McKinsey & Company Interview Questions in San Francisco, CA

Updated Aug 21, 2014
Updated Aug 21, 2014
10 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at McKinsey & Company in August 2014.

    Interview Details

    I got an invite for the first round and it is the Problem Solving Test and Group Interview workshop about 2 weeks after the resume deadline.
    PST
    I've heard that during this round, the PST is what they are primarily judging you on. There is an unknown cut off score (rumors about it range from 60-70%) for a pretty challenging test 26 questions in 60 minutes. They have 3 practice tests online with answer keys. Some of the questions are like GMAT integrated reasoning questions but they're not exactly the same.
    Group interview
    There's a lot of variability among the group interviews depending on your interviewer. My first one would ask the same question to all of us but would rotate the order in which he asked us questions. My second one asked questions but would pick a random person from the group to answer the question and then ask if any of the rest of us had questions.
    I've heard that the group interview part is just to make sure that you can work on teams (so it's good to add on to other people's answers and synthesize what's been said). I'm not sure how much the group interview part counts especially since for my second one: half of us got math questions, the other half got strategy questions so I'd imagine it's mainly to give people who move onto the second round feedback.
    Generally, it was a very organized and structured experience. I really appreciate how quick the turnaround time was- I found out two days after my test that I didn't make it to the next round.

    Interview Questions
    • A company wants to increase its profit by 10%. How many of its mid market product does it need to convert to its lower market product to reach this target and is it reasonable?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2.  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    • The behavioral questions were twists on the ones they asked in the first round. Ensure that you have many stories lined up!   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at McKinsey & Company in September 2013.

    Interview Details

    First round: Problem-solving test (PST). One will need to prepare for this. 2nd rd: 2 cases (interviewer led) with a different interviewer for each, with part of a half-hour set aside for 2 experience interviews. There are practice PST's online, videos, and they have a coaching session and buddy system if you get to the 2nd rd.

    2nd rd cases were (paraphrased):
    -Broadband access to all of Australia with 90% of population already with access. What is the right combination of technologies to give the final 10% access over the next 8-10yrs?
    -Southeast Asian province school system with attendance probs. What factors to look at as to why that may be addressed?
    Experience interview q's:
    -Time you had a difficult time in a group, and how addressed?
    -Time you had disagreement at work or in group, and how resolved?

    Interview Questions
    • Both experience interview q's. As a physician, working in a hierarchical system, these gave me little chance to shine. Not to mention I had prepared more for q's along the lines of: time you face a challenge, and how you worked it out, etc. It's hard to positively spin a q to show positive characteristics like how did you resolve a disagreement in a group, when your answer is, "I had to shut my mouth and deal with it." Also, I blew the broadband case. Couldn't come up with a good structure.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Associate Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at McKinsey & Company in August 2013.

    Interview Details

    I applied online for the associate consultant position as an advanced degree in life sciences. I went to the first round PST and did not pass the test.

    Interview Questions
    • Definitely practice as much as possible and make sure to budget your time accordingly!   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Business Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 3 weeksinterviewed at McKinsey & Company.

    Interview Details

    Campus hiring. Resume submission and then was called for the first round of interviews to their office in SF. There is a test and then two one on one interviews.

    Interview Questions
    • Their style of judging your leadership skills is different.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  7. 23 people found this helpful  

    Business Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at McKinsey & Company in September 2011.

    Interview Details

    Like everyone else, I began by applying online. They don't require a cover letter, but you are dead-on-arrival if you don't take the time to write one. For example, at my university, about 400 people apply in a given year, and 24 are selected for first rounds.

    My first round was similar to what else you can read here. I took the Problem Solving Test. I definitely recommend you work through the examples online beforehand. You'll get a sense of the types of questions and data sets you'll be dealing with. The key with the test is to prioritize; I'm pretty some problems are designed to take 10 minutes to solve-- a big waste of your time. You are not penalized for guessing, so only focus on the questions that seem doable.

    Next part of the first round was two interviews, each 50 minutes total-- 20 minutes on behavior/experience and 30 minutes on a case. The behavioral questions are often overlooked in the preparation process, but I strongly encourage you to prep well for them. McKinsey wants to see that you've excelled in four key areas: problem-solving, achievement, leadership, and personal impact. I would prepare two answers for each of these categories. McKinsey will go very deep on each experience you share.

