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Rejected at McK but still my target - my strategy

progress Reapply mckinsey rejection
Edited on Nov 22, 2022
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 21, 2022

Hi all!

I was rejected at McK after 1st Round (experienced consultant - Senior Consultant or EM). I know it is quite “normal” but still feel like I am not good enough :) 

I would like to describe whole my situation and kindly ask you for your opinion and help me with my strategy:

1) I was contacted via LinkedIn by Senior HR Specialist to try it at McK circa 1 year ago.

2) They told me I do not need to write my cover letter, that it is OK and I do not to upload any referrals

3) I passed Imbellus game and I was invited to case interviews during the summer, however, due to unpleasant family situation, I had to postpone and I had my case interview previous week 

4) The feedback was really quick - you are a good “fit” but your case structure wasn't good enough and you should work on your leadership skills 

5) McK is still my target and I really want to re-apply so I spent my last week after rejection “thinking” how to improve and my strategy would be:

  • I will definitely prepare CL when applying for the 2nd time and I will also upload referrals from Deloitte and KPMG Directors 
    • Do you know if the ban is counted from the date you applied or from the date you had your last interview? 
  • I will go deeper in my preparation process and try to understand how I can change or improve my structuring skills 
    • Do you think it would be helpful to prepare from GMAT materials? (math, structure, logical reasoning?) 
  • I will show I made a progress in leadership skills
    • I am already working as an Associate Manager at Big4 - how or where do you think I could gather more experience in this area?
  • I have an opportunity already to be a part of mentoring program at one of the best students consulting club ( I am alumni, but now I can mentor others)

So, do you think this is a good approach and is there anything else I should do or focus on? 

Furthermore, do you think it is better to re-apply for another office next time or try BCG or Bain in a meantime? I already worked for BCG as a bachelor student (Research analyst).

Thank you!

A.

 

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Lucie
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Nov 22, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader

Hi there, 

 

sorry to hear about the rejection, I imagine the dissapointment. On the other hand McK really like you, they came after you meaning you pass the slimmest chance step of the recruiting of CV review (approx. 5% pass this) hence with a good prep I am sure you will be successful next time. 

To your answers: 

1. I will definitely prepare CL when applying for the 2nd time and I will also upload referrals from Deloitte and KPMG Directors 

  • Do you know if the ban is counted from the date you applied or from the date you had your last interview?

ANSWER: From either the last interview, better say from when you received the email rejecting you, usually 12 months. 

The referrals are additional points but not a deal breaker for you - they like you already now is about your performance

2. I will go deeper in my preparation process and try to understand how I can change or improve my structuring skills 

  • Do you think it would be helpful to prepare from GMAT materials? (math, structure, logical reasoning?)

ANSWER: Unless you got the feedback on your math skills I wouldn't invest time in GMAT. The structuring of the case can be learned rather with an experienced coach/courses rather than with GMAT. The structure of the case is understanding in general problem solving: how to breakdown the problem, how to prioritize, building 1st hypothesis and then back up with analysis. 

3. I will show I made a progress in leadership skills

  • I am already working as an Associate Manager at Big4 - how or where do you think I could gather more experience in this area?

ANSWER: I would guess your leadership experience is good enough already, this will likely come to your ability to transmit your skill: so it is about choosing the right evidences and then tailor it using the hacks build effective story 

4. I have an opportunity already to be a part of mentoring program at one of the best students consulting club ( I am alumni, but now I can mentor others)

  • This is a nice action, it wont probably help you to prepare for the recruitment process, but it can help to prove you want to generate positive impact
  • So, do you think this is a good approach and is there anything else I should do or focus on?

ANSWER

I would focus on:

1. Casing

Problem structuring, the famous frameworks, is about breaking down the problem into logical and manageable pieces that allows you to scope the problem, define the key question and clearly communicate to the interviewer how to move on. 

You can approach it like if you should write a plan of what all the steps you would do if you would be given this project. Once you have this validated with the interviewer you start solving the case following your plan. 

I would recommend to check once again the material available on Preploung on type of the cases: https://www.preplounge.com/en/bootcamp.php, at least to familiar yourself with the different elements by type of the case. Then practice with peers and eventually invest in coach. I would be happy to support you as a top BCG trainer (with successful McK coachees) teaching precisely this topic a newly joined BCGers. 

