Prep Tips from McKinsey F1Y

by Victor Cheng

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This F1Y's report of the preparation needed to secure a McKinsey offer should be useful to you.

Success Story:

I hope this finds you well.

As cliche as this may now sound to you, I've been waiting to write this email to you for a while now!

Keeping in line with your synthesis style, here's my conclusion first: I just got an offer from McKinsey!

I want to genuinely thank you for all the effort you put into making the best case interview prep resources available and accessible to the world. The second I saw your website, I knew I would rely on you exclusively as my sole source for preparation.

I wanted to get into consulting right out of undergrad 2 years ago, but because I had very little internship experience and went to a non-target school, I had difficulty getting responses from any of the 30+ firms I applied to - except [a top 5 firm], where I did great on 2 interviews and bombed on the 3rd. So consulting wasn't an option right out of undergrad.

I've taken another job since, and applied again to MBB's offices 3 months ago. McKinsey invited me to begin their process but Bain & BCG both responded with polite, generic emails saying my application wasn't considered.

In hindsight, after learning from you, I now know this happened for 2 reasons: 1. I didn't write unique, custom-tailored or even interesting cover letters (seriously, if I had to read hundreds, I'd skip mine after the 5th word) 2. I didn't network with anyone from those two firms. Wow I just numbered a list automatically. Ha! Your techniques stick!

A bit about my preparation process for McKinsey:

1. CaseInterview.com - the motivational stories showed me that anything was in reach and possible, and helped give me an in-depth understanding of the consulting industry.

2. I read your book Case Interview Secrets - excellent detail and structure on case interviews and the process in general.

3. Your CIB mailing list - extremely helpful!!! Right up until the day of my final round interviews, I was scouring every word you typed and it made a huge difference in helping me understand nuances that were so big in magnitude - to help give me that extra 10%.

4. LOMS - I listened to it twice, but honestly did not go through it in the most active way you suggested. It definitely still helped me structuring my thinking and the cases themselves were interesting.

5. I read around 80 cases from MBA consulting clubs (spending about 10 minutes on average per case) to help broaden my mind about different industries and possible problems & solutions.

6. I had 3 live practice sessions with a McKinsey consultant at the office I applied to which greatly helped & I got to understand a bit more about the Firm's culture. Those were the only live cases I had the chance to do so I maximized my focus on them and took detailed notes on what I did well and what I could improve on. I studied those almost daily to make sure I prepared sufficiently to overcome them and repeat my strong points.

7. After my first round interviews, I was told to focus more on my math (I was a bit slow and made some small, but still unacceptable mistakes) so over the course of 3 weeks, I practiced math on CaseInterviewMath.com by doing about 6 tests a day. I started off at 94% accuracy and 7 questions/minute then maxed out at your record of 100% and 18 questions/minute. This DEFINITELY helped me do math accurately and simulated the stress I felt during the interviews.

8. I wrote a 1-page summary of all the key points to hit during a case, including my adaptation of your business situation framework (adding 2 factors: Macro Trends and Risks) and my 3 key stories which worked well for the personal part of the interviews.

9. I relaxed, was myself, smiled a lot & showed enough confidence that they would want to see, but not enough to make me seem arrogant.

10. I ENJOYED the cases - seriously, with every interview I did, I loved the case interview process more and more and that got me more hyped about the job. Three out of my 5 interviews ended early and I got the chance to ask questions to understand the Firm more. My enthusiasm showed in the final round when I sat down with the partners and I luckily got the offer.

Thank you, Victor.

This is a dream come true & your materials truly work their magic!

Additional Resources

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