What can I expect at the final round (interviewing with a partner, no case)?

Final Round
New answer on Jul 16, 2020
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ZAIN asked on Jun 30, 2020

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Anonymous replied on Jun 30, 2020

Hi there,

Final rounds are generally less technical and more into general business sense and getting to know you better.

The partner can choose to have a standard case or can choose to go for something out of the box - the thing you need to remember is that handling curve balls and the ability to stay composed are crucial to passing these rounds.

I hope this helps

Khaled

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ZAIN on Jun 30, 2020

Incredibly helpful, much appreciated!

Udayan
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updated an answer on Jun 30, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

To add to the answers below,

The focus of the final round is few fold

1. Assessing your fit with the firm - If you make it to the final round, you are considered to be smart enough from a technical perspective. Which is to say that there is broad consensus that you can do the work to the expected level. Now the emphasis is on whether you will fit into the firm culture. From what I have seen this focuses on the following

Are you coachable? - this is important because as a new joinee you will have to both perform the task and do so using the method the firm employs and you have to work across teams, clients functions etc.

Are you client ready - can they trust you in front of a client to do the right thing? WIll you engage with the client? How will you handle being challenged or them being critical of your approach? Can you build trust based relationships in a short time?

Are you a team player? - This involves being part of a team and being concerned about team welfare over your own or at least along with your own. Will you do tasks that aren't always exciting? Will you stay back to help the team complete tasks when you are done? How will you ensure others benefit from your presence?

Are you willing to do what it takes to get the job done? - will you do what it takes to complete a project. This isn't easy when the team gets inputs from multiple sources and you have to work long hours and sometimes weekends.

2. Addressing any concerns that may have been raised in the earlier rounds - even though you made it to the final round, it is likely that not all answers were perfect. Maybe your structuring was great but analysis was lacking etc. Partners will find their own ways to address this - typically I have seen market sizing as a tool come up more often to check for any quantitative weaknesses, alongside partner's own cases (projects they are working on) to check for structuring or creativity

3. Airplane test - they also want to have an engaging conversation with you. The typical 'airplane test' or would I want to be stuck in an airplane seat next to this person. The important thing here is to be authentic and also be present in the conversation. Many people are surprised by the friendly nature of the conversations and that is because they really want to get to know you as a person

Final rounds are often varied and there is no set pattern. Focus more on PEI and make sure you are structured and thoughtful in your answers, and try and read up on various industries to be knowledgable about different topics.

All the best in your interviews

Udayan

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Jul 01, 2020
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Hi Zain,

It is unsual not to have cases in a final round but it could happen.

The structure of the rounds is the same (fit + case+ your questions); however there is more emphasis on communication and fit.

Specifically, the main differences you will find in a final round with partners is that at that stage they:

  1. spend more time on fit questions and your alignment with the company
  2. check more closely your communication (eg how you react to challenging questions)
  3. may not have a “proper” structured case to present – during one of my MBB finals I had one interview which was made by two market sizing questions and a brainteaser, without any business case. That's because during the final they know you can structure and crack a case (you passed few interviews already) and are more interested in your logic, personality and fit with the company

So in order to prepare I would concentrate on:

  • Review in detail your PEI stories – they will matter more than in the first round. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioral questions
  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure, how to gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc). This is something you can do almost exclusively in interviews with peers.
  • Prepare cases as you did for the first round. More market sizing practice may be useful to think outside the box if you get unusual questions.

In case you need help with unusual cases please feel free to PM me, I do a specific session on them (eg How would you estimate the effect of the Coronavirus on the economy in China)?

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Jul 01, 2020

Hi,

Usually there would be a lot more questions on your past experiences, motivations etc. to assess your fit with the company.

Even if they tell you no case, do be prepared that the parnter might ask you high level questions about how you would think or approach certain issues. E.g. if you are the CEO of your current company, how would you think about the growth in next 5 years. In such situation, you don't need to go through any details, but still need to be able to verbalise your high level approach in a logical way.

Best,

Emily

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Robert
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replied on Jun 30, 2020
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Hi Zain,

Apart from technicalities who is interviewing you (which are more senior folks, usually on partner/director level for McKinsey), the main idea is simple. Let me give you the 2 major differences to consider.

1) Ensuring that any short-comings from previous rounds are a non-issue

Whatever was not 100% matching the expectation level of McKinsey in the first round interviews will be evaluated in detail again in final round interviews. Final round interviewers are normally also briefed about previous interviews' performance so that they can cover this aspect again. This is to ensure that you are really a good fit from the firm's perspective, and any short-coming from previous interviews was not a systematic issue (makes sense, doesn't it?).

So for whatever was not going 100% perfect in your previous interviews you need to make absolutely sure to improve on that - chances are high you will need to show that in your final rounds.

2) Everything can happen - mostly non-standardized scheme of cases/discussion

Apart from that - well, the firm's owners are interviewing you. So apart from ensuring any shortcoming from previous interviews are ok, they can do pretty much whatever they want and what makes sense to them. And they usually use non-standard cases which you are used to from practice or even first round interviews - sometimes it's more like discussing some challenging projects/aspect they are dealing with at the moment.

So also be prepared that everything can happen and that most likely it won't follow the standardized scheme from previous interviews.

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

Robert

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Gaurav
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replied on Jun 30, 2020
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Ian
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replied on Jul 01, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

In terms of process, nothing. However, they have made a note of areas you showed strengths/weaknesses in. Look for them to test you weaknesses to see if they're 1) A fluke or 2) Workable.

So, focus on improving in areas you know you underperformed in - at the end of the day, same preparation as you should have been doing before!

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Anonymous replied on Jul 01, 2020

Hello,

Interviews with partners are generally less standardized.

If the partner wants to do a case study , then he/she will, and it happens often.

But the partner may also want to test your business sense by asking yourself questions related to recent events (why not the business impacts of the coronavirus for example?).

I strongly advise you to read the news for a few weeks to be well informed.

David

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Anton
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replied on Jun 30, 2020
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Hi,

I would definitely expect cases during MBB final rounds.

Also it could be a market sizing exercise or brain teaser.

Best,

Anton

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Anonymous replied on Jul 16, 2020

Dear Zain,

Final round is very similar to the first round, although partners will pay more attention to cases and your personal fit to the company. My only advice - don't be too much relaxed, don't be nervous and go through/prepare again your fit stories. Because you will be asked them by the partner and checked whether you fit to the company ot not.

And cases is there also

Wish you best of luck,

Best,

André

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Clara
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replied on Jul 02, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

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