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McKinsey & Company Interview Questions

Interviews at McKinsey & Company

2,361 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY (US)
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 days. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (New York, NY (US)) in October 2011.

    Interview

    first round is math and verbal test in office with a group case study; not too difficult, but you do need to prepare as your math, calculating, and verbal reasoning skills.
    second round is 2 1-on-1 interview with cases; each with 10-15 minutes fit questions, going into really detail. (e.g., your leadership skills examples), and a 30 minutes case discussion, (well-organized, with specific questions and numbers). only key on success if to practice.

    Interview Questions


  2. Helpful (1)  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY (US)
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (New York, NY (US)) in September 2011.

    Interview

    Phase 1: Written exam. They do have a practice exam online, but if you want more, I recommend studying GRE math (to help with speed), and LSAT logical reasoning.

    Phase 2: 2 rounds of PEI + cases. Prepare unique stories that really make you stand out. They interview a lot of smart people, so you need something special. Practice lots of cases, show structure, accurate math, and synthesis.

    Phase 3: 4 rounds of PEI + cases back to back, this really tests your endurance. No surprises, no stress tests, just 4 normal "McKinsey" style cases. You really have to shine on all 4 exams, nail the math, and be creative. The PEI is also important, show your uniqueness. I did not pass this round because I did not nail all of the cases, and my math was a bit slow (I wanted to make sure I was doing it right). If you get to this stage, I recommend doing 4 cases in a row back to back.

    Interview Questions

  3. Helpful (4)  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (New York, NY (US)) in September 2011.

    Interview

    I went through the campus recruiting route and was put in to the early process. The first round consisted of PST and "non-evaluative" group break out. They give feedback on the group breakout so overly poor performance or obnoxious behavior could be a reason some people didn't pass on. Heard that i was being passed onto the second round the same night i took the PST and was assigned a McKinsey Buddy who gave me advice and feedback on how to prepare for the next round. We were also assigned a group case coach to practice with as well as were invited to an interview prep workshop, both of which were helpful. Also McKinsey hosted a dinner event for people going on to the second round to meet more of their consultants from various offices, which was helpful in finalizing my office choices.

    Second round was consisted of two 1:1 interviews both including a case and PEI questions. There were no surprises; get ready for public math, thinking out loud, and being asked details about the stories that you are telling. The interviewers were polite and nice. It took almost a week to hear back about whether i was passed on to the third round or not, as well as detailed feedback on what to work on. They said this (one - two week waiting period) depended on which office you were being assigned to and I think this was true because the people who were going to the same final office heard back on the same day.

    Two weeks later, I was at the NY office for my final round. This was consisted of three 1:1 interviews. Again, no surprises, polite and engaged interviewers, PEI and Cases for each interview. it's very important to have the right stories to highlight your leadership and teamwork qualities that are also structured and concise. the Cases were much more in depth and varied and long (~40 mins each). I felt that they were looking for high level thinking, creativity, analytic rigor, and insightful synthesis. Difficult to do if you haven't practiced cases but definitely not unreasonable things to look for in a candidate. They offered me a position within hours.
    Overall, great process, fun, and transparent. I felt like I was part of the team even before I signed my contract.

    Interview Questions


  4.  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY (US)
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took 1 day. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (New York, NY (US)) in August 2011.

    Interview

    Took PST. I didn't have time to finish the last a couple of question but somehow was passed onto the next round.

    Interview Questions


  5. Helpful (7)  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Atlanta, GA (US)
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 2 days. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (Atlanta, GA (US)) in August 2011.

    Interview

    Round 1:
    You are required to take a timed (60 minute) test that goes over some basic case studies. You can't use a calculator and many of the questions are heavy with basic math. There's really no way to prepare; you just need to be comfortable looking at graphs/charts and sorting through data tables. You should also brush up on your speed-reading skills, as there is a lot of information given in each question and not much time to answer.
    You then participate in two break-out sessions with 4-5 other candidates and a relatively recent McKinsey hire as the mediator. You go over a basic case study, the type of which will be encountered during the Round 2 interview in a one-on-one setting, and the mediator basically asks pointed questions from each person in turn so that everyone has a chance to speak and practice.

    Overall, everyone was extremely nice and helpful. The atmosphere in the break-out sessions was relaxed and actually sort of fun. The test was nerve-wracking, but it always comes before the break-out sessions, so you can sort of relax afterwards and do your best to practice your case study skills.

    McKinsey told us that whether or not you were called back for Round 2 was based 90% on if you passed the test. There wasn't a score or number of answers specified which designates a pass. I felt that I did pretty mediocre on the test, but I received an e-mail at the end of the next business day inviting me for round 2 interviews. The date and location of the round 2 interviews had already been set when I received the first invitation for round 1, and it was exactly two weeks after round 1.

