Friday, December 6, 2013

Why Doesn't McKinsey Recruit at My School?

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McKinsey sends droves of consultants to the world's best undergrad, MBA, and other programs in search of new talent and future consultants.  It can be frustrating if you're an intelligent, hard-working, high-performing student who does not go to one of those programs.  In this post I'll explain why McKinsey focuses its recruiting efforts at certain schools...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - Not All Advice Is Created Equal

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As McKinsey candidates prepare for interviews, they eagerly seek out information and are often bombarded with advice from a variety of sources.  However, it's important to remember that not all interview prep advice is created equal.  In this post I'll discuss which sources are more or less valuable and why...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - December, 2013 Posts for Aspiring Summer Interns

McKinsey's summer internship recruiting season is right around the corner.  So, in an effort to remain timely and relevant, the posts over the next couple of weeks will focus on networking, resume screen, and interview-related topics.

I will try to consolidate those posts into a short period of time so that a) interview candidates can find them easily and b) others can ignore them easily.

As always, I will post articles as I finish editing them, but they will be dated based on when they were first written.  Apologies for any confusion that causes to folks who subscribe to or follow this blog regularly.

To anyone NOT interviewing with McKinsey:

Apologies if you are already a consultant or looking for tips on how to work with a former McKinsey consultant.  We'll return to the typical mix of content after a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What It Means to be "Down In the Weeds" at McKinsey

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If you've worked in the food service industry - or watched Top Chef - you're probably familiar with the term "in the weeds".  But that means something very different than the term "down in the weeds" which not a McKinsey-specific term, but one I heard used frequently at the Firm.  In this post I'll explain the difference and what you should do if your McKinsey boss asks you to not be so down in the weeds...

It's also worth nothing that McKinsey interviewers also view being down in the weeds negatively, so aspiring consultants should also be mindful of not getting down in the weeds during interviews, especially when breaking down the case.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Problem Solving Approaches at McKinsey

There are typically two primary ways to approach problem-solving - "top-down" and "bottom-up".  In this post I'll explain the differences as well as why the top-down approach is preferred by McKinsey bosses and interviewers...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What Is the "Obligation to Dissent" at McKinsey?

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If your McKinsey boss knows that you disagree with something, you will be reminded of your "obligation to dissent".  In this post, I'll explain what that means...

Friday, November 22, 2013

Top 5 Internal McKinsey Resources for Consultants

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McKinsey consultants are focused on delivering impact to clients.  The Firm doesn't want things like research, making PowerPoint pages, and debugging Excel models distracting from that goal.  So, McKinsey provides many valuable resources to its consultants.  These are also among the top things former McKinsey consultants miss most about the Firm.  In this post I'll cover the Top 5 McKinsey resources...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

4 Ways to "Streamline" a PowerPoint Page or Deck at McKinsey

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Your McKinsey boss might give you feedback that your work needs to be "streamlined".  In this post I'll explain what that means and provide four common ways to accomplish it...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Laundry Lists" at McKinsey and 3 Ways to Fix Them

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Your McKinsey boss might give you feedback that your work reads too much like a "laundry list".  This is also a common error during consulting case interviews.  In this post I'll explain what "laundry lists" are and how you can fix them in 3 easy steps...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Levers" and What It Means to "Pull" Them at McKinsey

Your McKinsey boss might ask you what "levers" you're pursuing or seem most promising on a project or workstream.  In this post, I'll explain what "levers" are at McKinsey...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What it means to "get smart" on topics at McKinsey and 5 Key Things to Learn

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Has your McKinsey boss asked you to "get smart" on a topic?  In this post I'll explain what that means and highlight five subjects to focus on...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Focus on the "Critical Few" or "Vital Few" - Application of the 80/20 Rule

Your McKinsey boss might give you feedback to focus more of your effort on the "critical few" or "vital few". This is so you can achieve maximum impact for a given amount of work - it's another way of saying that your McKinsey boss wants you to apply the 80/20 rule to your work.  In this post I'll explain those terms...

