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Time Limit in McKinsey Case Interviews

Nandan asked on Jan 03, 2018 - 4 answers
Looking for solid case partners to prepare for top consulting firms.

Hi - I know that the McKinsey Case interview can last anywhere between 25 to 35 minutes. The cases are interviewer led and typically consist of 5-6 questions each. What happens if the interviewer is not able to cover all the questions within the allotted time? Will the interviewer just stop after the time limit? Also, is this bad as a candidate? Is doing the case accurately better than doing it quickly? Thanks in advance!

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replied on Jan 03, 2018
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The McKinsey case interview normally lasts 35-40 mins with major questions covered. The interviewer will make sure they cover all the questions- sometimes they do overrun a bit (e.g., 5 mins). But it will not overrun a lot since the interviewer will interview other candidates as well. In order to be fair, the interviewer will make sure that they cover same questions for each candidate on the batch day.

It's not necessary bad for candidate. The interviewer will evaluate your anwsers thoroughly. I would say doing the case accurately is more important for quantitative questions. Take your time when answering questions. Practice can increase your speed as well as accuracy. If you answer a question correctly but too slowly, it will impact your evaluations as well.

Hope it helps.

Totally agreed with Steven's answer. That's why coaching sessions with expert like Steven will add a lot of value to the preparation. — Elaine on Jan 03, 2018

Thanks for the response Steven. Practice is definitely the key! — Nandan on Jan 03, 2018

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replied on Jan 26, 2018
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Hi Nandan,

I agree with the previous answers; in particular, considering each question:

1) What happens if the interviewer is not able to cover all the questions within the allotted time?

At McKinsey the interviewer will usually cut the question and move to the next area, so far that you are not able to complete your analysis in the allocated time slot.

2) Will the interviewer just stop after the time limit?

As mentioned by Steven, there is a bit of overrun possible, but normally no more than 5-10min

3) Also, is this bad as a candidate?

Of course the best thing would be to complete each session in the correct way. However, if you do everything well and just go longer in one area, you can still move to the next round, as mentioned by Wouter

4) Is doing the case accurately better than doing it quickly?

There is a trade-off between the two extremes. Neither perfectly and slow nor quickly inaccurate are ideal. Having to choose between the two, slow and accurate is usually better, in particular for math. But, as Steven mentioned, being too slow could affect your performance as well.



Wouter replied on Jan 04, 2018
Received offer from MBB and Arthur D. Little


I got a McKinsey first round interview a couple of weeks ago.

Even though I suspect that I did not finish 2 (or maybe even all 3) cases, I was selected for the second round.

So don't worry to much about it, focus on the calculations and interpretation ('what does it mean?' 'What are the consequences?')

Anonymous replied on Feb 23, 2018

Hey Nandan,

The McKinsey cases tend to be quite modular (i.e., it's quite easy to remove a question if you're running over time, without be implications on the overarching case structure), so that's what you can expect if you're significantly running over time. However, the interviewer will tend to do their best to prompt and guide you to speed up in order to do the entire case/cover all the most important questions that allow to fully assess you.



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