What McKinsey Seeks In MBA Hires

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Interview Process 

  • The first round of discussions will typically consist of two back-to-back interviews, each including a case study and an experience interview. The final round interview date and format will vary by office location.
  • They will ask you to discuss your past experiences and achievements, and you will work through case studies that are representative of the type of work our consultants do.
  • There will also be time for you to ask questions regarding our firm or your career choices more broadly.
  • We are excited to announce that for most MBA candidates, one of your case interviews will be conducted using our interviewing app! McKinsey uses the latest technology to engage with our clients and we aspire to do the same in all our recruiting processes.  Our case interviewing app brings our problem-solving to life though the use of colorful, fun, and interactive exhibits.
  • After final round interviews, it depends once again on the office or practice you’re interviewing with, but typically most offices and practices will notify candidates of offer decisions within 24-48 hours of the interview.

Interview Types 

  • Personal experience interview – Come prepared to discuss important past experiences in a detailed way, focusing on your specific role and describing the key actions that were critical to success.
  • Case interview – We believe the best way to assess your problem-solving skills is to discuss a real McKinsey business problem with you, to help us understand how you would:
  • Structure a tough, often ambiguous, business problem
  • Decide which issues are important to focus on
  • Deal with facts and data—and their implications (numerical and otherwise)
  • Formulate conclusions and recommendations to solve the problem
  • Articulate your thoughts during a fast moving discussion

For additional interview tips, check out McKinsey’s interview tips videos here.

Interview Tips 

  • Although it’s easier said than done, you will perform better if you are relaxed. Our interviewers are friendly and fair, and they want you to succeed.
  • Be yourself. There is no “typical” McKinsey hire—we all come from different backgrounds. Be yourself in your interview—we are excited to meet you.
  • Take your time. Do not feel rushed to respond to questions… take time to think them through. Ask your interviewer for a moment to think or to clarify anything you do not understand.
  • Don’t forget to interview us. Ensure you ask questions, get to know your interviewers, and get a feel for our work, our people, our culture and our values.

Related Stories:

What Bain & Co. Seeks In MBA Hires

What Deloitte Consulting Seeks in MBA Hires

Where McKinsey & Co. Finds The Most MBAs

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  • Xthinker

    You said that McKinsey makes almost as much than Bain and BCG but according to Wikipedia, McKinsey has 9,000 consultants; BCG has 4,500 and Bain has 4,000 consultants -> McKinsey might not be doing so well after all…

  • Marchin’ Lootin’ King

    The article is like Karl Marx telling us how successful and happy the Soviet Union is. No one can be bothered.

  • MckinseyAssociate-14

    Unfortunately, I have to agree.

  • sad

    lol, you need to walk around an english classroom

  • RedRiser

    Poetsandquants already did that for us:

    MBB at #2, Bain at #4, BCG at #6

  • ivyelite30

    why do u dont walk around the ivies or in the valley or nyc and see if anyone’s jaw drops that you got an MBB offer

  • RedRiser

    Sounds like someone’s a little bitter…

  • JohnnyGorgeous

    Yes. Recruiters do a quick phone screen and then schedule a interview for you with the company.

  • MBBplease

    What do you mean by “job invites”? Like opportunities to interview?

  • JohnnyGorgeous

    Actually ivyelite30, MBB is good for all of those things. I was at Bain this last summer, and my team ran 100% of the product launch for a Fortune 50 pharma firm. I was the one making the phone calls to low level vendors. I was in the room helping negotiate deals. I know friends at McKinsey operations who completely redid supply chains. Because of the breadth and depth of the projects offered, you DO get to do all of those things.

    Three other major things come to mind.

    a) Filter – MBB is a pedigree, just like a Harvard or MIT. And recruiters use it. Comparing what my Linkedin activity was like PRE-Bain and POST-Bain, it’s like night and day. I get 3-4 job invites a week now (Amazon, Mastercard, Whirlpool, Redbox, small consulting boutiques this month alone) whereas before I’d be lucky to get 3-4 job invites in like 6 months.
    a) An accelerator for your career. Using Kellogg as a example, if you look at alumni, people who went to MBB then into industry are almost always at a higher level than people who just started in industry.
    c) White Shoe Finance – Like top investment banks, MBB is a stepping stone for private equity, hedge fund, and VC. It’d be much much harder to get in from other ways. VC is the exception through top level jobs in startups and bigtech.

  • ivyelite30

    actually MBB is not some super star route
    Do you learn to run a biz at MBB? No
    Do you launch a prouct at MBB? No
    Do you have P&L responsibilty? No
    Do you manage a team of normal people – egineers/designers/avg joe’s ? No
    MBB was great in the 1980’s/90’s before the tech revolution
    Noone at any ivy school or in the valley/nyc is awed with a MBB job these days, lets be honest! Its a good job, dont get me wrong, but not the prestige it once had

  • Yup

    MBB is a good place to go if you’re still undecided on what to do with your career as there’s a ton of option value. But I will agree that the amount of value they’re actually creating is pretty limited given the amount of resources they utilize. It’s similar to why so many exiting consultants need to go into strategy roles vs. actual operating roles – giving advice is completely different from actually running a company.

  • ivyelite30

    who cares of MBB prestige ! Most founders of silicon valley start ups are not MBB. This is not 1985!
    Can you code and run a company? Thats all the matters today
    most MBB have never run a business! only presentation decks

  • Anon

    Great article! Very thorough but also insightful because it goes beyond just facts and figures.

  • MBBplease

    Good company, obviously, but I haven’t loved a lot of the people I’ve met who work there or who recruit on my campus. Some were cool, but others just seemed arrogant and annoyed to be doing recruiting stuff. Also seems like they really work you hard. All consulting is hard and long hours, but just got the sense the Bain and BCG care more about their people in terms of making sure you’re having a good experience, trying not to burn you out, etc. The global staffing thing is tough too. People I’ve met from McKinsey are flying all over the country or world for projects. While that sounds cool, I think it would get old fast. If I had an offer from McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, I’m just not sure the extra bit of “prestige” would outweigh some of the culture benefits of Bain and BCG. But, maybe others disagree.

  • HSWpleaseletmein

    Great article. I can see why management consulting firms attract so much talent from other fields. I’ve heard of everything from brain surgeons to rocket scientists going into consulting after otherwise successful careers.

  • Flareups

    Shocked at how little interest this article has generated. Is McKinsey just boring now?

  • Qiuyidio

    Lots of smart people here.

  • Mr. Wannabe Entrepreneur

    Thanks Jeff and Brian! Great article and great insights into McKinsey! I know sometimes people say that MBA recruiting is a black box but this is great explanation about the process and what McKinsey is looking for. You can see why McKinsey has been able to maintain its prestige while expanding so globally. I only hope that I have the opportunity to join one day!