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Undergrad Internship Interview Differences

Since discovering PrepLounge, I've noticed that the vast majority of questions/advice are tailored towards either MBAs or experienced hires. I'm a rising junior at a target undergrad and I was wondering if there are any notable differences in my hiring process for MBB (getting interview/PEI/Cases/etc.).

Since discovering PrepLounge, I've noticed that the vast majority of questions/advice are tailored towards either MBAs or experienced hires. I'm a rising junior at a target undergrad and I was wondering if there are any notable differences in my hiring process for MBB (getting interview/PEI/Cases/etc.).

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Hi Anonymous,

Usually the whole interview procedure is shorter and more standardized (I recently coached partners from a tier-2 consulting firm joining McKinsey in Europe - they had around 16 interviews with McK partners and directors, with a completely individual interview schedule!).

However, the basic components remain the same - but also my threshold/expectations are lower (obviously, since how could I expect an university hire having the same level of insights like an experience hire!).

Since you address the "PEI" specifically in your question, that's a proprietory interview format specifically from McKinsey which requires in-depth prep similar to case interviews in order to get it right, and most (otherwise very strong) candidates unfortuntately underestimate that completely and bomb their interviews. For that purpose PrepLounge has recently published a guide for that, which is essentially an excerpt from my Ultimate McKinsey PEI Prep ebook with the most important aspects covered: https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/the-secret-mckinsey-pei-cheat-sheet-42

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

Usually the whole interview procedure is shorter and more standardized (I recently coached partners from a tier-2 consulting firm joining McKinsey in Europe - they had around 16 interviews with McK partners and directors, with a completely individual interview schedule!).

However, the basic components remain the same - but also my threshold/expectations are lower (obviously, since how could I expect an university hire having the same level of insights like an experience hire!).

Since you address the "PEI" specifically in your question, that's a proprietory interview format specifically from McKinsey which requires in-depth prep similar to case interviews in order to get it right, and most (otherwise very strong) candidates unfortuntately underestimate that completely and bomb their interviews. For that purpose PrepLounge has recently published a guide for that, which is essentially an excerpt from my Ultimate McKinsey PEI Prep ebook with the most important aspects covered: https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/the-secret-mckinsey-pei-cheat-sheet-42

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Hi there,

There is no difference in the interview itself for undergrad or MBAs – you will still have a structure as:

  • Fit
  • Case
  • Your questions

There are different expectations though. If you are a post MBA, the interviewer will expect examples of leadership, impact, drive, etc. reflecting your previous years of experience.

Interviews for experienced hires are different, as the process may involve questions on a specific sector and industry knowledge. Moreover, as an experienced hire, you may get questions on how to manage real projects and teams, as your responsibilities will involve that (initial data requested, number of people, allocation of people on workstreams, length of the different parts of the project).

In all cases, a referral is a must to get interviews.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi there,

There is no difference in the interview itself for undergrad or MBAs – you will still have a structure as:

  • Fit
  • Case
  • Your questions

There are different expectations though. If you are a post MBA, the interviewer will expect examples of leadership, impact, drive, etc. reflecting your previous years of experience.

Interviews for experienced hires are different, as the process may involve questions on a specific sector and industry knowledge. Moreover, as an experienced hire, you may get questions on how to manage real projects and teams, as your responsibilities will involve that (initial data requested, number of people, allocation of people on workstreams, length of the different parts of the project).

In all cases, a referral is a must to get interviews.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Hello!

Process is identical, what changes is the bar that you need to meet/raise. THey won´t ask or expect the same from an undergrad than from an MBA grad.

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

Process is identical, what changes is the bar that you need to meet/raise. THey won´t ask or expect the same from an undergrad than from an MBA grad.

Cheers,

Clara

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Dear A,

In general, the recruiting process for internships is a way shorter. If the full-time offer normally consists of 3 rounds, then internship could be limited for the first round. And cases are normally are a little bit easier than those given for the full-time offer.

So doing an internship is actually a great start to put your foot already in the door and afterwards convert your internship into full-time offer.

If you need any guidance, drop me a line.

Best,

André

Dear A,

In general, the recruiting process for internships is a way shorter. If the full-time offer normally consists of 3 rounds, then internship could be limited for the first round. And cases are normally are a little bit easier than those given for the full-time offer.

So doing an internship is actually a great start to put your foot already in the door and afterwards convert your internship into full-time offer.

If you need any guidance, drop me a line.

Best,

André

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Thank you for your answer.

The interview process itself is the same (two rounds of case interviews after the test). What might be different is the process to get an interview:

  • MBB is actively looking for penultimate/ultimate year students (for summer internship / analyst roles), so it is not rare that they invite the best students to join the recruitment process (depending on the region/office).
  • The same happens in top MBAs (MBB actively looking for talent).
  • For experienced hires, the application has a "more spontaneous" nature.

The main difference in recruitment is the focus on your previous experience that the interviewers will have during the interviews. Whereas an experienced hire needs to show is specific expertise in any given industry, an undergrad "only" needs to showcase his/her capacity to have a structured way of thinking, drive and teamwork skills. As the latter is more straightforward, you will probably see more questions and advice tailored to experienced hires/MBA.

Good luck!

Thank you for your answer.

The interview process itself is the same (two rounds of case interviews after the test). What might be different is the process to get an interview:

  • MBB is actively looking for penultimate/ultimate year students (for summer internship / analyst roles), so it is not rare that they invite the best students to join the recruitment process (depending on the region/office).
  • The same happens in top MBAs (MBB actively looking for talent).
  • For experienced hires, the application has a "more spontaneous" nature.

The main difference in recruitment is the focus on your previous experience that the interviewers will have during the interviews. Whereas an experienced hire needs to show is specific expertise in any given industry, an undergrad "only" needs to showcase his/her capacity to have a structured way of thinking, drive and teamwork skills. As the latter is more straightforward, you will probably see more questions and advice tailored to experienced hires/MBA.

Good luck!

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