Friday, November 8, 2013

What it means to "Boil the Ocean" and why it's important to avoid doing it

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The term "boiling the ocean" is used to describe any task that's impossible because it has been incorrectly scoped.  In this post I'll explain what that might look like on a McKinsey engagement - or a project for a McKinsey boss - and what to do about it...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What it means to "Sanitize" a document at McKinsey

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You might hear your McKinsey boss or colleague refer to a document as "sanitized".  Or, you might be asked to "sanitize" a document.  This has nothing to do with hygiene or disinfectant.  It has everything to do with confidentiality.  In this post I'll explain what it means for a document to be sanitized....

Saturday, November 2, 2013

McKinsey Presentations - Anatomy of a McKiney PowerPoint Deck Page

McKinsey consultants use PowerPoint pages and presentations (aka "decks") to communicate with clients and each other.  In this post, I'll explain the three elements of a typical McKinsey page so you can put together your own McKinsey-style deck.  This should be helpful for new McKinsey consultants and anyone working for a former McKinsey consultant...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

3 Reasons Why McKinsey Interviews Are NOT So Difficult

McKinsey has consistently topped's annual list of Top 25 Most Difficult Companies to Interview.  Although getting into McKinsey and other top management consulting firms is challenging (see the companion piece on "Why McKinsey Interviews Are So Difficult"), you can leverage certain aspects of the interview process and make it less difficult to get a job offer.  In this post I'll discuss a few of those factors...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

3 Reasons Why McKinsey Interviews Are So Difficult

McKinsey has consistently topped's annual list of Top 25 Most Difficult Companies to Interview.  Getting into McKinsey and other top management consulting firms is certainly challenging, but there are very specific reasons why these interviews are difficult.  In this post I'll discuss a few of those reasons.  You might also be interested in the companion piece on "Why McKinsey Interviews Are NOT So Difficult"...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - 7 Tips for Interview Days

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McKinsey interviews can be challenging and stressful, so here are some tips for the day of your interview that can help you maximize your performance.  Of course, there's no replacement for good personal experience interview (PEI) and case interview prep.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - What Happens on Final-Round Interview "Batch" Days

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Final-round interview (or "Batch") days at McKinsey are, in many ways, very similar to first-round interviews.  This post is a companion piece to an earlier one on what happens on early-round interview days.  Rather than rehash those details, I'll focus on the differences between first-round and final-round interview days.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - What Happens on First-Round Interview Days

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Interviewing for any job is stressful, and McKinsey and other consulting firms have some of the toughest interviews you'll ever face.  However, understanding what will happen on your interview day can help you prepare, relax, and improve your performance.  In this post I'll describe how a typical early-round interview day is structured so you'll know what to expect.

I will follow-up this post with two posts - one on what happens on second-round interview days and another with suggestions for how to make the most of your interview days.

Friday, October 4, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - What is a McKinsey Case Interview and Why Is It Important?

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If you've done any research into getting a job in consulting, you'll know that the case interview is a critical component of the interview process at McKinsey and other top management consulting firms.  Case interviews are also become more common in non-consulting job interviews, especially for Strategy roles and/or positions reporting to former consultants.

If you're just starting your research or it's not yet clear to you what, exactly, a case interview is, in this post I will answer:
  • What is a case interview?
  • Will it be a brain teaser?
  • Why are case interviews important?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - Roadmap to a McKinsey Job and 3 Things to Consider

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The cooler weather and changing leaves don't just signal the beginning of autumn.  We have now entered recruiting season for full-time McKinsey hiring and summer internship hiring is not far behind.  In this post I'll explain how the McKinsey interview process is structured and a few things to consider as you dive in.  The process similar for full-time and summer hiring.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - October, 2013 Posts for Aspiring Consultants

To anyone NOT interviewing with McKinsey:

With apologies to folks who are already consultants or looking for tips on how to work with a current or former McKinsey consultant, the posts for the next couple of weeks will focus on getting into the Firm.  But we'll get right back to our regularly scheduled mix of programming after that!

