Monday, December 10, 2012

MBTI - How your McKinsey colleague thinks of you in 4 letters (an introduction)

McKinsey consultants change teams frequently and must quickly understand new colleagues' and clients' personalities, working styles, and preferences.  MBTI is a 4-letter shortcut that the McKinsey consultant in your life uses to do just that.

In this post I'll give you a brief overview of how to figure out your own MBTI type and understand what they're talking about

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

McKinsey case interviews - 6 common math mistakes and how to prevent them

Everyone applying to McKinsey knows case prep, but I’m always surprised to see how poorly some of them prepare to do math during their interviews.  In this post, I’ll go over the six most common quant errors I’ve seen and some tips on how to avoid them

Monday, December 3, 2012

3 questions your McKinsey interviewers are asking themselves

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If you're being interviewed by someone from McKinsey - even if they've an ex-consultant who has already left the Firm - it's likely that they're asking themselves 3 questions about you.  In this post I'll explain what those questions are, whey they're important, and what you can do to address them

McKinsey interviews: PEI and 5 tips for doing well - it matters as much as the case interview!

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McKinsey interviews consist of two components, and most people focus on preparing for the case interview.  In this post I'll provide tips on how to do well on the personal experience interview (PEI) and explain why it's risky to neglect preparing for it.  This will be useful to candidates applying for jobs with McKinsey and potentially helpful if you're interviewing for a job with a former McKinsey consultant

Saturday, December 1, 2012

McKinsey's culture of negative feedback - you're probably not performing as badly as you think

Are you getting a lot of negative feedback and constructive criticism from your McKinsey boss?  Is it making you feel like you're underperforming and disappointing your supervisor?

In this post I'll explain the culture of frequent and often negative feedback at McKinsey and why you're probably not performing as poorly as you think

Friday, November 30, 2012

Common coffee chat mistakes - 7 ways candidates screw up pre-interview networking

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During my time at McKinsey I participated in dozens of coffee chats and other pre-interview networking events.  Of the hundreds of conversations I had with candidates, the ones that stand out are the bad ones.

In this post I'll discuss the 7 most common pre-interview networking errors I've seen so you can avoid making them yourself...

Recruiting coffee chats - 4 tips for McKinsey pre-interview networking events

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If you're applying for management consulting jobs, firms will provide you with opportunities to meet their consultants prior to interviews.  For McKinsey recruits, networking events usually take the form of coffee chats, office hours, cocktail events, and company presentations.

In this post, I'll go over some tips for making the most of these opportunities

Thursday, November 29, 2012

5 Tips for McKinsey Resume (CV) Screens and Cover Letters

It's recruiting season so many first-year business school students are gearing up for their first consulting recruiting cycle.  So, I'll use the next few posts to discuss some pre-interview elements of the recruiting process.  In this post, I'll go over some 5 simple tips for improving your resume and increasing the likelihood that you'll pass the resume review process and be offered a first-round interview.

If you're not in business school but are applying to a job that requires an interview with and resume screen by a former McKinsey consultant, these tips should still be helpful.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Typical day in the life of a McKinsey consultant - why your McKinsey boss expects so much from you

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In this post, I'll share the schedule of a typical day in the life of a McKinsey consultant.  One of the great things about being at McKinsey is that no two days are the same, but I've tried to capture what a management consultant's day-to-day lifestyle is like.  It's a composite of many days I've had at the Firm, but directionally accurate and representative of how we work.  I'll start with what this might mean for you, depending on your relationship with the McKinsey consultant.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Leaving McKinsey - 5 approaches to using search time

There countless ways a consultant can choose to leave the McKinsey.  In this post, I'll describe five common strategies I've seen people apply to using their search time and separation from the Firm, and list some pros and cons of each.  I hope these examples will help you decide how to optimize your departure from consulting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Always have your 30-second answer ready - the elevator pitch version of your latest hypothesis

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If you ever work with someone from McKinsey on a project, you're likely to be asked at some point for your hypothesis on the 30-second answer.  The question you're answering is whatever is at the heart of the project (e.g., how do we improve profitability?).

In this post, I'll explain...
  1. What is a 30-second answer?
  2. Why it's important to always have one up-do-date and handy
  3. Recommendations on how to structure it

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How to impress your McKinsey boss - Consulting rock stars are five-tool players

In this post I'll review the five consulting skills we look for and provide examples of how to demonstrate excellence in each of them.  The best consultants are good at all five and are distinctive, or "have a spike" in at least one.

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Knowing what a McKinsey person is looking for can help you make the right impression on your former McKinsey boss, your current Engagement Manager, or the management consultant who is interviewing you for a job.

