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Ian

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10

What is the room for error in a final round interview?

I get the sense in the first round small mistakes such as arithmetic errors, missing out a small sub-bullet on the structure, not being very fluent in fit are still good enough to get to the final round. (from my current experience as well as colleagues who interviewed with me and are currently preparing for the final rounds in McKinsey APAC)

However I'd like to know what the bar is for the final round - do you have to be aboslutely perfect? Is there no room for human error?

I get the sense in the first round small mistakes such as arithmetic errors, missing out a small sub-bullet on the structure, not being very fluent in fit are still good enough to get to the final round. (from my current experience as well as colleagues who interviewed with me and are currently preparing for the final rounds in McKinsey APAC)

However I'd like to know what the bar is for the final round - do you have to be aboslutely perfect? Is there no room for human error?

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Book a coaching with Ian

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I understand the desire to ask this question (peace of mind), but think about how little worrying/thinking about this matters!

Nothing we say will change how you prep/perform...no matter what you're going to (and should) try your best.

The real answer is: You don't have to be better to get in, but even if you are perfect you may not get it!

It depends on office demand, interviewer-candidate dynamic, what types of errors are made, how frequently, etc.

You can "ace the case" and not get in because you just didn't seem like someone they'd want to work with. You can make a couple mistake and get rave reviews because you took in feedback super well, were insightful, and were a pleasure to case.

It honestly depends.

In terms of your specific question though...yes you can make an arithmetic error or two. Yes you can miss a sub-bullet in the structure. Yes (maybe) you can not be especially fluent in fit.

I understand the desire to ask this question (peace of mind), but think about how little worrying/thinking about this matters!

Nothing we say will change how you prep/perform...no matter what you're going to (and should) try your best.

The real answer is: You don't have to be better to get in, but even if you are perfect you may not get it!

It depends on office demand, interviewer-candidate dynamic, what types of errors are made, how frequently, etc.

You can "ace the case" and not get in because you just didn't seem like someone they'd want to work with. You can make a couple mistake and get rave reviews because you took in feedback super well, were insightful, and were a pleasure to case.

It honestly depends.

In terms of your specific question though...yes you can make an arithmetic error or two. Yes you can miss a sub-bullet in the structure. Yes (maybe) you can not be especially fluent in fit.

Hi, I went through the process this year for McK. I didn't make any mistakes in the second round so I can't comment on the margin of error personally.

However, I know one of my friends made 3 math errors this year (he found and corrected two of them himself), one in each of his final round interviews. He recovered well and ended up with the offer.

I also spoke with another person in my incoming analyst class at McK who said he got a specialized profit formula wrong and screwed up the math answer, but the partner gave him some hints and he figured it out. And guess what - he's in my class. I would've thought that was a huge error, but it worked out for him. I also know some people who claim they made no mistakes in the final round who didn't get the offer.

From my observations, I think the final round interview is just vetting you against the rest. If you're a boring person - doesn't matter if you ace all the technicals and tick the boxes for PEI. They'll probably not want you. If you won the international science fair and organized a political movement, then I'm sure you can make all the mistakes in the world and they'll still beg you to join their firm. You don't have to do either of those things, but being a likable person with great intrapersonal spikes can go a long way.

My final tip to you is just to think there is zero room for error. Why not push yourself to achieve the best you can do? I did that and I aced my final rounds. Don't drop your standards now.

Message me if you want to ask any follow-up questions. Cheers!

Hi, I went through the process this year for McK. I didn't make any mistakes in the second round so I can't comment on the margin of error personally.

However, I know one of my friends made 3 math errors this year (he found and corrected two of them himself), one in each of his final round interviews. He recovered well and ended up with the offer.

I also spoke with another person in my incoming analyst class at McK who said he got a specialized profit formula wrong and screwed up the math answer, but the partner gave him some hints and he figured it out. And guess what - he's in my class. I would've thought that was a huge error, but it worked out for him. I also know some people who claim they made no mistakes in the final round who didn't get the offer.

From my observations, I think the final round interview is just vetting you against the rest. If you're a boring person - doesn't matter if you ace all the technicals and tick the boxes for PEI. They'll probably not want you. If you won the international science fair and organized a political movement, then I'm sure you can make all the mistakes in the world and they'll still beg you to join their firm. You don't have to do either of those things, but being a likable person with great intrapersonal spikes can go a long way.