To those of you who ARE interviewing with McKinsey:

For those of you who are Aspiring Consultants, the posts over the next couple of weeks will help you understand what to expect as you pursue a job at McKinsey and/or other top management consulting firms.

I'll try to coordinate the content across posts so I might delay putting content on the blog until other posts are completed.  But I will schedule them so they appear on the day they were originally written.  Apologies if that gets confusing for those of you who subscribe or follow this blog regularly.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

McKinsey Presentation Decks - What is the Storyline and What is a "Dot-Dash"?

If you're working with a McKinsey boss to prepare a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation - known in consulting as a "deck" - you might be asked to work on a storyline and prepare a "Dot-Dash" version of that storyline.  In this post, I'll explain what those terms means and why they're important...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

McKinsey Presentations - How to Apply Ghost (aka Shell and Skeleton) Decks and Pages

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McKinsey consultants invest a lot of time and effort into making PowerPoint presentations (decks) and pages.  "Ghost" decks are used to align on what the end product will look like and to minimize wasted work.  In this post I'll explain what a ghost deck is and what it means to "ghost out" a deck or pages...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Asking Your McKinsey Boss for Help - Bring Solutions, Not Just Problems

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In a previous post, I provided three ways to keep your McKinsey boss happy.  In this post, I'll explain a fourth, equally important way to stay in the good graces of your McKinsey boss:  When you're struggling with something and need help from your McKinsey boss, make sure you bring solutions, not just problems

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Straw Man - An Important Tool for McKinsey-Style Problem Solving

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As a Firm, McKinsey if often engaged to work on a client's most challenging problems and McKinsey teams apply structured approaches to arrive at the best answers.  The "straw man" is an important tool for collaborative problem solving in all phases and at every level of a client engagement.  In this post I'll explain what a straw man is, why they're important, and caveats for their use...

Monday, July 1, 2013

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of your McKinsey Summer Internship

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It's internship season and that means all the insecure overachievers who are McKinsey Summer Associates and Summer Business Analysts are stressing out about whether or not they'll get a job offer at the end of the summer.  While securing the full-time offer is important, there are other critical things a Summer can get out of the internship.  Here are some tips on getting the most out of a McKinsey summer internship....

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Extra Miles and Points - How Far Some McKinsey Consultants Will Go to Earn Them

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A previous post covered why airline miles and hotel points are so important to many McKinsey consultants.  In this post we'll go a bit deeper on the topic and look at the extent to which some current and former consultants will go to earn more of these miles and points.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why McKinsey Consultants Are Whores... For Hotel Points and Airline Miles

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There are many things about working at McKinsey that are challenging, including the travel.   Some of the upsides of travel include the opportunity to earn many airline miles and hotel points.  In this post I'll discuss the relationship current and former consultants have with these loyalty programs...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How the McKinsey Resume / CV Screening Process Works

McKinsey's success is built on its reputation and people.  To maintain a sufficient supply of the latter, every year McKinsey reviews thousands of resumes from the top undergrad and MBA programs around the world.  As a result, the Firm has gotten quite good at making a highly qualitative process more objective and consistent.  In this post I'll explain the resume review process...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

McKinsey is a Pie-Eating Contest and the Prize is More Pie

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This is one of my favorite phrases about life at McKinsey.  In this post I'll explain why "working at McKinsey is a pie-eating contest and the prize is more pie"...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

5 Traits of Client-Ready Decks (PowerPoint Presentations)

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Just as there are "client-ready" consultants, there are client-ready PowerPoint presentations.  In this post, I'll briefly cover what it means for a McKinsey deck to be client ready and 5 traits that client-ready decks share...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

6 Traits of Client-Ready McKinsey Consultants

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You might hear management consultants refer to a a person as "Client Ready" or not.  In this post, I'll briefly cover what that means and share 6 traits that client-ready consultants exhibit.  You can also check out the related post on what it means to have a client-ready deck (PowerPoint presentation)...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stockpiling "Dry Powder" For Your McKinsey Boss

