Standard of passing - round 1 vs. round 2

Case Interview
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 20, 2020

Hi, I would like to know whether there is a difference of standard of passing the interview (round 1 vs. round 2). Would round 2 requirements be much higher? What could I do in the second round interview to make me stand out against others?

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Daniel
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replied on Feb 20, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

The standards are the same across both rounds. But, for example, at McK in round 2 you often get senior partners, who are a bit more unpredictable in what they are going to ask and overall more demanding to the candidates.

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Clara
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replied on Feb 20, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

In pricipal, the "bar" to be met would be the same in all the cases.

However, the profile of the interviewers is the key change from one round to the other: from associates and Engagement Managers in 1st round to Partners and APs in the second.

The second group is much more experienced -not only in business, but also in interviewing- and hence more difficult to impress.

Good luck!

Best,

Clara

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Francesco
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updated an answer on Jul 03, 2020
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Hi there,

the standard in rounds after the first are higher simply because the other candidates will be more experienced at this stage, and the company will select just some of the candidates.

In order to prepare I would concentrate on:

  • Review in detail 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 do almost exclusively in interviews with peers.
  • Prepare cases as you did for the first round. More market sizing practice may be useful to think outside the box if you get unusual questions.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

(edited)

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Ian
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replied on Feb 23, 2020
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The standard is the same. But, sometimes the 2nd round is a 2nd chance to prove you can do something. They may focus on a particular weak area they identified earlier, to make sure you're up to scratch. There will also likely be more emphasize on fit AND the interviewers are generally more senior which can be more intimidating/stressful

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Nathaniel
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replied on Feb 20, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

in terms od expectations, there would be similar standards across the rounds.
Howver, there's a different focus on 1st and 2nd round.

The 1st round is much more focused on solving the case.
The 2nd round, depending on the firm you are interviewing, will have much more emphasis on PEI / fit, while the partners will expect the case session to be go over fairly quickly and smoothly without any issues. Hence they could be more demanding in a way.

I suggest double your effort for 2nd round on PEI and case side.

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,
Nathan

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Anonymous B on Feb 20, 2020
What does "double the effort" mean? In terms of time invested/ cases done etc.?
Anonymous replied on Apr 30, 2020

standards are the same, but the interviewers get more senior / bring more challenging cases

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Antonello
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replied on Feb 29, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Standard is the same, each round has a success rate of 25-33% depending on the geography and the period. Problem-solving, structured communication and strong motivation will be the main pillar to crack.

Best,
Antonello

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Luca
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replied on Feb 27, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

I don't think that you one round is more difficult than the other. The only difference is that the second round is usually with more senior paople (principals or partners) so you have to expect more attention on the fit part and less structured business cases.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Vlad
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updated an answer on Feb 20, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Formally the standards are the same, however, the devil is in details:

  • At Bain, the first round is usually easy to pass and they'll forgive you some mistakes. Subsequent rounds are much harder
  • All MBB final rounds are led by the partners. They are really good at filtering BS and they will be much more demanding to the candidates.

Thus I recommend you to double your prep efforts

Best

(edited)

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Daniel gave the best answer

Daniel

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McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews
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