Very Difficult Interview
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in March 2013.
Interview Details – Let me preface this by saying that I am not leaving this review simply out of spite for not receiving an offer. I understand that McKinsey is notoriously difficult to interview at. However, I have issue with the process itself and the blatant lack of professionalism exhibited by my interviewer.
First, I applied for the position in January and received my first contact several weeks later. This is not uncommon for any hiring process so I thought nothing of it--especially for an organization that receives a deluge of resumes regularly. On contact, I scheduled an initial screener that took place the following week. Almost immediately following the phone call I was told that they'd like to speak with me more and run me through a case study interview--but first they'd like to have me talk with a "coach" prior to the interview. My HR contact (who was different from the first one that contacted me) was unable to get a coach to speak with me for two weeks. Upon speaking with the coach, they provided some good advice and wished me luck.
Now, it was not the coach's prerogative to schedule the ACTUAL case study interview, but my HR contact. I did not hear back from them for a week. I, myself, had to contact them to see what the hold up was. After several more days waiting to hear back, she contacted me to say that she could not find anyone right now. Finally, an additional two weeks later, I had a phone call scheduled and performed my case interview.
Again, this went well and I heard back soon after that I would be interviewing in person at the Chicago office. This contact was made from yet another HR person. Now I had talked to 3 HR people. More time passed with nothing scheduled. After ANOTHER 2 weeks I was told that no one in the Chicago office had time to interview me and a tele-interview would be performed. Setting that up took YET ANOTHER WEEK or so. Keep in mind that I started this process in January and it is now March.
Finally the day of my interview and problem solving test. Obviously I was a little nervous considering the implications I heard surrounding passing/failing the PST. When I arrived in the office, my interview was first. They put me in a room with the teleconference computer. It took nearly 15 minutes before they could get it to work properly and I had to fix it myself. So, already 15 minutes have been lost to IT issues. Then came the interviewer. I understand that McKinsey is a busy company, but that does not excuse poor professionalism. My interviewer regularly checked the clock during my interview both while she was talking and while I was talking. As if that wasn't enough, she brought her phone in the room too and would check that while I was giving responses to her questions. The icing on the cake came when I was doing another case and SHE ANSWERED HER PHONE AND TOOK A CALL! I was floored that she'd interrupt my interview for a phone call. This is what the prestigious McKinsey has for employees?
Needless to say I was already irked before heading to take my PST (which is a lesson in unrealistic difficulty itself).
Please McKinsey--improve your internal processes!
Interview Question – The case studies are meant to be challenging. There really isn't a single question that was difficult, they all are to a degree. Answer Question
I applied through college or university and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in February 2013.
Interview Details – Used a contact to get in touch with 2-3 BAs before I sent in a resume. Met the recruiter at an info session. After being selected for 1st round, was given a "prep buddy" who was extremely helpful. There is a PST (problem solving test) first. It's tricky, but apparently just another data point. 1st round interview was at the office, which was very nice. Got a great vibe. Both interviewers were very, very pleasant. Standard behavioral + case format. McK does behavioral slightly differently with the PEI--personal experience interview. They dig very deep into your story. Cases were fairly straight-forward. Advanced to the final round and many people reached out offering help/advice. Final round consister of three 1-hr interviews. 1 was with a director, 2 with associate principals. Got an offer 30 minutes later.
Interview Question – Nothing in particular stands out. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiation.
I applied through college or university and the process took 3 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2013.
Interview Details – The recruiting process at the school was enjoyable and positive. They make a real effort to let the students know about the company and to get to know the people.
There were two interviews, each 45 minutes long. The interviewers were pretty poker-faced, didn't help out too much, and were actually quite intimidating, and not very personable.
They say that they're rooting for you and they're trying to help, but it really doesn't feel that way in the interview. If I didn't tell them exactly what they wanted, they would look upset and would not make any effort to push me in the right direction.
Interview Question – The first case was a little unusual, the second was pretty standard. Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in October 2012.
Interview Details – I was a APD (Advanced Professional Degree) candidate. The interview consisted of three rounds:
Round 1: You are invited to the McKinsey Problem Solving Test (PST) if you pass the resume screen. The test was difficult but doable if you practice with the sample tests online as well as 3rd-party simulation tests. After the PST we had two non-evaluative sessions of case practice. The decision to move you to the next round is based almost entirely on passing the PST.
Round 2: Face-to-face interview with junior consultants. Two sessions, each covering a Personal Experience and a Case Study.
Round 3: Similar to Round 2. Three sessions with PE + Case, but with more senior people (Partners, Associate Principals).
Overall, I found the interview process intense but enjoyable. The interviewers whom I had encountered were all very respectful and pleasant to talk to. Given the reputation of the Firm, the bar for performance was definitely high. The best advice I can give is to be structured, both with the Personal Experience part and the Case Study part. You will get a lot of support and useful information between the different rounds; heed the information and prepare wisely. In addition, enjoy the process. Have the mindset of going to a nice seminar where people argue about ideas. That mindset certainly helped me relax and appear confident.