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McKinsey consultants already work a ton of hours, but if they left it up to their clients and Partners, they'd work even more.  One way teams and individual consultants can keep their workloads reasonable is by stockpiling "dry powder".  In this post, I'll discuss what that means and how it can help you manage the workload you're assigned by the McKinsey consultant in your life...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

McKinsey and APD (Advanced Professional Degree) Candidates

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Many management consulting firms hire non-MBAs.  However, few, if any, hire them to the extent that McKinsey does.  This post will cover a few of the basics of APD recruiting at McKinsey...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Get Feedback From Your 1st Round McKinsey Interview - Why It's Important

To get hired by McKinsey, you typically have to pass two rounds of interviews.  McKinsey's feedback-driven culture doesn't just apply to the job, it applies to interviews as well.  It's also possible that former McKinsey consultants will apply this approach when interviewing candidates for non-consulting jobs.  In this post we'll cover why it's important to get feedback from your 1st round interview...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Releasing Your Agenda - What It Means and Why It's Important

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It's likely that, at some point, you'll be asked by your McKinsey boss to "release your agenda".  In this post I'll explain what that means, and why it can be helpful.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

80/20 Thinking, 110% Execution - Why McKinsey Decks Are Often Warm

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One of my favorite McKinsey client quotes is "I like McKinsey decks - they're always nice and warm".  The reason McKinsey decks are often warm to the touch is because they're fresh off the printer.  It's common for McKinsey teams to be making edits and adding content until the very last minute, then scrambling to print documents and race to client meetings.  You also might see this behavior if you work with or for a former McKinsey consultant.  Here's why this happens...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

McKinsey Interviews - 3 Tips For Selecting Your Location Preferences

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Prior to joining McKinsey, you will have 3 major decisions to make - 1) whether or not to apply for a job at the Firm, 2) to which location you'd like to apply, and 3) whether or not to accept your offer.  This post will focus on your location preference decision.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cover Letters for non-Consulting jobs - 4 common mistakes

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As I mentioned in a previous post about consulting resume screens, cover letters are not critical when applying for a job at McKinsey.  However, in my pre- and post-McKinsey experience, I've found that non-consulting hiring managers rely heavily on cover letters to differentiate between candidates with similarly impressive resumes.  In this post I'll discuss the most common cover letter mistakes I've seen from candidates for non-Consulting jobs...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

McKinsey Presentations: The Page Pull Deck and How to Build One

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There are many types of PowerPoint decks that your McKinsey boss might ask for.  One that is relatively common and easy to prepare is the "page pull" deck.  In this post I'll cover what it is, and how it's used...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

T-shaped Problem-Solving at McKinsey and 3 Reasons Why It's Preferred

At McKinsey, there's a strong preference for T-shaped problem solving - making sure you've considered all of the applicable topics before going too deep on any of them.  This applies to problem solving a client engagement, case interviews, and working for a former McKinsey boss.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Interviewing with former McKinsey consultants - 5 tips for case-type questions

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Even if you're interviewing for a non-consulting job, there's a chance you'll be asked case questions similar to those used in consulting interviews.  In this post I'll share some tips on how to do well on those case-type questions...

Friday, January 4, 2013

McKinsey Case Interviews and Unit Conversions - An Easy, 3-step Method

One of the most common causes of math errors during case interviews is unit conversions.  Here's a method I learned as an engineering undergrad that helped me get through all of my case prep and interviews without making any unit conversion errors.  I've also used this method countless times at McKinsey and even after leaving the Firm...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

MBTI - 3 ways McKinsey teams think about and (mis)use personality types

McKinsey teams use MBTI personality types as a short-hand for understanding individual preferences and team dynamics.  In this post I'll review a few ways McKinsey consultant typically think about MBTI.  These are not necessarily how an expert on MBTI would apply this framework, but the McKinsey person in your life still might think in some of these ways