Useful Tools to Ace McKinsey PSG: Excel Sheet & Solver

McKinsey Solve/PSG is a big challenge for candidates in the application process. Many candidates have difficulties in solving the Ecosystem Building game - the first part of McKinsey Solve.

To increase your chance of passing the McKinsey Solve, we introduce two powerful tools: Excel sheet and Solver. These tools will help you solve the Ecosystem Building game easily.

Keep reading to learn more about them!


Overview of the Ecosystem Building game

Overview of the Ecosystem Building game

The first part in McKinsey Solve Game

McKinsey Solve includes Ecosystem Building, Redrock Study, Plant Defense, Disease Management, Disaster Management, and Migration Management. 

Only three out of the six games are currently in use: Ecosystem Building, Redrock Study, and Plant Defense. However, Plant Defense is said to be rarely seen in recent years. 

Currently, the Ecosystem Building game is the first part in the McKinsey Solve Game.

The Ecosystem Building requirements

Players have to choose 8 species from a list of 39 species to create a sustainable ecosystem. The purpose is to ensure that each species can survive in the ecosystem. 

You might be randomly asked to build the ecosystem in one of 3 places like coral reefs, mountain ridges, or jungles. These 3 scenarios are quite similar in logic and difficulty level. They just have some differences in visual and interface

Every species has its own needs and characteristics, so you have to think carefully about how they all fit together.

Example of Ecosystem Building game (Source: MConsultingPrep)

35 minutes to achieve 3 key objectives

In the Ecosystem Building game, there are three main goals you need to achieve. 

The first objective is food chain continuity. You need to make sure that all the species in your ecosystem are connected in a food chain without any breaks. 

The second one is energy balance. Every time a predator catches its prey, there should be more than enough food for both of them. 

The last one is a terrain match. You have to make sure that the types of plants and animals you choose fit well with the environment you're building in. 

You need to achieve these three objectives in 35 minutes. 


Excel sheet - a useful tool for practicing

A familiar and approachable tool

The Excel sheet is a helpful tool designed to guide players through the process of creating a sustainable ecosystem of the Ecosystem Building game. You can easily look for an Excel sheet template on the Internet.

The Excel sheet consists of several sub-sheets, including ones for producers, animals, location selection, and food chain generation

The reasons for using the Excel sheet

The Excel sheet sorts and organizes all the game information neatly into different parts, making it easy to understand. 

It gives a clear view of all the tasks to do. The Excel sheet guides you through a process to solve the game, you will not get stuck or vague about what to do next. 

It saves your time by doing calculations for you. You do not need to spend time making calculations, all will be automatically calculated by the Excel sheet. Then, you can focus on making smart decisions for your ecosystem. 

Reasons for using the Excel sheet

Four steps to use the Excel sheet

To solve the Ecosystem Building game by using the Excel sheet, you should follow the four following steps:

Step 1: Fill in producers and animals data

You need to fill in information about the producers and animals in the producers and animals subsheets. 

In these sheets, there are boxes where you enter key details including species’ names, how many calories they need and provide, where they live, and what they eat.

You just need to make sure that you fill in all the information accurately.

Example of Step 1 in using Excel Sheet (reconstructed interface)

Step 2: Define groups

After entering data for all the producers and animals, you'll see a table showing the details of the producers in the producers & location solver subsheet. This table includes their names, calories they provide, and where they can live

Below that, you'll find the optimal group of producers and their location calculated by the template. This helps you see which producers work best together in the ecosystem.

Example of Step 2 in using the Excel Sheet (reconstructed interface)

Step 3: Fill in animals data based on chosen location

Using the information from the producers group and their living conditions, you fill in data for the animals that belong to this group in the animals solver subsheet. 

The template generates a table with animal names, how many calories they need and provide, and what they eat.

Example of Step 3 in using the Excel Sheet (reconstructed interface)

Step 4: Build the food chain

Based on the results from the producers & location solver and animals solver, the template provides you with an optimal food chain. This is the food chain you need to create in the Ecosystem Building game to make sure all the species thrive.

Example of Step 4 in using the Excel Sheet (reconstructed interface)


Solver - solve your problem in less than 15 minutes

Solver is a helpful tool designed to speed up your progress in solving the Ecosystem Building game. 

You can easily see some types of Solvers provided on the Internet, but, in this post, we just focus on the Solver provided by Hacking McKinsey Solve - the most accurate tool in the market. 

Solver consists of some parts requiring you to fill in necessary information of species and terrain conditions. 

Three main benefits of using Solver

Align perfectly with the logic of the McKinsey Ecosystem Building game.

