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.

As with anything at McKinsey, there are variations by location, but after interviewing hundreds of candidates for the Firm across multiple geographies, I've found the process to be fairly consistent by school, office complex, and location.  In general, you can expect the following steps on your journey to a job offer from McKinsey...

Company Presentation

This usually kicks off recruiting season and is often the first touch-point the Firm has with candidates and vice versa.  It's not uncommon for over HALF of a business school's class to attend these presentations where McKinsey Partners and Directors (Senior Partners) speak about their experiences at the Firm.  Typically, a recent hire will also speak about their McKinsey experience to give the "early tenure" perspective.  There will also be an army of McKinsey consultants on hand to chat with you and answer questions after the presentation – they’ll be organized around the room by office complex so you can meet the right folks

Coffee Chats and Office Hours

These are opportunities to meet a McKinsey consultant one-on-one or with a small group of your classmates.  Coffee chats take place in coffee shops on or near campus while office hours are typically on campus in a classroom, meeting room, or even a table in a common area like a cafeteria.  Firms use them to build interest, answer questions, and let candidates get to know them.  These are supposed to be "non-evaluative" and they are to an extent - you can't really help your chances in a coffee chat, but you can increase your likelihood of getting dinged if you come across poorly.  You can read this related post on tips for making the most of coffee chats.

Resume Screens

Before you can get a job with McKinsey, you have to be invited to interview.  At most schools, this means you have to submit or "drop" your resume to the Firm for consideration.  A couple of Associates who have been trained on how to review resumes will assess your resume according to a resume screening rubric.  If your resume scores high enough, you'll be invited to interview.  You can read this related post on tips for doing well on the resume screen.

Case Prep Sessions

McKinsey wants to see everyone's best possible performance on interview day.  To help enable that, the Firm will offer opportunities for candidates who have been invited to interview to do some case interview preparation ("case prep") with a McKinsey consultant.  Typically, a consultant will meet with a small group of candidates at once and each person will have a chance to answer part of a case interview.  These are challenging because you have to jump into a case interview mid-stream, but they are great chances to go through a case with an "assessment trained" McKinsey consultant.

First-Round Interviews

First-round interviews typically occur on or near campus.  You'll be one of dozens of candidates interviewed that day - at some schools, you might be one of over a hundred.  Every candidate will go through at least two one-hour interviews.  Roughly half of each interview will be spent on a case interview and the other half on a personal experience interview (PEI).  Both parts of the interview are critical - here are some tips on how to do well on the PEI.  Regardless of how you do, you can get feedback on your interview performance - take advantage of the offer, especially if you were successful in getting a "pass" to a final-round interview.

Final-Round Interviews (aka "Batch Days")

Final-round interviews are usually conducted at the McKinsey location that will be hiring you, should you receive and accept a job offer.  The Firm does its best to accommodate your top location preference, so choose wisely!  Final-round interview days are also known as "batch days" because of the "batches" of candidates and interviews in the office.  Final-round interviews can be a bit tougher than first-round because you will a) have a third interview and b) your interviewers will be more senior - Associate Principals, Principals, and Directors instead of the Associates and Engagement Managers who interviewed you during the first round.  However, the format will the similar to the first round with each interview split into PEI and case interview.

Cultivation or Offeree Weekends

If you do well enough on your final-round interviews, McKinsey will extend a job offer to you.  Once you become an "offeree" the tables turn and the Firm will begin courting you, culminating in a weekend of wining and dining at your hiring location.  Both you and your Significant Other (SO) will be invited to this all-expenses-paid "cultivation weekend" or "offeree weekend" (also called a "sell weekend" at other firms) were you'll meet current consultants, check out the office, do fun things that showcase the city, get taken out for nice meals, and go out for drinks.  Lots of drinks.


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