Why did not you apply for McKinsey directly?

McKinsey PEI
New answer on May 31, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Aug 07, 2018

Hi everyone,

I will have an interview with McK at end of this month. There is one question that puzzles me a lot and I cannot figure out a good answer.

Why didn't you apply for McKinsey directly?

Just to provide some contexts of my background: I started as analyst for a IT-consulting firm and later switched to a tier 2 consulting firm. I am sure that McK is going to ask this question during interview, so I want to make sure that I have a good answer for this question.

Thank you all.

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Anonymous replied on Aug 08, 2018

I am pretty sure they won't be asking you this question. What they could ask, on the other hand, is "why do you want to switch to McKinsey now from your current firm?" For this, you can formulate any reasonable answer around your reasons for switching - e.g. work with greater variety of clients, higher impact projects, training, etc.

I would also say that for McKinsey specifically, the "FIT" part of the interview is very structured as part of the Personal Experience Interview (PEI). Therefore, you are less likely to get these types of "behavioural" questions than at BCG/Bain, and likely will just get one PEI Question (details of PEI have been discussed at length in previous Q&As).

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replied on Aug 07, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


I believe you worry about a phantom here! This is really not what is on the mind of ANY interviewer at McKinsey! They want to know why they should hire you NOW, and will not be interested in why or why not you may have applied to McKinsey several years ago. My tip: please focus on the important parts of the fit interview! These have been discussed at length here in this Q&A section.

Cheers, Sidi

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Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


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replied on Nov 05, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Question might be "why didn't you apply to McK directly... during school?" (vs. applying a few years down the road). You'd have to explain how your own ambitions and likes/dislikes have evolved over the years.

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Content Creator
replied on Aug 07, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi, your question is absolutely unclear

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Alex replied on Aug 07, 2018

Hi, can you clarify what you mean? How do you have an interview with McK if you didnt apply to them?

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