    Round 2:
    This interview consisted of two one-on-one case studies with relatively new McKinsey hires. I believe one of my interviewers had been there for 1 1/2 years and the other about 3 years. This was definitely a very difficult and challenging experience, especially because I come from a non-MBA advanced degree.

    My first interviewer was a friend of a friend, so things were much more relaxed. They start by telling you the basics of the case, and then attempt to have you come up with a specific solution or "basket" by guiding you through the hour-long process with specific questions. There is always a math question, sometimes two, which requires you to look at a lot of data and logically figure out a way to find the value or amount they're asking about. I had a hard time with this, because again you can't use a calculator and you're nervous, but my interviewer was very helpful in providing tips as I went through the math. Make sure you talk out loud and walk through your analysis instead of just scribbling numbers and blurting out a numeric value. In addition, before the case study started, I was asked two generic questions: "Tell me about a time you were challenged" and "Tell me about a time you showed leadership."

    My second interviewer was extremely bored, tired, and in a rush because I was his last candidate of the day. He was less interested in having me give detailed answers because I'm sure he'd already heard it all before. He asked me the same two generic questions before starting the case study, both of which I used different answers than before. The case study went much the same as the first, but I was provided as much help during my math issues.

    Afterwards, we were told we could hear back as early as that night or as late as one week away. My interview was on a Tuesday, and I was called by my second interviewer the following Wednesday morning. I expected a lot of feedback, but our conversation lasted all of two minutes. I was told that I hadn't made it to round three; they were just looking for my structure in my thinking process.

    Overall, the process is very organized, the people are friendly, and they want you to be as prepared as possible so they give you all the information you need to prepare. Be sure to go through all the interview prep information on the website; this is EXACTLY how my interview went and I was not at all surprised.

    Interview Questions


  6. Helpful (2)  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through an employee referral. The process took 4+ months. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (Atlanta, GA (US)) in May 2010.

    Interview

    Begin by applying online. There is an initial phone screen to discuss your background. After that, there are at least two, and in my case three, in-person interview rounds where you will work one-on-one to solve case problems. Non-MBAs also must take a one-hour written exam covering basic mathematics.

    Interview Questions

    • How would you estimate the weight of a jumbo jet?   2 Answers

  7.  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Palo Alto, CA (US)
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (Palo Alto, CA (US)) in October 2009.

    Interview

    The first round consisted of a skills test and some group case interview "workshop" sessions. It was stated that first round decisions would be primarily made based on our performance on the test (but that we could do damage to our candidacies in the case interview sessions). The test was hard, but not overwhelmingly so. The group sessions were relatively relaxed. I was informed the next day that I would be moved forward.

    The second round was composed of three 1:1 interviews with consultants. Each of these interviews had a behavioral component ("tell me about yourself/why consulting, a challenging time you worked on a team, when you had to defend your ideas") and a case component. The storytelling behavioral portions were challenging in that you had to have an anecdote you could elaborate on for >20 min. I felt my performance on the cases went: OK, good, not-so-good. On the last case, my notetaking was critiqued as being disorganized and I made a math error.

    I received a call a few days after the second round with the news that I had been dinged. The consultant who made that call said that my interviewers thought that I needed more case practice.

    Interview Questions

    • Tell us about a time when you found it challenging to work on a team, and what actions specifically you took to overcome those challenges.   Answer Question
  8.  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Houston, TX (US)
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took a week. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (Houston, TX (US)) in January 2008.

    Interview

    It was a case based interview where they were looking for specific consulting skills. I had to meet 4 people who each gave me a case and they told us the results at the end of the day. Very professional people who treat you with respect and consideration.

    The best way to prepare for such an interview is to practice cases in advance and be very structured and methodical about how you answer questions. They are looking for a good team player and somebody who can structure a problem into a series of problems and go about solving the same in an analytical way.

    Interview Questions

    • Why consulting? Where does it fit into your career plan?   1 Answer

    Reasons for Declining

    I did not want to start at the bottom of the ladder in the consulting hierarchy after 8 years of work experience and was hoping they would offer me a more senior role. They declined and I found a different job.


  9.  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took 1 day. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (Chicago, IL (US)) in November 2008.

    Interview

    Standard case interview with partners. I was a "high potential" candidate and had interviewed for an internship the previous year, so I was fast forwarded to the final round of interviews for the full time job.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    No negotiations. Standard for everyone.


  10.  

    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at McKinsey & Company (New York, NY (US)) in October 2009.

    Interview

    You must be prepared for the case interview. the best way to do this is to practice, practice, practice. Don't say anything that is superfluous in the interview; they will jump on every statement. Also, practice doing math in your head: division, multiplication etc.

    Interview Questions

    Negotiation

    I didn't negotiate. They made me an offer, I accepted.


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