2. FIT

Questions will be selected based on your CV and cover letter (in addition to your job position), ensure alignment when preparing all 3

Choose the right stories, ensure they transmit unequivocally the key strengths MBB looks for (and they are better than the 99% of other candidates) -> challenge you on this

Prepare approx. 2 stories per topic (e.g. leadership, impact)

Be specific and provide evidence: quantify, use KPIs/numbers - they stick in mind!! (Bear in mind that, just because you held some role does not mean you were actually good at it)

•talk about a specific experience that reflects how you demonstrate a particular consulting-relevant trait that doesn’t leave any doubt and room for misinterpretation

to prepare a story:

1. Make sure to share context of the story - the obvious to you, e.g. Ikea is the largest furniture producer and seller worldwide with xxx % of market share: 99% forget it which makes impossible to follow

2. Explain your role

3. Your solution (should be clear it was your call, and you equivacably demostrate key skills)

4. Result and impact

5. Learning and future use

Last but not least test your stories. Tell them someone with very different background and tell them to tell you what they understood. This is the best method. 

in this point of time investment in coach would be likely very effective: you got close but there are yet gaps which coach can help closing significantly faster and effectively. Feel free to reach out. 

Good luck!

Lucie

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 22, 2022
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

Sorry to hear!

Regarding your strategy:

I will definitely prepare CL when applying for the 2nd time and I will also upload referrals from Deloitte and KPMG Directors

This would not change anything. 

  • The cover letter is always optional (hence, not needed) for McKinsey. 
  • Referrals only count if they come from within McKinsey.

I will go deeper in my preparation process and try to understand how I can change or improve my structuring skills  Do you think it would be helpful to prepare from GMAT materials? (math, structure, logical reasoning?)

  • I would directly work on structuring drills and cases. One session with an experienced coach can give you everything you need for you to be able to practice effectively on your own afterward.
  • I would not work on GMAT questions as this is too far detached from the case interview.

I will show I made a progress in leadership skills. I am already working as an Associate Manager at Big4 - how or where do you think I could gather more experience in this area?

  • I am certain that in your current role you have enough great stories to tell already. I assume that you just did not prepare the right stories for the interview or discussed them in a way that did not hit the key points that McK interviewers were looking for. Have a look at this article for more information: https://www.preplounge.com/mckinsey-pei
  • Alternatively, again, one session with an experienced McK coach can help you to get to the perfect stories from your resume, and polish them
  • You could also think of some extracurricular engagements

I would definitely try BCG and Bain as well!

All the best!

Cheers,

Florian

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 22, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Sorry to hear about the rejection. In terms of your questions:

1) Do you know if the ban is counted from the date you applied or from the date you had your last interview?

It should be from the last interview/rejection.

2) Improve my structuring skills. Do you think it would be helpful to prepare from GMAT materials? (math, structure, logical reasoning?) 

Not really. I can’t see how that can help to become more structured in terms of what is required for a case interview.

3) I will show I made a progress in leadership skills. I am already working as an Associate Manager at Big4 - how or where do you think I could gather more experience in this area?

It is unclear what they meant by “lack of leadership skills” from what you reported. Could be PEI-related or something else. Without additional information it is difficult to provide suggestions.

4) So, do you think this is a good approach and is there anything else I should do or focus on? 

I would recommend the following:

  1. Apply to other consulting firms, trying to improve on the feedback areas they mentioned
  2. If nothing works, wait the end of the ban period
  3. Work on your CV to show evidence of your growth. If they require it, prepare the cover
  4. Find a referral for your application (current consultants in the company)
  5. Work on the specific areas they mentioned (structuring and leadership skills – it is unclear from what you shared whether that was something related to the PEI or case leadership)

5) Furthermore, do you think it is better to re-apply for another office next time or try BCG or Bain in a meantime? I already worked for BCG as a bachelor student (Research analyst).

Not sure why you should apply to another office. 

I would apply to BCG and Bain in the meantime – I cannot see why you should wait. However, you should address the improvement areas to be sure they are fine when you interview with them.

