McKinsey APD / PhD CV Format for Consulting

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McKinsey APD CV Question:

I've struggled with how to edit my academic CV into a more digestible format. As you interviewed APD candidates, perhaps you have some guidance here. I'm of course interested in any rules of thumb on presenting the CV in general (i.e., do you recommend summary statement?).

My Response:

I did not screen APD CV's or resumes from applicants with PhD and non MBA, JD graduate degrees. When I was at McKinsey, resume screening, even for just a McKinsey internship, was typically done by the alumni of that school.  So MIT PhD grads screened PhD CVs from MIT, etc...

However, I'll answer your question in the general sense of what I and my colleagues looked for in resumes / CVs in general.

1) The University you attended (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth, MIT, etc... all very good.  Internationally, IIT, Insead, Oxford, Cambridge, and basically the most respected university in every country)

2) GPA (or equivalent), Standardized Test Scores (SAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE).  Basically, we're looking for objective quantitative measure that you're really smart in an analytical way... so really smart in a creative, but non linear thinking kind of way is great, but a person of that kind of background usually does not do well on the job (unless that happen to also by very analytical in a mathematical kind of way too).

In many cases, if your most recent job/educational experience can't be evaluated in this area, we'll go back further in your professional and academic history to find some data point that's more objective that we can compare versus others in the applicant pool.

For example, if you're an English PhD (not normally favored by the McKinsey recruiting process) from Oxford, but undergrad you went to Harvard had a 4.0 GPA in Chemistry, that would be considered favorable.

So basically, it's very important to include your numerical numbers (GPA, GMAT, GRE, etc..) on the resume/CV somewhere and preferably at or near the top (it's the first thing that gets looked at).

If you don't have a famous university name at the top along with some impressive numbers, your consulting resume /CV generally gets put at the bottom of the pile.

For APD applicants, it's important to highlight any distinctive or prestigious labs you've worked in. The golden rule of thumb of is to demonstrate "selectivity" (accomplishing things that few people are chosen for).

For more information, see my post on McKinsey & Company PhD Candidate Criteria and see McKinsey's guide to APD CV requirements.

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