Transitioning to Consulting from Engineering background

Engineering and Management Consulting McKinsey McKinsey Interveiw
New answer on Jun 28, 2021
4 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Jun 14, 2021

What is the best timeline to prepare and successfully land a McK offer, as an experienced hire with engineering background?
Is 6 weeks and/or 5 coaching sessions realistic and enough, assuming I have only practiced 5 cases to date? 
In your opinon, what is the best way to fast track my preparation from initial online appication to offer? Thank you.

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 15, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

The timeline seems about right if you are working with an experienced McK coach. However, you still do need to put in the work in between sessions. I usually 

  • connect my coachees with each other to practice together (preselection assures that they are following the same approach and already have a given level so that both sides can benefit from the sessions) - I recommend practicing 10 to 20 cases outside of the coaching depending on the starting level and case experience
  • provide coachees with training drills that they can complete and work on based on their strengths (lifting good performances to great) and weaknesses (lifting below the bar to good).

If you follow this, then 6 weeks seems to be a good timeline. Reach out if you want to know more.



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Content Creator
replied on Jun 14, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Honestly 6 weeks and 5 coaching sessions is about right. I'd say this is probably smack in the middle of what's required on average to get ready.

Now, just remember that everyone is different. Some people take less time and some more. I think this is the right target, but just make sure to be flexible and adaptable!

My final advice is in regards to coaching: Spend a few days researching coaches to figure out which one might fit you best. And, don't wait until the end to get one - if you really want to fast track your prep 1-2 sessions early on are the best way to set yourself up for success.

Good luck!

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replied on Jun 14, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

It's hard to get a sense of your starting point but assuming you work full-time and have not done cases before, you may want to budget a little more time and flexibility. Some of the more intrinsic aspects of the case (e.g., structuring, synthesis, etc.) take a little more time to learn. Instead of 5 coaching sessions, I would just start with one to get a good sense of where you currently stand (incl. your strengths) and some tactical advice on WHAT and HOW you need to improve.

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 28, 2021
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

When it comes to experienced hire transitions especially from non traditional backgrounds, the following are the most relevant challenges faced


  • Time is your biggest challenge - you need time to work, time to prepare for the interviews and this also has to be managed for other activities. And the second most important element here is :

  • Energy - your energy does not stay consistent throughout the day. There are peaks and troughs you have to manage and ideally you want to be preparing for the interviews closer to the peaks so that you are giving it your best show


  • Resources to prepare - there are infinite resources and you will need to decide what books to look at, what guides to follow

  • Practice partners - often for experienced hires this is one or more coaches as you do not have a lot of time to coordinate your schedule with others also currently practicing for interviews

  • Wall Street Journal/Economist - if you are not very familiar with how businesses approach and solve problems especially across industries then these are critical resources to have a fundamental understanding of the current issues businesses face and their resolutions

  • PEI - do not ignore this. You will need to spend time reading up on how to structure your stories, what stories to pick and how best to deliver your answers to PEI questions

Interviewing skills

These are skills in addition to preparing for cases and PEI, examples of these include

  • Top down communication style

  • How to present yourself

  • How to show you are truly present and engaged during the interview process

  • Questions to prepare to ask your interviewer

The answer to how long is sufficient to prepare depends on your answer to all of the above. If you are at a reasonably high skill level for most and only need a little bit of additional help then 2-3 weeks is good. If you have very limited time but are new to MBB interviews and need to develop your skills it can take 2-3 months of time as well. My suggestion is to first have a session with a coach to benchmark where you are and then decide next steps based on that discussion.

All the best,


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