In a McKinsey interview, you can take up to 2 minutes to draft your structure, IF the structure you come up with is strong and
- a. hits all the key points that the firm wants to see and
- b. is communicated in the right way.
A big issue I see with coaching candidates is that they take too little time to structure their thoughts because they feel pressured to be quick rather than exhaustive and creative.
An additional 30 seconds can often make the difference between a bad structure and a good one or a good one and an excellent one. So my battle-tested advice is to get rid of this time pressure mindset, especially in a McKinsey interview.
Also different from other firms, you can take up to roughly 6/7/8 minutes to present your structure, your qualification, and hypotheses. This is due to the interviewer-led format that McK employs. The firm wants to see exhaustive and creative approaches to specific problems, which more often than not do not fit into the classic case interview frameworks that were en vogue 10 years ago...
Again, this only applies if everything you say
- adds value to the problem analysis
- is MECE
- is well qualified
- includes a detailed discussion of your hypotheses at the end
The difference in format and way of answering a question is the reason why I recommend to prepare very differently for McK interviews vs. other consultancies.