The following paragraphs will give you an idea of what you can expect during your interview day. We also encourage you to watch the video we have created to help applicants prepare.

We do all we can to go about the interviews in as precise and honest a way as possible. To guarantee this, we use a number of interviewing methods that examine the skills that are important in the work we do. You will find yourself in two types of interview on your interview day:

  • Experience interviews. It is not only your achievements that are important to us, but also how you got there. During the interview, we try to ascertain whether your abilities – e.g., leadership and teamwork abilities – put you in a good position to carve out a successful career at McKinsey. Be prepared for detailed discussion of your most significant past experiences, and specifically of your own role and the crucial steps you took to achieve successful outcomes.
  • Case study interviews. We believe that discussing what for McKinsey is a typical business problem is the best way to assess problem-solving skills. Our case studies do not require a high level of knowledge but are representative of the typical challenges our consultants have to deal with when devising solutions for practical cases. We assess you more on your approach to the problem than on the specific answers you provide. We advise you to practice case study interviews, especially if you have no prior experience with them. Here are some tips for you:
    • Listen carefully and ask questions. Try to understand the explanation of the problem and the question you are supposed to answer and ask for clarification on points that you still find unclear. (Usually, the interviewer offers hints or asks more detailed questions to guide you through the case study.)
    • Divide the problem into a logical structure. There may be more than one issue that needs to be addressed. It is more important that you demonstrate your skill at reaching a well-reasoned conclusion than coming up with the best answer.
    • Tackle the problem. Candidates often concentrate too much on their own area of expertise and not on the essential problem (e.g., accountants may focus on the financial aspects of new product development without thinking of the customers).
    • Ask for additional information. Whilst you are acquiring an understanding of the problem, you may require further information.
    • Watch for cues from the interviewer. Any information they give is meant to help you. Listen to them carefully and follow their lead.
    • Test your ideas. Keep going back to check whether you are tackling the question that the interviewer posed and whether you are coming to sensible conclusions.
    • Reach a conclusion. Summarize your ideas and, if applicable, develop a recommendation.
    • Relax and enjoy the process. Think of the interviewer as a teammate in a problem-solving process and the case as a real client problem that you need to explore and then solve. Our clients need pragmatic solutions on which they can act immediately. Always focus on actionable recommendations, even though sometimes they may not be the most elegant solution to the problem.

Our most important advice that applies to both experience and case study interviews is, prepare, practice, and be yourself.