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Focus on Advice from Assessment-Trained Consultants...The biggest driver of quality and reliability of McKinsey interview advice is whether or not the source has been "assessment trained". The Firm requires a constant and robust flow of new consultants, so the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring processes are designed to be consistent as they are selective. Therefore, every consultant who interviews candidates goes through an assessment training program to teach them the McKinsey method for evaluating applicants.
...Who Have Interviewed Candidates For McKinseyAssessment-trained consultants understand the process and theory of how candidates get evaluated and hired. However, unless they have actually conducted interviews and participated in post-interview "decision meetings" for McKinsey, they won't fully understand or appreciate the behind-the-scenes realities and details of how candidates are assessed. It's the difference between taking a Driver's Ed class and learning by driving, even if it's just with a learner's permit.
Take Advice From Anyone Else (Except Recruiters) With a Grain of SaltAnyone giving you McKinsey interview advice likely has the best intentions and wants to help you do well. However, if they haven't been assessment trained and interviewed candidates for the Firm, they really don't know what they're talking about (unless they are McKinsey Recruiters - see the next section for information on advice from Recruiters). They simply will not know how what they did during their interview process maps to why they got a job offer.
Consider the advice you could give to someone applying to your school (assuming you're currently in business school, APD, or undergrad program). You know a) what you did, said in interviews, and wrote in your application and that b) got you accepted. However, unless you've volunteered for your school's admissions office, you don't really know which specific things you did made a difference in getting that acceptance.
For those reasons, do NOT put too much faith in interview advice you get from the following:
- Business Analysts (BAs)
- Former BAs
- Returning Summer BAs (SBAs)
- Returning Summer Associates (SAs)
- Early-tenure Associates who have not been assessment trained