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How To Prepare For Mckinsey Interview

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Mckinseys New Problem Solving Game Solve

Interviewing with McKinsey: Case study interview

Imagine yourself in a beautiful, serene forest populated by many kinds of wildlife. As you take in the flora and fauna, you learn about an urgent matter demanding your attention: the animals are quickly succumbing to an unknown illness. Its up to you to figure out what to doand then act quickly to protect what you can.

McKinsey & Company

Sounds exciting? Well,you be the judge.

As a consultant with McKinsey or in any other top-tier consulting firm, you often find yourself in situations where you must save the day. On an abstract level, the game simulates exactly this reality. While your consulting career mostly relates to strategy engagements with Fortune 500 companies, McKinsey chooses the environmental scenarios deliberately. More on that in a second.

Traditionally, the McKinsey way of hiring candidates was through the following funnel:

  • Screening: Your consulting resume and cover letter are screening based on a number of filters
  • Problem Solving Test: A 60-minute pen-and-paper test, covering 26 business-related questions
  • Consulting Interview Round 1: 2 to 3 business case and personal experience interviews
  • Consulting Interview Round 2: another 1 to 3 interviews depending on the region
  • With the introduction of the Problem Solving Game , the Problem Solving Test is on its way out.

    Why would McKinsey get rid of a battle-tested tool, which has been used to screen hundreds of thousands of applicants over the years and more importantly, replace it with a computer game?

    Practice On Sample Tests

    Finally, once you have developed a consistent way of answering PST questions you should practice on PST sample tests. There are two important tips you should apply when practicing on sample tests.

    First, you should practice in REAL CONDITIONS. This means you should print your PST tests, only allow yourself 60 minutes, and no calculator and scrap paper. This might sound like an obvious tip but it’s actually quite hard to really stick to this in practice. The reason it’s so important to do this is that it will make things feel more familiar on the day of your test.

    And second, you should STUDY YOUR MISTAKES IN DETAIL. In our experience practicing on 6 PST tests is more than enough to pass the test. It’s better to practice on 6 tests and to get the most out of each of them by studying your mistakes in detail than to practice on 15 different tests but to not get much out of any of them.

    The McKinsey PST Training Programme contains 3 tests made up of 26 questions each. Past candidates who have used these tests often report that they are the closest to the actual PST test that are available on the Internet . We have also enriched these tests with detailed answers and special tips to make you faster.

    How We Can Accelerate Your Preparation

    If you want to accelerate your MBB interview preparation and improve your performance to crack any case, check out our offers below or contact us at [email protected]. We are two former McKinsey consultants with the best coaching track record, with 9 out of 10 candidates that went through our coaching program receiving their desired offer.

    If you need to brush up on your math skills, we have created a program with detailed insider learning materials, 25 videos and a guidebook as well as 2,000 practice drills that mimick the McKinsey, BCG, and Bain case interview math as well as the aptitude and analytics test math for you here: the Case Interview Math Mastery.

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    Mckinsey Case Interview Tips

    In an interviewer-led case, there is less of a natural flow, more emphasis on correctness, and less time to develop an answer. How do you adapt to these challenges?

    These are the seven tips I used to crack case interviews at McKinsey. In the Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program, you can find countless such tips throughout the 10 case videos of the Tips and Techniques package.

    Final Thoughts On Preparing For Mckinsey Case Interviews

    Interviewing at McKinsey

    We hope that youve found this article helpful in narrowing down which resources to use to prepare for your McKinsey case interviews.

    Whether you choose to exclusively use free resources or purchase case interview prep books, courses, or coaching, we want to offer you these five critical McKinsey case interview preparation tips.

    1. Learn the right strategies the first time

    It is very important to learn the right case interview strategies the first time. If you learn poor case interview strategies and then practice solving cases using these strategies, youll develop bad case interview habits. These habits will be difficult to correct later on when you decide to switch to using more effective case interview strategies.

    If you learn the effective and robust strategies in the beginning, youll save yourself many hours of preparation time.

    2. Practice with high-quality practice cases

    When practicing cases, try to use the highest quality practice cases you can find. Ideally, these cases will come directly from McKinsey and be representative of an actual case interview in terms of difficulty and length.

    Youll find yourself improving much more quickly if you use high-quality practice cases versus low-quality cases.

    3. Practice with a case partner whenever possible

    4. Keep a list of improvement areas

    5. Work on improving one thing at a time

    Land your Dream Consulting Job

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    Consultants Are Hired For Either The Generalist Track Or A Specialist Track

    Generalists at McKinsey are consultants who could be staffed to help clients in any industry and dealing with any type of business problem. Specialists are consultants with a particular area of expertise.

    Areas of specialization within McKinsey include digital and advanced analytics, marketing and sales, business turn around, operations, software development and design, and implementation.

    Mckinsey Case Interview Courses

    Case interview courses are more expensive to use than case interview prep books, but offer more efficient and effective learning. Youll learn much more quickly from watching someone teach you the material, provide examples, and then walk through practice problems than from reading a book by yourself.

    Courses typically cost anywhere between $200 to $400.