    During the case portion of my first round, I was given the "good cop, bad cop" treatment. My first interviewer was pretty tough on me, never seeming impressed. He also repeatedly tried to get me to change my answers on questions. The key here is to remain calm, methodically explain and defend your position, without coming across as defensive. If you do this well, you'll get huge points with them. My second interviewer was very genial and helpful, so I had no concerns about that half of the day.

    About 24 hours later, I received a call informing I had been selected for a final round, and that I was going to be flown out to a different office. They put me in a nice hotel, took me and the other candidates out for a nice dinner, and all-in-all, were extremely hospitable.

    The final round consisted of three interviews in the same format as before. These were with two partners and the office director. I felt like these only went 'OK'; my interviewers were not terribly responsive or supportive with my answers. However, I projected confidence, remained structured with my answers, and didn't really screw up the math. I got a call about an hour after it was all over.

    Overall, I was incredibly impressed with how professional the firm was throughout the process. Before each round, I was assigned a case prep 'buddy' (a current BA in the firm) to do a practice case with me. McKinsey strives to help you perform your absolute best during the evaluation process. I've never been treated so well during a recruiting process.

    Final thoughts: be thoughtful and structured with your answers during the cases; be ready to go very deep on your past-experience questions; project confidence even if you are less confident about your answers; and above all, try to have fun with the process. The cases are a great example of what it's like to be a consultant, and if you want to become one, you should enjoy the cases at some level.

    Interview Questions
    • Tell me about a time where you had a build consensus within a large group.   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Business Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 5 daysinterviewed at McKinsey & Company in October 2010.

    Interview Details

    SF Office, 2nd Round Interview. Two one-on-one case interviews with Engagement Managers. First one more technical, second more experience-based.

    Interview Questions
    • A turnaround-like question that ended up being a question about market share. In particular, they asked me to list the relevant factors to consider in evaluating whether or not to introduce a new product. The case ended up focusing on market share of existing products.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Business Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took 4+ weeksinterviewed at McKinsey & Company in June 2009.

    Interview Details

    Classic cases for consultants: you are presented with a client situation (usually a strategy case, with a scenario where the company is presented with a challenge and is seeking the help of McKinsey. Two options: grow the business or cut costs/downsize.

    The consultant is expected to list the drivers that will the company to grow. It's useful and expected to structure the question really well, saying "I can think of x number of drivers. Let me list them and go into further details with each".

    Important to think about the internal dynamics of the organization (financial resources, human resources, organization, etc.), but also the external factors, such as competition, regulatory environment, etc.

    There is then a part with maths (simplified to be able to do it without a calculator) where the candidate is asked to calculate growth of a product/service, cost per unit, change over time, etc. Walk the interviewer through your reasoning so that he/she can stop you in case of a math mistake.

    Wrap up: from what you know about the organization, the strategy questions raised at the beginning and the maths that you did, what do you recommend to the CEO of the "client" that has hired McKinsey? provide clear recommendations and argue your point (don't say that we would have to do more analysis, or that the client has several choices - remember you are going to advise some deciders to lead their business)

    Interview Questions
    • Being able to pull out from the "exercise" and think logically. Someone told me there was 300 millions students in America. Not only was the math wrong but when I asked the candidate how many people lived in the US, the candidate was not able to think and realize that this number was just not possible.   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    No negotiation - at BA and Associate levels, the entry salary is the same. Then your bonus, based on your performance, makes a difference, and the salaries trajectories change for everyone over time (e.g., cumulating high performer, vs. one time distinctive performer followed by average performer)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    The process took 2 daysinterviewed at McKinsey & Company in February 2007.

    Interview Details

    The interview process is almost entirely case-based. The case is the most important part of the interview. An interview will be asked to discuss a theoretical study that McKinsey is to undertake - an interviewee will need to be able to thoughtfully structure a problem and structure an approach to solving each of the questions asked.

    Negotiation Details
    There is no negotiation
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11.  

    Management Consultant Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeksinterviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2007.

    Interview Details

    Multiple rounds of case-based interviews. Each round was comprised of 2-5 one-on-one interviews with current McKinsey consultants, and each interview consisted of both fit/culture and business case questions.

    With only a few exceptions, the case questions were based on actual client projects the consultants worked on. The cases ranged from telecom CRM strategy to ERP implementation valuation; all were tough in that the interviewers asked penetrating questions.

    Interview Questions
    • If a newspaper wrote an article about your leadership style, what would the headline be?   View Answer
    • Business case: a client company installed an ERP system 3 years ago, spending a cumulative $100M to do so. The CEO asks you, was this a financially sound investment?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

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