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
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company.
Interview Details – A recruiter contacted me about an opportunity and due to some issues at my current employer, I was open to applying to the firm (had rejected consulting due to quality of life previously). First round was with HR, then had a couple of phone interviews and a coaching session. I really liked the experts I met via phone interview and got pretty excited about the opportunity once I learned that experts don't travel quite as much as other consultants - more like 40-50%, which was on par with my current role and suits me fine. Last round was in-person at the office. The interviewer was kind of a jerk - standoffish and unfriendly. The case he gave me totally stumped me because he gave me nothing to work with - as I went through my framework, all of his responses were "it's flat" "we don't have that info" etc. He then let me know that he knows my current boss very well and wondered if my boss was aware I was interviewing with McKinsey and asked if I was ok with him knowing - "Ummm, NO!" So, I realized pretty quickly that I didn't have a chance at winning this guy over. Even though THEY called ME, his vibe was that I was disloyal for being there - it was an unpleasant experience. I also found the case coaching session very stressful - be prepared for it to feel like an interview and you should be basically interview-ready for that session (I had NO clue) and felt like an idiot after the call.
My takeaway on McKinsey, they are looking people who fit a very particular mold - if that isn't you, don't try to force it...just move on to where you fit.
Interview Question – Case scenario where everything about the business is FLAT...totally threw me as every branch on my framework seemed to lead to a dead end. Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in September 2013.
Interview Details – 2nd round, standard McKinsey interview format. Felt good right after the interview. But was informed no pass. APD background, feel like the pool is very competitive. In general, the case by itself was not very difficult, but my feedback says more structure and implication is required. not sure my decline is because of performance not reach the minimal requirement or I was cut out because others out performed me.
Very Difficult Interview
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in December 2011.
Interview Details – The interview process itself was very cumbersome for an experienced consultant. I applied, and received an email from the recruiter asking to set up an initial screening. This screening was the only information I was ever given about the position, and it was high level.
McKinsey's interview process centers on case studies, overly so. The first "interview" that was set up was a coaching session on the McKinsey case study. This was an hour case study, with the interviewer being arrogant and even combative. After being berated, the interview ended. Following this was the "true" case study, whereas the interviewer was quite nice and helpful. I was then passed on to a third interview with someone in the Pricing practice, who was also quite helpful. This was the only person to ever really go into my experience, and it was quite high level. Another case study followed, for a total of three up to this point.
I was told that the next phase would get more into my experience and the processes of the pricing practice, but might have some more case studies included. I had to apply and receive a McKinsey American Express in order to expense the costs of my in-person interview. The day prior to the interview I had to email and remind my recruiter I had never received an agenda for my interview.
I show up ten minutes early for the interview, and the receptionist was quite friendly. In fact, she and I spoke for around twenty minutes because the interviewer was late. Finally, the interviewer rushes down. His first question is to go over my experience, but five minutes into this he interrupts me (I didn't even get to half of my job experience), and we go into...yet another case study. The interviewer is friendly, but a little arrogant. In one of my answers he challenged me, saying I was incorrect. When I reiterated my stance, and explained my reasoning, he argued that my assumptions were negligible, and we ended the interview as he had to rush to another interview. I still hadn't any idea about the position I was there for.
When I had first received my agenda, there was a gap of time that I had assumed would be filled with a tour of the office. When the time came, I was told I could stay in the conference room or go to the lobby. I waited in the conference room for an hour until the next interviewer came.
The next interviewer came in and asked me two questions, and then another case study. By this time I was annoyed that I had no more information about the position than when I started this process. I requested we leave time for questions about the position for later in the interview, and thankfully I was able to ask two questions before ending.
My third interview asked me one behavior-type question, and then went into a sixth case study. Not to mention that the office had food catered and our conference room fronted the kitchen so there were over fifty people talking and eating outside of the room while I was being asked to calculate 35% of 15,982,450 by hand to get the answer and then divide by 87 to get yet another number that needed to be divided and then multiplied again. As well, I hadn’t eaten. I completely shut down, and in two instances told the interviewer that I could go through the process with him, but I did not have time to calculate. The interview ended, and onto a test. The test took an hour and consisted of three written cases and 26 questions. The questions required the same as the verbal cases; calculations by hand.
As this ended, I had no want left in my being to work at McKinsey. I know this is a prestigious firm, but as an experienced consultant with over 11 years of experience, 8 of which is in program management/ consulting I was thoroughly not impressed with their process. A total of six cases, all of which require pen and paper calculations which would never occur in the real world (people would use calculators and Excel), and then a written test of three more cases is overkill. I see the value in cases (and after the first three over the phone assumed that I excelled at them), but I also see the value in interview-style techniques. Many of the people who interviewed seemed to have no interview skills and hid behind the case studies, and I as the interviewee never received the comfort level needed for the position I had applied. As well, no one I interviewed with knew where I was in the process.
For the recruiters, if you wish to maintain the “catered toward MBA students” reputation do not appeal to experienced professionals, and if you do, tailor your hiring process to dig into their experience, what they can bring to your practice, and what they can expect at McKinsey. Focusing on whether someone can multiply numbers with a piece of paper and pen while someone is staring at them is not an indication of knowledge or skill, and if you stay with this approach you may miss out on strong consultants who will make other consulting firms stronger in the long run.
Interview Question – I won't put any case questions down, but focus on market share, revenue, pricing, and being able to compute on the fly Answer Question
The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in August 2011.