It is the most accurate solver in the market and ensures that every combination it provides meets the game's requirements and results in the best possible solutions. 

Generate automatic and optimal solutions. 

Instead of manually building the food chain, grouping species, and performing calorie calculations, users simply input the necessary species information, such as name and calorie requirements, into the tool. 

Solver then handles all calculations, providing results quickly and efficiently. 

Enable users to solve the ecosystem in less than 15 minutes. 

Typically, candidates require over 20 minutes to build a food chain manually, and incorrect calculations can further extend this time. 

With Solver's rapid solution generation, users can optimize their time, freeing up valuable moments and your power to prepare for the next game’s challenges - Redrock Study Task.

Benefits of using Solver

Three steps to use Solver

Step 1: Define groups

First, you input data for three groups of producers, including information about their depth/elevation and temperature preferences.

Example of Step 1 - Define groups
Ecosystem Building Solver - Hacking McKinsey Solve)

Step 2: Find the best group

Next, you input data for the producers across the three groups. You fill in details like their names and how many calories they provide. 

After filling in the data, you click on the "rank groups" button to see the result. The Solver will suggest the best producer group to build the food chain.

Example of Step 2 - Find the best group
(Source: Ecosystem Building Solver - Hacking McKinsey Solve)

Example of the result of Step 2 - Finding the best group
(Source: Ecosystem Building Solver - Hacking McKinsey Solve)

Step 3: Build the food chain

In this step, you start by inputting data for animals in the chosen group. You'll see a table of chosen producer data and chosen location parameters on the screen. 

What you need to do is fill in data for all animals that meet the chosen location parameters, including their names, calories needed, and calories provided. 

Example of inputting data for chosen animal group
(Source: Ecosystem Building Solver - Hacking McKinsey Solve)

Then, you click on the "Next" button to input the food sources of chosen animals

You'll see a table with animals on the left column and food sources on the first row. You tick the box if the intersection of the animal and its food source matches. 

Example of food sources choosing process
(Source: Ecosystem Building Solver - Hacking McKinsey Solve)

The Solver will then automatically suggest the best combination. You just need to choose the species in the game as suggested species from Solver. 

If you want to build the food chain with other groups, you can always go back to do that.

Example of food chain suggestions
(Source: Ecosystem Building Solver - Hacking McKinsey Solve)

Solver is better than the Excel sheet

Although both Solver and the Excel sheet can help you build a sustainable food chain in such a short time, Solver is a better choice.

Solver saves your time because it requires you to fill in less information than the Excel sheet. 

Solver can suggest more than a sustainable food chain, whereas the Excel sheet can only suggest one. Several food chain suggestions will better support you in practicing and diversifying your ideas.


Tips to use Excel sheet and Solver effectively

Review your solutions

By inputting species’ information and terrain conditions into the tools, you can analyze the effectiveness of your strategies. 

By comparing your result and the tool’s results, you can identify your weaknesses or areas where you may have made errors. 

Understanding your mistakes is crucial for improvement, as it enables you to learn from them and avoid repeating them in future attempts.

Practice and solution reviewing process using tools

Use the tool to familiarize yourself with the game logic 

The Solver is designed based on the logic of the game, which means every step in the solver follows the game’s logic. By practicing with Solver, you can understand the logic behind the game and solve it in a logical way

This familiarity with the game format and logic will ultimately enhance your performance during actual gameplay. 

Experiment with different strategies 

One of the benefits of using the Excel sheet and Solver for practice is the ability to experiment with different strategies and approaches to the game. 

You can try out various combinations of species, habitats, and food chains to see which ones yield the best results. 

This experimental approach allows you to learn what works and what doesn't, helping you develop a more effective strategy for future attempts.


Recommendation from MConsultingPrep

To better prepare for the Ecosystem Building game, you can consider using McKinsey Solve Game Simulations and Solver for practicing. 

You can practice as the above-mentioned tips by combining McKinsey Solve Game Simulation and Solver to enhance your skills and speed.

McKinsey Solve Game Simulation bundle includes McKinsey Solve Simulation for Ecosystem Building, Plant Defense, and 20 Redrock Tests with full answers and explanations.

Practicing this bundle will help you familiarize with McKinsey Solve game formats and increase your passing chance.

To use Solver - the most accurate solver in the market, click here for more information and take the chance to purchase it.

Read next

Scoring in the McKinsey PSG/Digital Assessment

The scoring mechanism in the McKinsey Digital Assessment

Scoring in the McKinsey PSG/Digital Assessment

The scoring mechanism in the McKinsey Digital Assessment

Related product