, but that they have to make clear how they will answer the question that has been asked. This is very important in order to avoid coming across as a "weak conceptual thinker"
  • Failure to take the interviewer along --> candidates frequently made the mistake of expecting interviewers to read their mind, i.e., when doing some analysis, they just went silent, did the calculation, and then presented the result. This is a weak performeance, completely independent of whether the result is correct or not! The interviewer needs to be treated as a client. HEnce, you have to walk him through your logic an align on this logic. Then you perform the calculations while TAKING ALONG the interviewer. This is how you would also ensure buy in from a client (Walking him through the analytical steps instead of just presenting a result), and this is what interviewers are testing for!

3. General

  • Faliure to show progress on first round feedback --> if a particular area was singled out as an impovement need after round one, then it is absolutely crucial to get this right for the final round! Interviewers will scrutinize this critically, and only if they see clear progress they will give the candidate the thumbs up.

I hope this is helpful!

Cheers, Sidi

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Francesco
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updated an answer on Jul 14, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

great question as in finals people are generally able to solve cases and the difference between an offer and a rejection is on details. The answer is really case-by-case, but some typical elements include:

  • Lack of structure for unusual questions. Partners sometimes like to brainstorm with candidates on their last project or an idea they had. If you are prepared on standard questions but are unable to answer something like “How would you solve the unemployment problem in Europe” you may be in trouble.
  • Lack of connection between the different parts of the case and the “big picture” objective. Some candidates perfectly solve the different parts of the case, but miss the connection with the final goal of the client. For example, they may do the right calculation or derive the correct graph insight, but they don’t connect that number or inside with the client’s goal without the help of the interviewer.
  • Lack of connection with the interviewer. If you don’t connect well with the partner or he/she doesn’t feel you are client-ready, you won’t get an offer, no matter how outstanding your case skills are. There are specific communication tips you can follow to be sure you are able to engage and show you would well represent the firm in front of the client. Your questions at the end are also an important element to make a good connection.

In terms of the PEI, if you prepared well your stories before (good structure, backup stories, clear understanding of what each dimension implies, etc) there should not be issues as the key dimensions are always the same. You should still review your answers as they are still a critical part of the interview and partners may like to dig deeper. You should also be ready for stress interviews, which are more likely in the final than in the first round.

For any questions on the previous points please feel free to PM me.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

(edited)

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Emily
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 17, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi there,

I don't think you need to worry in particular for the final round. The common causes for failing would be similar to earlier rounds.

If anything, some partners can be a bit more creative or fluid in the case problem they want you to solve, but despite that, how you solve a case problem should still be the same. E.g. I was asked by one partner "If you are the CEO of your current company, what would you do to grow the business in the next 5 years?". The case is just a one liner, but nonetheless this is fundamentally a growth problem to solve.

Best of luck!

Emily

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 17, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Don´t worry too much about it, conceptually is the same story.

Table Difference first and second round at McKinsey

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous replied on May 19, 2020

Hey A,

It may connect to any part of the interview, as Sidi mention - from PEI questions to case solving. Also, it may be lack of the personal fit to the partner in the interview. For partner, it's really crucial to connect to your interview in the final round because he is the one who make a decision, whether to give conflict or not.


Hope, it helps.


André

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Antonello
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, have you asked for feedback to the HR? They usually provide you with a quick list of bullet to work on and I recommend to ask for it without worrying about bothering them: they are there to help. The causes can be multiple, and also external conditions are important (in this period number of hirings is shrinking). It can be related to the fit with firm or interviewers, with the communication style as well as the problem solving approach during the case.

Best,
Antonello

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers
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