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McKinsey & Company Summer Associate Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Feb 25, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

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Interview Experience 

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate
Chicago, IL

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in February 2014.

Interview Details – Started with info session for summer internships for APD's (advanced professional degrees, e.g. PhD, MD, JD etc, but not MBA) on campus late November-early December. Applied for the summer internship and got invited to 1st round, IWIA, at the local office which involved the PST (Problem Solving Test) and 2 group interviews. PST was 26 questions that you had to answer in 60 mins. Lots of info available about it online. We were told that we will just be evaluated for the PST and that group interviews are for practice purposes. However, once I passed the PST, I was assigned a buddy and she was able to provide me w/ feedback from those sessions, and you can ask them for more details. The results were given 2 days after the test and I was shortly invited to 2nd round interview at the regional office (e.g. Chicago for all midwest locations). It was ~3 weeks between the 1st and 2nd rounds and they shared the contact info of everyone who passed so we could practice together. Also, at this point, you can finalize your office selection (up to 8 offices). They also held multiple workshop through Cisco webex. One was a group case interview and there were some where different offices tried to have you choose them in your preferences. You can also ask for a phone interview with your buddy. Sadly, my buddy did not do one with me.

Round 2 was two 1-hour interviews. 15 mins personal experience (PEI) where they ask you questions, sometimes related to your CV. Do check their website, b/c they ask you questions mainly from 3 categories: achievements, leadership, and challenges. You can easily find most of the questions on their own website and other places online and it's good to have 3-4 stories for each category. Then, you spend ~30 min on an interviewer-led case. Again, detailed info available online. At the end, if you have time, you can spend 10-15 asking questions from them. You should know that these last mins are as important as the rest of the interview.

The only negative part of my experience was how much I needed to wait to get the response for the 2nd round and at the end I was not passed to 3rd round. We were told that we should get the results anytime within the 2 weeks after the interview. All my friends got their results (positive or negative) 1-2 days after the interview. However, in my case, they missed their own deadline and finally I had to email the recruiter for the results. One of my interviewers called me 3 days after that. Be sure to ask them for detailed feedback in case you are applying to other firms. The feedback you receive for round 2 is the most valuable.

Finally, we were also told during the info sessions that 3rd round is just like 2nd round but with 3 cases as opposed to 2 and with more senior people (principals, partners, or directors) and would be at one of the offices you chose.

For me most of the experience was positive. Their HR is a force to be reckoned with. They make you feel like a part of them as you go through the process. The only negative experience for me was to wait more than 2 weeks for a rejection. However, all the consultants were very nice and especially my interviewer who returned to me was very helpful. I feel like you learn a lot just going through the interview process. However, if you get rejected once, they recommend that you at least wait 18 months before reapplying.

Interview Question – Nothing was unexpected. Most info, especially for PEI, is available online.   Answer Question

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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate
Chicago, IL

I applied through college or university and the process took 3 months - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2014.

Interview Details – I went through on-campus recruiting at business school (MBA level). Interactions began in October and interviews were held in late January. Interactions with the firm started with a presentation on campus and eventually turned into one-on-one emails and phone calls. The interview process consisted of two rounds, held just a few days apart.

The first round consisted of two 50-minute interviews. Each first-round interview consisted of 15 minutes of personal experience discussion, 30 minutes of a business case, and 5 minutes of questions. Each interview was administered by someone who had been at McKinsey for at least 2 years (senior Associate or Engagement Manager).

The second round consisted of three interviews in the same format as that of the first round interviews. These three interviews were held with employees who had been with McKinsey at least six years (Associate Principals or Principals, i.e. partners).

The decision was given in the evening of the same day as the second round interviews.

Interview Question – Tell me about a time you challenged yourself. (I outlined my story.) What were the three biggest challenges for you? (I listed them). Why were they challenges? (I answered.) Okay, that story sounds like it'll work. Let's begin.   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at McKinsey & Company.

Interview Details – five rounds of back to back case interviews on superday; each interview lasts one hour, 45 min case and 15 fit questions; have to be mentally and physically prepared

Interview Question – case about an industry i have no idea of   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate

I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at McKinsey & Company.

Interview Details – Mckinsey first round: PST+ 2 interviews. In each interview for the behavior part I was asked to tell two stories, e.g. leadership, problem solving, 2 personal impact stories out of academic world (I work toward an engineering PhD). In each interview there was also a interviewer-led case.

Interview Question – In my first case interview, interviewer kept challenging me about a brunch of analysis that I didn't think to be very important (just put down to be thorough)   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate
Philadelphia, PA

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2011.

Interview Details – An extremely rigorous process. First was a case interview with market-sizing, followed by an in-depth behavioral interview. Next was another case interview with tricky math to be solved, followed by more behavioral questions. Lastly, we took a 1-hour text that focused on our math and problem-solving skills. The math wasn't particularly hard, it was just keeping track of the sheer volume of numbers and figures and data manipulations that became overwhelming. Much harder than the SAT or GMAT math sections, by far.

Interview Question – In the behavioral section, it's not enough to have just one story about when you faced a difficult task, or when you overcame an obstacle, etc. You should have multiple stories.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate
Newark, NJ

I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in January 2012.

Interview Details – After PST, there was a group case study, which I found very helpful. I paid lots of attention to the feedback I got from their consultants. During the next week or so, I focused on improving some of my previously weak areas, such as structuring and synthesis. Very smoothly, I passed the second round of interview. For the final round, I met three principles. The questions were reasonable, and sometimes like a conversation. Cases were regular as well. However I was a bit too nervous, and wasn't able to show my true personality and communication skills.

Interview Question – All the questions seemed reasonable to me. What really matters in my opinion, is whether you can think logically and convey the message clearly.   View Answer

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company in March 2011.

Interview Details – Interviewed first round with two different partners. Very difficult questions and they grilled you with multiple angles.

Interview Question – Cheese market analysis/turnaround.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate

The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at McKinsey & Company.

Interview Details – Three rounds of interviews: the first is a standardized test of math and business skills. If you pass that, the next round consists of two interviews with associates or project managers. Then, the final round consists of three interviews with partners. Each live interview includes personal interview questions to assess fit, as well as a case study. Everything was very standardized and professional, and for the most part, interviewers were easy to talk to and very interesting, engaging people!

Interview Question – Nothing too unexpected. The personal interview questions really vary but McKinsey tends to focus on the same kinds of things, so it just takes practice.   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Summer Associate Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate

I applied through college or university and interviewed at McKinsey & Company.

Interview Details – The recruiting process through my school was fairly straight forward. After being selected to interview, Mckinsey held a "power round" which consisted for 4 back to back interviews with individuals ranging from Assocate through Partner. Each interview was a combination of case and behavioral. There was no second round interview, and many people heard back about a decision the day of.

Interview Question – Tell me about a time you led a team through a difficult situation.   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Summer Associate Interview

Summer Associate

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

Interview Details – Applied online and was invited to the McKinsey office to take the PST test with several other candidates. We took about 45-min to do the PST test and then broke into small groups sessions with McKinsey associate. We had a total of 2 group sessions. Each group had about 5-6 students with one Associate and we went through a case study.

Interview Question – No personal questions, we just went through a case study as a group.   Answer Question

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