McKinsey Case Interview
How different are McKinsey & other cases?
Anywhere on this website or on our Youtube channel, we talk about Case Interview as a whole. We try to give you, our dear audience, the broad and universal rules, concepts, techniques, mindset, tools, habits, etc. that if you possess, you can walk into any consulting case interviews and absolutely feel comfortable. While I still think that is the ultimately correct approach, it doesn’t hurt to dig a little into the specific differences between interviews of various firms. We begin now with McKinsey, one of, if not the most sought after destination for aspiring consultants. Let’s see what the differences are between McKinsey Case Interview and others!
Like I said multiple times on our Youtube Channel, there’s no clear distinguishing line between McKinsey, Bain, or BCG interviews. It’s totally possible that you walk into a McKinsey case interview and feel like it’s a “BCG” interview. So the insights in this article are just the generalizations of what’s common in McKinsey case interviews. To prepare for your up-coming case interviews in any consulting firms, you may want to see: Consulting Interview Prep – How to prepare for Consulting Case; How to avoid getting stuck in cases?
1/ McKinsey case interview lean more toward the Interviewer-led format
If you don’t yet know what an Interviewer-led case is, you may watch our Case Interview 101 video – the very first lesson for every newbie and the Candidate-led video to hopefully get a sense of case interview types. We will certainly dedicate a video to Interviewer-led case soon, so stay-tuned.
Let’s come back to the topic, yes, the majority of McKinsey cases are in the interview-led format. It is in which the interviewers usually don’t prepare a case that’s too structured and will typically ask you to work on various mini problems. Many times, those mini problems don’t even link together. So definitely check out some common question types in case interview and how to answer them if you are going to have a McKinsey interview soon.
2/ Despite the seemingly unstructured format, McKinsey case interviews need a lot of “structure”
If there are three words you would hear the most on any McKinsey project, one of them is definitely “structure”. If you ask a partner or principle on how a candidate performs, you will always hear responses like “very structured”, “not structured enough”, etc. It sometimes even feels like the only thing on the interviewer’s evaluation sheet is “structure”. McKinsey worships structure! So it’s vital to show your structural mindset anywhere possible.
3/ McKinsey people are “hypothesis-driven” folks
I just talked about “structure” being one of the top three most-spoken words at McKinsey, “hypothesis” is another word that’s also in the mix for sure. McKinsey is made up of highly hypothesis-driven folks. While in Bain or BCG cases, it may be ok to implicitly use hypotheses, you need to explicitly and clearly use hypotheses in McKinsey case interview.
For those who are not yet familiar with Hypothesis in Case Interview, we already made an awesowe video about it!
To practice for McKinsey Case Interview, you can try to do some Case Interview Questions.
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