For MBAs, McKinsey & Co. is one of the most sought-after consulting firms, with starting base salaries around $175,000. Adriana Crespo, McKinsey’s manager of recruiting operations, recently sat down with Fortune and offered insight into what the recruitment process is like for MBAs and what the firms seeks in recruits.
SUMMER INTERNSHIP RECRUITMENT KICKS OFF IN SEPTEMBER
The recruitment process for summer internships at McKinsey typically starts in late September or early October.
“At that time, we go into presentations, panels, coffee chats, all the wonderful things that help the students get to know us—the day in the life, what it’s actually like to be a consultant, all those things,” Crespo says.
McKinsey will then start to familiarize students with the interview process.
“They get to meet the recruiters. They get to meet people from the offices. Then we start to move into the assessment phase where we start to talk about how interviews work and how casing works,” Crespo says. “The schools usually have consulting clubs that help prep them and tell them what it’s like to interview. You do have to prep for our interviews because there is a business case that is presented during the interviews.”
If students are offered an internship position, McKinsey will invite them to the office to learn more about what life is like at the firm.
“We’ll tell them about professional development,” Crespo says. “We’ll set up lunches for them and dinners and have a little fun—and show them more about what our culture is really like live and in-person.”
INTERVIEWS: PROBLEM SOLVING & PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Crespo says the McKinsey interview focuses on applicants’ problem-solving abilities and personal experience. Both aspects, she says, are equally important to the role.
“If you are not hitting both, it’s just not going to happen,” she says. “We definitely want to give you a little bit more ‘at bats,’ in a sense. You not only have to have the analytical skills, but you have to have the people skills.”
Crespo is upfront about how difficult McKinsey’s interview process is and how much prep work it takes—comparing the process to that of prepping for a GMAT or other standardized tests.
“Take the time to prepare,” she says. “You have to put in the work—you really do. That goes for anybody at any school, regardless of resources. Run the cases, and use your friends at first. When you feel secure with practicing with those folks, move on to practicing maybe with somebody at McKinsey, maybe a buddy, maybe somebody you’ve connected with. Run a practice case with them and then listen to the feedback. I’m not saying do 80 practice cases. I’ve heard of people doing that. Do it to the place where you get comfortable.”
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