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Tell me about a time you failed!

Anonymous A asked on Sep 18, 2019 - 7 answers

How would you answer this question in your Personal Fit interview? Receive feedback on your answer and browse through the Q&As to review the approaches of other applicants and experts.

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Daniel
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replied on Sep 18, 2019
ex-McKinsey Senior Associate / officially interviewed for McKinsey recruiting / I will coach you to rock those interviews
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Essentially, failure experience is regarded very positively by MBB: if you failed, you took risks, i.e. you have proven your entrepreneurial nature. So, do not be afraid to talk honestly about the times you failed.

However, an important thing to focus on in your answer to this question is what you have learnt from your failure. And I would try to turn these “lessons learnt” into something valuable for consulting. For example, you tried doing everything by yourself and after this failure you really started understanding the importance of team work and really improved on this front. Or, you tried doing everything perfectly and after that failure you understood that it’s important to have trade-offs and to compromise to achieve the results you want (80/20 or “better done than perfect“).

So, be honest, talk about your failures, but remember to highlight some lessons learnt to give your story an overall positive twist.

KK replied on Oct 16, 2019

test

Hang updated her answer on Oct 10, 2019

Once upon a time, due to the hectic schedule of my campus, I missed the deadline for a campaign of Unilever.

As an intern, I think it is important for our team and for the brand of our product, so I should take measure to fix it. Therefore, I did 3 things.

Firstly, I measured my current available resources to see if there were any resources I can use to quickly help me.

Secondly, I told the truth to my colleague and my line manager, giving them my idea about how to solve this problem and wish them to help me.

Thirdly, I did the plan B with several colleague, and worked overtime.

Finally we got things done and the campaign could be carried as usual.

From this experience, I think it is essential to prepare the plan B in advance, and consider the risk of different situation. More importantly, time management are crucial and we should prioritize our multiple tasks.

(edited)

Anonymous E replied on Oct 08, 2019

There was a time that personally felt like a failure although the outcome of the task itself was successful. I was at college and I had a very important and complex team project to deliver. Two of my team mates were brilliant, competitive and extremely prepared. They basically decided to pull all the project by themselves, with all nighters and personal extra tasks. The rest of the team was basically cut off and was left doing the simple stuff. Going back to the time, I realized I allowed to be excluded because I was very busy with many other courses and deliveries and I honestly found free-riding useful for me once (although it is something that I never inteded to do nor I support doing). At the end, we got the top mark but for me it felt like a total failure. Lesson learned: if you are not the sharpest tool in the box, you can always find your way to give your best for the team and the project. Piggybacking other people's work is wrong even if allowed by the others!

Anonymous D replied on Oct 06, 2019

I failed in confronting my teammates in the final year project and hence I had to go back and check everything from zero

Anonymous C replied on Sep 27, 2019

I dont know the answer to this

Anonymous B replied on Sep 19, 2019

the first failure that comes to mind was my inability to get my previous academic department to get on-board re: seeing a lack of diversity and inclusion in our dept. While the issue was glaringly obvious to me anecdotally and from personal experience, the faculty i was working with was extremely data-driven and fact-motivated. to solve the problem in our dept, many people believed that there were insurmountable barriers because it was seen as a field-wide problem. by presenting more evidence from other academic sources to make the case that there ARE reasons why we should be proactive in this realm, and there ARE ways that we could be, i may have been able to persuade enough of the faculty to get on board and drive dept'mental change.