    If you are looking for a single resource to learn the best McKinsey case interview strategies in the most efficient way possible, consider trying our one-week case interview course.

    Through 50+ concise video lessons and 20 full-length practice cases based on real interviews from top-tier consulting firms, youll learn step-by-step how to crush your McKinsey case interview.

    Weve had students pass their McKinsey first round interview with just a week of preparation, but know that your success depends on the amount of effort you put in and your starting capabilities.

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    Problem Driven Structure Vs Frameworks

    As we have noted previously, old-fashioned case interview frameworks are unreliable and will not impress your interviewer. This might be a bitter pill to swallow if you have already waded through the relevant books and devoted time to rote learning these frameworks.

    However, on reflection, the simple fact that using frameworks is indeed a matter of rote learning should be a huge red flag in itself. We can think about this from a couple of angles lets take a closer look!

    How To Prepare For An Interview With Mckinsey

    Interviewing with McKinsey: Personal experience interview
    • 24.9.2018
    • McKinsey & Company

    Tips from Pekka, management consultant at McKinsey.

    I wanted to write this blog text to help and support all those of you who may think about applying for McKinsey & Company, but have questions about the interview process. So how does it go, and what should you be prepared for?

    First of all, our interviews consist of two elements .

  • Experience interview, where we want to hear about your experiences to discover skills that enable you to thrive at McKinsey. Come prepared to discuss some important experiences in a detailed way, focusing on your specific role and describing the key actions that were critical to success.

  • Problem solving interview, where we discuss a real client scenario with you. This helps us understand how you structure tough, ambiguous business challenges, identify important issues, deal with all the implications of facts and data, formulate conclusions and recommendations, and articulate your thoughts in a fast-moving discussion. Our sample interview cases will help you get familiar with the format and test your problem-solving skills.

  • Secondly, we want to make our interviews as pleasant as a job interview can be, and we will try to help you be at your best. Our interviews are challenging because our work is challenging. Thats precisely why we seek to support and inspire each other at McKinsey, and we want to give you a sense of that when you meet us during interviews.

    Practical tips for the preparation period

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    The Lightning Talk: What It Is & How To Prepare

    Lightning talks are typically ten-minute PowerPoint presentations that youll give to McKinsey Digital consultants about a real data or technology-driven project that you worked on.

    It can be hard to imagine summarizing an entire project in ten minutes for some strangers.

    Imagine that you have a new VP in your division and you need to get them up to speed on the project and what it accomplished. Thats about the level of detail you need in your Lightning Talk presentation, though more of the analytical rigor in the work will come out in the following Q& A.

    Tip #: Deliver Concise And Insightful Answer Pitch

    Present your answer in one perfect, insightful, top-down, concise, captivating final pitch.

    As I said just earlier, in an interviewer-led case, delivering answers in one pitch is important. However, Ive seen candidates taking this too far and ended up hurting their own analysis by not asking for necessary information this is a pitfall you should look out for.

    Anyhow, content-wise, the pitch must be short, but still containing all the important points from your analysis. The contents must also be arranged in a structured fashion, or youll look unorganized in the interviewers eyes.

    When making the pitch, use all available means of communication speech, body language, even pen-and-paper to visualize the contents. Maintain eye contact, speak concretely and confidently, avoid fidgeting, or raising the tone at the end .

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    The Mckinsey Digital Interview Process For Technical Positions

    Roles in Digital McKinsey that require technical skills include data and product engineers, experience designers, engineers, product managers, data scientists, and core consultants. If youre applying for these roles, the interview process includes:

    • The Quanthub prescreening test,
    • The personal experience interview, and
    • The technical case.

    What Does Mckinsey Look For

    McKinsey PEI (Personal Experience Interview)

    As with other MBB firms, McKinsey looks for the three core skills and qualifications in potential employees: problem-solving skills, leadership ability and achieving mentality. Prior business background is highly advantageous although not a requirement, and technical/industry knowledge is required for certain career tracks such as McKinsey Digital, or jobs at support centers.

    Since the terms are quite ambiguous, Ill explain them here:

    In McKinsey case interviews, each candidate must successfully display the following five attributes among which the first three are crucial to consulting. In the Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program, Ill teach you how to demonstrate all of these attributes effectively, both in the case interview and the PEI.

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    What Is A Case Interview

    A case interview is an interview with a business context

    In a case interview, you are given a business problem and asked to solve it that problem, together with the whole surrounding business context, is called a case.

    The Pirate Company, based in the Caribbeans, offering assets removal services to ships in the area, is suffering from negative profits. They want you to look into the cause and solve it.

    In this case, the problem is decreasing profits. If you are the candidate, youre supposed to find out whats causing it, and most of the time, also how to fix it.

    Mckinsey Recruiting Is Developing New Assessment Tools Such As The Digital Assessment

    These new tools are meant to broaden the firms reach to find the best talent regardless of geography as well as provide deeper insight into candidates problem-solving skills.

    If youd like to know more about McKinsey and how their interview process differs from other consulting firms, keep reading! We dive deeper into these topics below.