Interview Details – The first round interview consists of a written test designed for your maths capability and analytical thinking under the tight time limit. The second half of the first round interview is a session of group training on case interview. It was very helpful for candidates with advanced science degrees.
In the second round, there are 2 one-on-one interviews with McKinsey consultants, sometimes managers. Each half of the interview consists of a case interview and experience interview.
The recruiters are very professional, and they make the whole interview process going smoothly for candidates. Candidates are informed clearly what to expect at each stage of the interview process.
Interview Question – Describe a situation that your personal impact has influenced the outcome. Answer Question
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in October 2011.
Interview Details – As a PhD student, I had to take the McKinsey Problem Solving Test before being invited to second round interviews in Atlanta (regional office). Met with two consultants, both incredibly friendly and nice guys, and spent about 10 minutes on fit questions, 30 minutes on a case, and 5 minutes on questions I had for them. Was disappointed to not be called for final round decisions but overall was a great experience. As a PhD, I need to work on being more concise and not as detail-oriented as I have been trained to be.
Interview Question – Describe in detail a recent personal conflict and how you dealt with it. Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in September 2011.
Interview Details – I took the PST test. It was very very hard. I was suprised to get a phone call back for the next round.
Interview Question – They were questions related to cases in a written booklet. Answer Question
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 days - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in August 2011.
Interview Details – Round 1:
You are required to take a timed (60 minute) test that goes over some basic case studies. You can't use a calculator and many of the questions are heavy with basic math. There's really no way to prepare; you just need to be comfortable looking at graphs/charts and sorting through data tables. You should also brush up on your speed-reading skills, as there is a lot of information given in each question and not much time to answer.
You then participate in two break-out sessions with 4-5 other candidates and a relatively recent McKinsey hire as the mediator. You go over a basic case study, the type of which will be encountered during the Round 2 interview in a one-on-one setting, and the mediator basically asks pointed questions from each person in turn so that everyone has a chance to speak and practice.
Overall, everyone was extremely nice and helpful. The atmosphere in the break-out sessions was relaxed and actually sort of fun. The test was nerve-wracking, but it always comes before the break-out sessions, so you can sort of relax afterwards and do your best to practice your case study skills.
McKinsey told us that whether or not you were called back for Round 2 was based 90% on if you passed the test. There wasn't a score or number of answers specified which designates a pass. I felt that I did pretty mediocre on the test, but I received an e-mail at the end of the next business day inviting me for round 2 interviews. The date and location of the round 2 interviews had already been set when I received the first invitation for round 1, and it was exactly two weeks after round 1.
This interview consisted of two one-on-one case studies with relatively new McKinsey hires. I believe one of my interviewers had been there for 1 1/2 years and the other about 3 years. This was definitely a very difficult and challenging experience, especially because I come from a non-MBA advanced degree.
My first interviewer was a friend of a friend, so things were much more relaxed. They start by telling you the basics of the case, and then attempt to have you come up with a specific solution or "basket" by guiding you through the hour-long process with specific questions. There is always a math question, sometimes two, which requires you to look at a lot of data and logically figure out a way to find the value or amount they're asking about. I had a hard time with this, because again you can't use a calculator and you're nervous, but my interviewer was very helpful in providing tips as I went through the math. Make sure you talk out loud and walk through your analysis instead of just scribbling numbers and blurting out a numeric value. In addition, before the case study started, I was asked two generic questions: "Tell me about a time you were challenged" and "Tell me about a time you showed leadership."
My second interviewer was extremely bored, tired, and in a rush because I was his last candidate of the day. He was less interested in having me give detailed answers because I'm sure he'd already heard it all before. He asked me the same two generic questions before starting the case study, both of which I used different answers than before. The case study went much the same as the first, but I was provided as much help during my math issues.
Afterwards, we were told we could hear back as early as that night or as late as one week away. My interview was on a Tuesday, and I was called by my second interviewer the following Wednesday morning. I expected a lot of feedback, but our conversation lasted all of two minutes. I was told that I hadn't made it to round three; they were just looking for my structure in my thinking process.
Overall, the process is very organized, the people are friendly, and they want you to be as prepared as possible so they give you all the information you need to prepare. Be sure to go through all the interview prep information on the website; this is EXACTLY how my interview went and I was not at all surprised.
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in March 2011.
Interview Details – Round1, part 1, written test. 26 multiple choices on 3 cases in 60mins. Mostly about logic and quick number calculation. I finished 23 and made guess on last 3. Second part, 2 breakout workshop on case interview with consultants. This part is suppose to be a minor part in your first round assessment.
Round2, three 1on1 interview. 15mins personal experience+45min case interview. Tell the interviewer a story about a conflict with collaborators. Cases are leaded by interviewers.
Interview Question – Tell me a time your have a conflict with your collaborator(s) and how you resolved it. Answer Question
The process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in October 2010.
Interview Details – Three rounds - first round included a very difficult and fast paced aptitude test; second round consisted of three 1:1 interviews with associates and engagement managers; and third round was an interview with 2 partners and one associate principal.
McKinsey paid for travel for each round, even though they only advanced a fraction of those from the 1st round on. Very impressive company, remarkably organized, professional, and it's easy to feel like a part of the team before getting an offer.
One thing that stood out - personality matters. Be friendly and outgoing, and don't look too nervous. A lot of brilliant but awkward candidates who didn't get to move on to the next round.
Interview Question – Example of working on a team Answer Question
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