Case Interview by Firms McKinsey Case Interview

A quick glance

    1. McKinsey Recruitment Process
    2. McKinsey Case Interview
    3. McKinsey Case Interview Guide

1. McKinsey Recruitment Process

McKinsey recruitment process basically shares a lot of common with other top-notch consulting firms. It consists of 3 rounds:


McKinsey PST


A. CV Screening

When applying for any jobs, CV and Cover letter are often required. Though CV is familiar with job-seekers, I have seen many talented candidates with excellent resumes got rejected from McKinsey. You may be surprised by the simple reason given: Your CV is not for consulting firm!

I think that this article about Resume in consulting will be definitely useful for you if you are still wondering about the root-cause of your-being-got-rejected: 

B. McKinsey PST

Right, PST, PST! Don’t be beaten by PST. With the experience to train for hundreds of students all around the world, I believe that PST can be learned. 

So no more hesitate to own the key to horn all skills PST demanding: 

C. Interview

Consulting firms have long been known for its challenging, competitive case interview. Besides, for every company, culture fit is important. Therefore, it is not surprising that McKinsey also has Personal Experience Interview, which involves storytelling and provides you a chance to showcase your fit value, principles and professional experience. 

After fit interview, you are required to attend at least 2 rounds of case interview with 2 – 3 case interviews in each round. How many case interview you are in depends on how you perform in your previous interview. In case of passing round one, you will be announced date and time to join round 2 and one feedback sheet from interviewers.

For disclaimer: Having finished each interview, you are often categorized into one out of 4 groups: strongly high, high, fail and strongly fail. Even if you score high in your first interview, passing your first round of interview requires you to perform your best in the second case interview and own strongly high credit.

In this article, I will investigate more into the differences between case interview in McKinsey and other brands.

2. McKinsey Case Interview Process

10 – 15 Minutes: Fit Interview

5 Minutes: Q&A

20 – 25 Minutes: Case Interview

To start your interview perfectly, you are recommended to go to the office early. After check-in process, local HR guides you to the interview room and ask for temporary abandonment of phone or any electric using; then he/she spreads out a piece of paper like your cheat sheet paper in colleges. What you need to prepare is a nice pen! Next, just don’t be worried and nail the interview! You can check out whenever the interviews are done.

Another information to note is that your interviewers are engagement managers and above who have at least 6 years in the industry. Based on the availability of interviewers in home office, there is a chance that you have an interview with McKinsey managers working near the office. Due to the set standard, no difference will exist even in the case of interviewing with other foreign McKinsey staffs. Moreover, McKinsey prefers face to face interview than through digital devices or platforms.

3. McKinsey Interview Guide

Notice: 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 upcoming 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?

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.

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 principles 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.

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 awesome video about it!

To practice for McKinsey Case Interview, you can try to do some Case Interview Questions.

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