This post is about the abilities of a great management consultant.  To learn more about the behaviors of a great consultant (or direct report to a former consultant), check out this earlier post on the 3 things you can do to keep your McKinsey boss happy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Flying with McKinsey - packing light

In an earlier post I covered the importance of not checking in luggage when you fly with McKinsey consultants - especially if your boss is one of them.  This post will provide some tips on how to travel light and make the most of your carry-on bags.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flying with McKinsey - checking in bags is not allowed!

It's the holiday season - Thanksgiving is in a couple of days and a lot of people will be dealing with big crowds and long lines at the airport.  It brought to mind a travel tip:  when flying with McKinsey consultants, never check-in your luggage.  It doesn't come up often, but if it does, it's an easy way to get on a seasoned business traveler's bad side.  I'll explain why and offer some suggestion on how to avoid it...

Image from "Up In the Air"


Monday, November 19, 2012

You only get to leave McKinsey once - 6 important things to consider about your next job

This was an excellent piece of advice I received when I was contemplating my departure from the Firm.  Leaving McKinsey is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it.

Even during the Great Recession, many consultants I know who left McKinsey had multiple offers from which to choose.  When times are good, the opportunities are even greater.  That means that it's important that you understand your priorities when evaluating post-McKinsey job opportunities.  Here are some things to consider as you weight your options:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Were you asked to "be more 80/20" by a McKinsey person? Here are 3 things that could mean...

If you spend enough time working with McKinsey consultants, you'll eventually hear someone being told to "be more 80/20".  In this post I will go over three reasons you might be asked to "be more 80/20" and...
  1. Explain what the 80/20 rule is
  2. Offer some examples of the 80/20 rule
  3. Provide an Excel tool I built to help you illustrate your own 80/20 examples

Leaving McKinsey - when to start "search time"

Paid "search time" is a benefit McKinsey provides to departing consultants.  Bain offers a similar package called "transition".  In this post I'll explain...
  1. Definition of search time
  2. How search time is calculated
  3. Search time rules that will help inform your decision on when to go on search

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Leaving McKinsey - when to decide

It's mid-November, so people are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and gearing up for the holidays.  It also means many current McKinsey consultants are deciding whether or not they will stay at the Firm.  So, I thought I'd switch gears and start including some posts to help current consultants with their decision to stay or go.

Well before I ever thought about leaving the Firm, I received some great pieces of advice on how to make the decision.  In this post, I'll share the three best suggestions I've heard...

Friday, November 16, 2012

What's with all these Appendix pages in our decks?

I was just asked by a friend why the former McKinsey Partner to whom she reports wants PowerPoint decks with detailed Appendix pages, so that's the topic addressed in this post. I'll go over...
  1. Definition of Appendix or back-up pages
  2. Why McKinsey consultants use Appendix pages
    • In team and client discussion documents
    • In client deliverable documents

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to give McKinsey-style feedback: The McKinsey Feedback Model

McKinsey is a feedback-driven culture.  It's used to develop better consultants and make sure we're always pushing toward greater client impact.  There's also an expectation that less tenured consultants also provide frequent, upward feedback to their leadership.  Unfortunately, there's a also a tendency for McKinsey feedback to focus on "development opportunities", resulting in predominantly negative feedback that I address in a related post.

As with most things in consulting, McKinsey has developed a framework for delivering structured feedback and it's called "the McKinsey feedback model".

In this post I'll go over...
    • Explanation of the McKinsey feedback model
    • Format recommended by the Firm for giving feedback
    • Explanation of why that format is used
    • Examples of what the McKinsey feedback model in practice
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Feedback overload - now my McKinsey boss wants my "360" feedback!


Giving and receiving feedback is an integral part of the McKinsey experience - it's what drives our development by letting us know if we're on the right track and how we can improve.  At McKinsey, feedback is meant to be constructive, not punitive, even if does feel harsh at times.  It's also part of our culture for McKinsey leadership to value upward feedback from their teams.

In this post I'll discuss the frequency of feedback and our openness to giving and receiving upward (aka "360") feedback.  There's also a link to another post on McKinsey feedback model.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to keep your McKinsey boss happy - 3 tips for dealing with McKinsey Engagement Managers (EMs)

If you report to a former McKinsey consultant, there’s a good chance that they were a McKinsey Engagement Manager (EM) at some point.  So, the things that made them happy as EMs are still likely to be valued.  

In this post I'll share the three best pieces of advice I received as an early-tenure Associate on how to keep your McKinsey boss happy.  Once I became an EM, I found these tips to be spot on.  If you’re currently a Business Analyst or Associate at McKinsey, then this advice is even more applicable to you.