Best,

Francesco

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Rushabh
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 21, 2022
Limited Availability | BCG Expert | Middle East Expert | 100+ Mocks Delivered | IESE & NYU MBA | Ex-KPMG Dxb Consultant

Hello,

Sorry to hear about the rejection but good to see that you're taking it as an opportunity to try again. Here are my thoughts on each of your ideas:

1- Preparing CL and referrals - While this is a good to have, I do not think this is solving the problem at hand. They were pretty clear in the feedback that they gave - you need to work on your case leadership and structuring skills. That's it. The use of referrals and CL is TO GET THE INTERVIEW. In my opinion, you have already achieved that. The skills that you need to build on to are now to pass the interview. 
Re exact date of the cooling period, I am not aware for McKinsey specifically, but from other firms, my guess is that it is from the date of application.

2- Work on structuring skills - Yes. But not from GMAT. There are plenty of resources out there that are prepared exactly for Case Interviews - you need to focus exactly on those. Message me and I can point them out.

3- Leadership - I think this is not just at work, but also during the interview. Did you show case leadership during the interview? Pre-empt challenges, have an early hypothesis, show mature business acumen?

4- Mentoring - Absolutely, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

Regarding applying to other firms - I need to understand what exactly is your end goal here to be able to give you my advice. Happy to talk, feel free to DM.

All the best!

Rushabh

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Maikol
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 21, 2022
BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

You are quite confused. 

In any case, you have to wait at least 12 months to apply again. And your application will be considered only if your application will be “significantly” different.

A cover letter is pointless. I have never spent one-minute writing cover letters and I had offers from every MBB. 

Your referral and your experience from Big 4 are not very helpful to land a position at McKinsey or Bain or BCG. The fact that you work as a manager or similar at KPMG does not constitute any valuable leadership experience for MBB.

GMAT is needed to apply for MBA; if you score a GMAT below 740 with your experience, is another point against you. If you score more than that, it is better that you go for a top MBA and at the end of the MBA, you apply for McKinsey. That would be my suggestion. 

Mentoring younger students is pointless to the goal to get hired at MBB.

You got specific feedback that your structuring is weak and your leadership skills is weak. So, the goal should be to learn how to solve problems and communicate your workplan, hypotheses, analyses, and syntheses. Everything else is just confusion. 

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Pedro
Expert
updated an answer on Nov 21, 2022
30% off in April 2024 | Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

I will definitely prepare CL when applying for the 2nd time and I will also upload referrals from Deloitte and KPMG Directors 

If you are doing it because you want to make sure you get the interview again, then it doesn't hurt you. If you think that is why you didn't get to pass to second round, you are completely mistaken. It had absolutely no impact.

Do you think it would be helpful to prepare from GMAT materials? (math, structure, logical reasoning?

Not really. You have to practice case interviews, intead of going around and preparing for other stuff. 

I will show I made a progress in leadership skills. I am already working as an Associate Manager at Big4 - how or where do you think I could gather more experience in this area?

This is about your examples, not your experience or rank. Please read more details below.

I have an opportunity already to be a part of mentoring program at one of the best students consulting club ( I am alumni, but now I can mentor others)

That is not leadership. That is mentoring or coaching. Leadership is about enabling others to perform at their potential in order to achieve a common goal. So basically that is not what they are looking for in general. But the REAL issue is that your examples on the PEI were not very strong. You need to work your stories, more than your experiences.

So, do you think this is a good approach and is there anything else I should do or focus on? 

You wrote nothing about case preparation which is likely the real issue here.

Furthermore, do you think it is better to re-apply for another office next time or try BCG or Bain in a meantime? I already worked for BCG as a bachelor student (Research analyst).

Not sure why another office would be better. They were the ones contacting you which means that office does not have a surplus of talented candidates. 

BCG or Bain? Definitely. Mckinsey is not the only good option out there, and I don't see why it would be the only acceptable choice for you. Honestly, if you want to be a consultant, it shouldn't make a big difference, so you may be trying to join for the wrong reasons… please re-evaluate! Moreover, in the worst case scenario where you don't get the job at those firms, you are at least getting extra practice for free. 

And nothing replaces a real interview (well, maybe a good coach can replace that)!

(edited)

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Nov 22, 2022
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

you need to address the problem.

The cover letter isn't your problem. GMAT isn't structuring. You're really not being objective-driven here.

It's quite simple, you need to:

  1. Wait 12 months
  2. Build up leadership experience on your resume
  3. Hire a coach to:
    1. Work on your structuring / frameworking (it's clear you don't really know what this is)
    2. Work on your personal fit / behavioral stories (it's clear you're not sure how to demonstrate leadership to them)
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Lucie gave the best answer

Lucie

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10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader
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