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McKinsey & Company Associate Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Mar 21, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

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Interview Experience 

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Interview Difficulty 

165 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Chicago, IL

I applied through college or university and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2014.

Interview Details – Submitted resume through my school's job portal. Interviewed with McKinsey in January. Getting your resume shortlisted for the onsite interview is considered as round 1. I interviewed with them in Chicago in January. It's an associate role for APD (Advaned Professional Degree) holders.
The interview had 2 parts: Problem Solving Test (PST) and 2 Group Case interview workshops.
The math test involved calculations and time management is the key here. You cannot solve all 26 questions in the PST in the given time. Do not get stuck on any one question. I had 3 sets and I solved 16 questions confidently.
After this, we were divided into teams of 4 each and were assigned a Mckinsey associate to solve a case. We were taken into small conference rooms and after introductions, the associate explained us the case. We were given 2 sets of exhibits, one at the start of the case and another at the middle.
Each of us was cold called to answer one question per head pertaining to the case. The question can be a mathematical calculation or "what would you suggest the management in this scenario" type questions.
For the second case workshop, I was put into another team and we had a different associate this time. The process remained pretty much the same. Practice cases as much as you can, learn a few frameworks. The conference rooms are small and the associate can look into your paper work to see how you are drawing/breaking down information on the case. From my observation, they love it if you can clearly represent the information on the case in clear pattern on your notes.
When they ask you to say your observation on the exhibits, do not say what's clearly visible. Tell them something that's hidden in the exhibit but can be seen with a deeper observation.

Interview Question – None. Practice cases as much as you can. Prepare CAT (Common Admission Test) /GMAT Data interpretation questions and speed math. CAT is conducted in India for admission into IIMs.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Associate Interview

Associate

Interviewed at McKinsey & Company

Interview Details – I went through the standard 3 interview rounds for PhD potential hires.
Round 1 was the Interview Workshop & Initial Assessment (IWIA). For this stage of the process, I took an hour long standardized test and had two group "practice cases".
Round 2 was two one-on-one case+personal experience interviews.
Round 3 was three one-on-one case+personal experience interviews at what would become my home office.
After each stage of the process, I was given the chance to get feedback on my performance and talk with someone from the company. I started the interview process relatively uninterested in a job in consulting, but the people I met along the way completely changed my mind. I was extremely impressed by how friendly, helpful, and open everyone at McKinsey was throughout the interview process. The interviews were tough but fair, and I felt like I had a decent idea of what to expect at each round.

Interview Question – I spent time preparing to answer case questions, but I didn't spend as much time early on working on my answers for the personal experience part of the interview. After the second round, I realized the the PE portion needed plenty of prep to come out sounding coherent and polished. I'd highly suggest you come up with several stories about likely topics (leadership, passion, failure, conflict, etc.) and spend some time thinking through how you'd like to talk about them.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Interview

Anonymous Employee
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in May 2010.

Interview Details – I applied as a doctor. I had to take a preliminary 60 minute screening test with ~40-50 questions. That initial encounter included a group interview, which was non-evaluative. There were two subsequent rounds, each with three interviews, each of which touched on personal background, personal experience, and a case study. I was offered the position on the night of the third round. Very good experience overall.

Interview Question – The questions were all fair and nothing was really out of the ordinary. The thing that I appreciated more than anything else was the two-way conversation with each of the interviewers.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I didn't negotiate

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Interview

Anonymous Employee
New York, NY

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 3 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2012.

Interview Details – Standard case based interview. There are two parts to every McK interview - a case based portion and a personal experience component. Many practice cases are found online and the questions are similar in nature, tailored to different cases, of course.

Interview Question – None of the questions were difficult or unexpected, if you knew what a case interview was. No brain teasers or anything of that nature. The interview is very standard. Most people just get thrown by the fact that it's a verbal interview, meaning the interviewer will ask you questions verbally, including longer math questions.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – I don't think McK negotiates pay. They might negotiate location though and a lot of people probably do negotiate that.

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Associate Interview

Associate

Interviewed at McKinsey & Company

Interview Details – first round and second round very professional, last round depends on the style of the office, can vary a lot

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Interview

Associate

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2013.

Interview Details – I applied online and received an interview invitation about a month later. The first round was paper-based problem solving test, which was trying simulating a real case interview. Whether people can pass this initial round I think pretty much depends on other candidates' performance as well.

Interview Question – Not many unexpected questions.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Interview

Associate
San Francisco, CA

I applied through college or university and the process took 4 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in November 2013.

Interview Details – I was interviewing for McKinsey on the West Coast.

First round was a standardized test, followed by breakout session. Most of the emphasis is on the test, although you can't do terribly on the breakout sessions. I passed this portion, and was free to reselect office locations.

Second round was in-office, with consultants. All interviewees were flown out to SF, and the interview was very standard with Associates and Engagement Managers. Expect ~1-2 weeks to hear back.

The final round was in-office, and was with Associate Principals through to Directors. The cases were markedly more difficult, but spanned the usual spectrum of topics.

Interview Question – The behavioral questions were twists on the ones they asked in the first round. Ensure that you have many stories lined up!   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Associate Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

Interviewed at McKinsey & Company

Interview Details – First round test, second round interview

Interview Question – behavior question, case question   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Associate Interview

Associate
Atlanta, GA

Interviewed at McKinsey & Company

Interview Details – I applied as an advanced degree holder so the first round is PST test plus a group session. The second round comprises two one-to-one interviews (15 mins fit and 30 mins case discussion). After that, it comes to the final round, which includes three interviews given by partners.

Interview Question – A U.S-based jeans manufacturer is facing declining profits. Its profitability has been lagging behind its competitors. The cost has gone up a lot. Its CEO has come to you for advices.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Associate Interview

Anonymous Employee
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 6 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in October 2013.

Interview Details – Many rounds. Very high stress in-between rounds. Final call is the best feeling on earth. If you come from MD, PhD def do your cases. Of the 300+ that applied with me for APD only those who did 80+ cases got offers. This probably isn't true for top MBAs, but if you're coming from science I think its pretty accurate in most cases. McKinsey definitely has an "it" factor, as an APD it really makes you stand out if you are confident and can communicate on par with an MBA.

Interview Question – Very difficult charts and graphs.... almost intentionally unclear. Most important advice I can give is to take a step back and not rush yourself into a hole.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Negotiation non existant. I had offers from BCG and other top places on the table but I never felt like it was appropriate to bring that up with McKinsey. I remember a partner saying that if a few thousand dollars make you question working here than we don't want you. I can agree with that mentality and signed my offer like a good boy!

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