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    How Is Tei Different Than A Case Interview

    To land a job at a management or strategy consulting firm in a traditional role, a lot of emphasis is placed on the case interview. Depending on the role, you may or not have to navigate the case interview.

    Regardless, the TEI interview is different from a case interview in that it doesnt test your problem-solving, logical, or communication skills in a simulated setting. Instead of asking you to solve an ambiguous problem you wont be familiar with, the TEI will require you to communicate how youve solved a real-world ambiguous problem in the past.

    Keep in mind that TEI interviews take place in the context of interviewing for a technical role at McKinsey. Not everyone will face one. However, the one critical difference between the two interviews actually works to your advantage. In a case interview, you have no idea what the case will be about until you are in the interview. But in a TEI interview, you will be asked about actual experiences and projects you have been on, what you did, and the results you achieved.

    As such, prepare stories on a range of specific situations in advance and be ready to use them. If you need help developing and delivering your stories, work with one of our ex-McKinsey coaches.

    Case Interview Preparation Time

    Interviewing with McKinsey: expertise interview

    One of the most common questions we get is how much time is needed to prepare for case interviews?

    Our response is that proper preparation gives you a significant advantage.

    Your competition is not the case, it is simply other very smart and very-well prepared people.

    This means you need to outperform in as many of the sub-areas of the case as possible, consistently, and while under pressure.

    Heres our suggestion on how to best allocate your time, given the amount of hours you have to dedicate to case interview preparation:

    If under 10 hours of time:

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    Tip #: Analyze As Deep And Comprehensive As Possible

    Try as hard as you can to be in-depth and comprehensive with your analyses.

    For your answers to NOT be generic and lackluster, you must go wide and go deep with your analyses in the first place so always ask yourself Am I overlooking something? and Can I drill down further?.

    Suppose youre tasked to evaluate the customer preferences for ASUS gaming laptops one bad way to answer that question is to list these factors: low price, high performance, good design this answer generalizes all of ASUSs customers while leaving out a crucial aspect customer service.

    For the ASUS example, a better way to respond is to first segment the customers based on their budget , then evaluate price, performance, design and customer service for each segment. The resulting answer will be much more specific, all-round and actionable.

    Be careful not to spend too much time drilling and expanding though if you take too long, the interviewer will force you to the next question and you lose one chance to prove yourself.

    What Skills Are Assessed By Mckinsey

    Broadly, there are six skills that are assessed in a case interview and that you need to demonstrate consistently.

  • Structure: Are you able to derive a MECE framework, breaking a problem down into smaller problems, accurately covering all aspects of the problem?
  • Creativity: Do you think about a problem holistically, offering broad, deep, and insightful perspectives. Are you able to come up with different angles to the problem and draft rich descriptions that qualify why these areas are important to investigate ?
  • Analytical rigor and logical thinking: Can you link the structure to creative thinking? Are you using a hypothesis-driven approach to your problem solving, i.e. have a clear picture of where you think the solution of the case is buried most likely or where you want to go next? Do you qualify your thinking, follow your structure, tackle high-impact issues first and lead the interviewer?
  • Mental math and basic calculus: Are you able to structure quantitative problems and comfortably perform calculations? Can you derive the correct approach to calculate the desired outcome variable? Can you plug in the numbers and perform the calculations, relying on basic pen-and-paper math, shortcuts, and mental math?
  • Now, these skills are assessed in a very specific interviewing format, which is not natural for most applicants and needs significant practice to become second nature.

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    Case Interview Market Sizing

    This question sometimes shows up, but not always. Its a quantitative question but when youre not provided with any data.

    This type of question tests similar skills as Calculating Math does, but youll need to make assumptions to solve the problem.

    Example – Market sizing / estimation question:

    Could you estimate the market size for dishwashers in the US making assumptions?

    Heres how a case interviewer will assess you in this section:

    A good response:

    • You make some relevant and reasonable assumptions

    • You are somewhat effective with calculations

    Guide To Preparing For Interviews At Mckinsey

    Question you should ask at the end of your McKinsey ...

    This is a guest post by Sydney Rokos of My Consulting Coach

    I am going to begin by saying well done! It is extremely likely you have already made it through the screening and have successfully secured a position in the next round of the process. You should now start constructing a strategy to prepare for the upcoming round of the application. With the first qualifying round of structured interviews, you will be pitting yourself against other skilled candidates for the position. With a comprehensive preparation plan, frequent practice and confidence, you will be ready to stand out.

    There are 4 steps in the process, from application to job offer:

    • Application Screening
    • PST 60 minutes
    • Interview

    Your first and second round interviews will be made up of 2 parts, namely:

    • PEI which accounts for about 25% of the 45-60 minute interview
    • Case Interview will account for 75% of this time.

    The Problem Solving Test

    McKinsey requires applicants to complete the PST as part of the screening process. All candidates will take the same test so the comparison is direct, fair and objective. The test has been designed to measure the applicant consultants math and reasoning skills. You will get 60 minutes to answer 26 questions based on 3 cases. The test is strictly aimed at assessing your numerical and reasoning skills. Do not overlook the importance of practicing your skills.

    Included are a few tips to assist you to prepare for the PST.

    1st & Second Round Interviews

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