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In this post, I'll explain...
- What is a 30-second answer?
- Why it's important to always have one up-do-date and handy
- Recommendations on how to structure it
WHAT IS A 30-SECOND ANSWER?
The 30-second answer is based on the concept of the "elevator pitch", but instead of being prepared to briefly summarize yourself for interviews and networking or explaining your startup to potential investors, the goal of the 30-second answer is to concisely convey your latest hypothesis on the answer to the client problem being solved by your workstream or client engagement.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A 30-SECOND ANSWER?
There are several reasons you should always have your 30-second answer constantly updated and top of mind.
You will be asked for itYour McKinsey boss has a lot on their plate so this is one way for them to get a quick update on what's going on in the engagement and inform their own 30-second answer. It's also not uncommon to run into a senior client who asks you how things are going or what you've learned and this is a good way to be sure you can provide a quick, current, thoughtful response and build credibility with the client.
Shows that you're on top of thingsHaving a good 30-second answer will give your McKinsey boss some comfort that you're managing your workstream effectively, especially if your response includes all of the latest analyses, knowledge, and problem solving, as well as proactive consideration of next steps
Reflects top-down thinkingYou have to be able to synthesize in order to boil down everything going on in your workstream or engagement into a 30-second answer. If you can do this well, it will convey your ability to apply the 80/20 rule and focus on the vital few, most relevant, highest impact issues.
SUGGESTED FORMAT FOR YOUR 30-SECOND ANSWER
Now that you've thought about your 30-second answer and made sure you understand the most recent information and analyses that support it, here are some recommendations on how to best present it. For people applying for jobs at McKinsey or interviewing with a hiring manager who is a former consultant, this is also a good way to close your case interview.