Interview Question – What factors would you consider in addressing this client's issues? View Answer
Negotiation Details – You get a letter with the terms of offer and then you can sign it to accept the offer. Little room for negotiation.
I applied through college or university - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in August 2012.
Interview Details – The 1st round for Advanced degree holders begin with a one-hour written test (practice tests can be found in McKinsey site) and proceed with two hours of break out sessions where a small group practices cases with consultants. The key of passing the written test is really about managing your time effectively. I first tried questions that do not seem to require heavy math or thinking and then went back to the missing questions. Though I wans't so sure of the result, somehow I passed the interview and got an invitation for the 2nd round.
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in August 2011.
Interview Details – 1st interview: I met with an HR manager. She was pleasant byt held her cards very close to the chest. I didn't know how to read her and left feeling very ambiguous about her reaction. I normally read people/situations very well, so this is notable.
24 hours later I receive a call back. I return and spend 30 minutes with an EA supervisor, another 30 minutes with a top EA with longevity and rank, and a couple other one-to-ones with EA staff. All of them extremely good interviews from my perspctive. My skills and experience were right on the money, per their outlined requirements. I really all four of the EA staff with whom I met--great dynamic.
They were supposed to select a candidate within a week. 10 days later I get called back for another interview. One more EA, which I was frustrated by. Though the meetings all went well, I felt that 6 interviews was a bit much for an EA position, especially when none of them were with the professional(s) to be supported.
According to my recruiter (which, admittedly, might bear a good deal of responsibility for this whole regrettable exercise), they were interested and needed "a few more days." And then, "a few more days."
In the end, after five weeks I was told that another candidate had been selected. I had been really excited about the prospect of working for McKinsey and had such a great rapport with the other EAs that I was really disappointed. But worse, I was very frustrated that I felt strung-along for such a long time.
Lastly, I received no feedback from McKinsey--which could be that they didn't give it to my recruiter or could be that she didn't pass it along. In the end it felt like a big waste of time and energy.
Interview Question – I don't remember the specific wording, but the HR manager asked some iteration of the classic "what are your faults" question. View Answer
The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in February 2012.
Interview Details – Applied directly on the McK site for the position and had a 1:1 initial interview with HR before 2 1:1 interviews with Research Associates. Was then asked to go in for the McKinsey Problem Solving Test which I passed. Then had 3 1:1 interviews with Senior Research Associates from the teams in Chicago, Toronto, and Seattle.
Overall, I had a good experience interviewing with McKinsey (despite not getting an offer after all of that).
1:1 interviews were non-technical and more fit-based. There were questions about background in research and quantitative analysis experience.
The large number of rounds was tiring and frustrating (Especially to not close on an offer), but HR was extremely helpful.
Re: McK PST
Just do the practice tests that you can find online, non-calc math drills, and watch for time - it shouldn't be a problem.
Having said that, did not receive a 'negative' reply until I emailed to check-in 2 weeks after my last 1:1 interview.
Interview Question – McK PST (Interview questions were pretty standard) View Answer
The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in November 2011.
Interview Details – I was an APD candidate and took a 26 question multiple choice test. Then there were breakout sessions with 4 other candidates and a current consultant to work through cases as the case interview was unfamiliar to many of us. It was an odd experience and our invitation for a second interview was based solely (or so they say) on our performance on the 26 multiple choice questions. The word questions were not overly complex but they involved a lot of calcuations and you are not allowed a calculator. Work on basic mental math before you interview!
It was an odd way of being judged and the day I was informed I would not be invited for a second interview I heard an NPR piece on a former McKinsey big muck who was indicted on multiple counts of insider trading.
Interview Question – skills test View Answer
Very Difficult Interview
I applied through college or university and the process took 2 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in March 2011.
Interview Details – Very friendly staff. They tried to provide clear guidance through the process with high level of honesty.
Interview Question – What do you think is the biggest problem in the economy? Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in February 2011.
Interview Details – First round: a deductive reasoning test and panel discussion / case studies. The outcome of this interview is determined solely by the deductive reasoning test.
Second round: a series of three 1:1 interviews, all involving an Experience question and a Case interview question. I found the case interview questions to be very similar to the case studies in Round 1, except that the pressure to perform is higher since it's 1:1. I found the Experience questions to be the most challenging aspect - if you don't have the right kind of story under your belt, then it's very difficult to formulate the kind of answer that they want to hear. This is particularly difficult in for PhD recruits.
Example: one of the Experience interview questions essentially required me to describe a situation where I resolved a personality conflict in the work environment. I've been fortunate enough never to be put in that position, and so while I discussed a situation where I resolved a professional difference of opinion, there was no personality conflict, so I really didn't answer the question that the recruiter asked. I think my interview really suffered for that.
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