My final tip to you is just to think there is zero room for error. Why not push yourself to achieve the best you can do? I did that and I aced my final rounds. Don't drop your standards now.

Message me if you want to ask any follow-up questions. Cheers!

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That's absolutely not true! Offers are extended based on a candidates spikes in certain dimensions of the interview (vs. other peers who are extended offers), assuming a hygiene level is reached on other dimensions. For example, if your structuring is "through the roof" and you made a small math mistake in one of your interviews, that is usually not a deal breaker, etc.

When there's been an obvious error during one of the final round interviews, there are often long discussions on whether interviewers see a systematic issue around the candidates performance or whether its a one-off. Needless to say, if you have made the same error more than once then thats an issue but at the same time, how you performed in first round and where you have shown improvement based on feedback are important considerations too.

That's absolutely not true! Offers are extended based on a candidates spikes in certain dimensions of the interview (vs. other peers who are extended offers), assuming a hygiene level is reached on other dimensions. For example, if your structuring is "through the roof" and you made a small math mistake in one of your interviews, that is usually not a deal breaker, etc.

When there's been an obvious error during one of the final round interviews, there are often long discussions on whether interviewers see a systematic issue around the candidates performance or whether its a one-off. Needless to say, if you have made the same error more than once then thats an issue but at the same time, how you performed in first round and where you have shown improvement based on feedback are important considerations too.

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Making the same mistake again will be game over. Otherwise, just do your best. Interviewers make mistakes too..nobody is perfect.

Making the same mistake again will be game over. Otherwise, just do your best. Interviewers make mistakes too..nobody is perfect.

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Hi,

There is no one definite answer since its very subjective on both sides:

  • You can make a mistake that seems small for you since you don't know all the case detailes but in reality, it's big
  • You might have an interviewer who is very strict about such mistakes

Thus it's always better to demonstrate the best performance!

Best1

Hi,

There is no one definite answer since its very subjective on both sides:

  • You can make a mistake that seems small for you since you don't know all the case detailes but in reality, it's big
  • You might have an interviewer who is very strict about such mistakes

Thus it's always better to demonstrate the best performance!

Best1

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Cases are evaluated holistically, so you're right: Small errors won't move the needle if the rest of the interview was great. But they might be the straw that breaks the camel's back when the rest was just so-so. In this, second round interviews are the same as first round interviews.

Cases are evaluated holistically, so you're right: Small errors won't move the needle if the rest of the interview was great. But they might be the straw that breaks the camel's back when the rest was just so-so. In this, second round interviews are the same as first round interviews.

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Hello!

I also made some math mistakes in my 2nd round McK interview, so for sure it´s not the end of the world not doing a "flawless" interview.

However, it´s difficult to give you a judgement of yours... don´t think it too much, only fingers crossed now.

Best of luck!

Clara

Hello!

I also made some math mistakes in my 2nd round McK interview, so for sure it´s not the end of the world not doing a "flawless" interview.

However, it´s difficult to give you a judgement of yours... don´t think it too much, only fingers crossed now.

Best of luck!

Clara

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Hi there,

You don’t have to be perfect in final rounds. However the bar will be higher.

When I coach candidates I give a score to each dimension of the case, so that they can get one number that shows how far they are from a first/final round pass and the reason why they are not reaching the bar. If you can, it would be great if you could get the same from your partners when you prepare.

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

You don’t have to be perfect in final rounds. However the bar will be higher.

When I coach candidates I give a score to each dimension of the case, so that they can get one number that shows how far they are from a first/final round pass and the reason why they are not reaching the bar. If you can, it would be great if you could get the same from your partners when you prepare.

Best,

Francesco

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Hi,

It really depends on the interviewer, business demand, performance of other candidates and many other factors.

If you tried your best then nothing to regret.

Best,
Iman

Hi,

It really depends on the interviewer, business demand, performance of other candidates and many other factors.

If you tried your best then nothing to regret.

Best,
Iman

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Hi there!

The interviewers won't pay attention to your errors when making a decision if you perform really well.

Nobody's perfect and you don't have to be either, but it's crucial that you do your best in order to achieve something and are able to correct your mistakes.

Do you need any further help?

GB

Hi there!

The interviewers won't pay attention to your errors when making a decision if you perform really well.

Nobody's perfect and you don't have to be either, but it's crucial that you do your best in order to achieve something and are able to correct your mistakes.

Do you need any further help?

GB

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