Interview Advice from McKinsey New Hire

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Success Story:

I am a fresh grad who got an offer from McKinsey, and I can assure everyone that CaseInterview.com is what drove me into Big3.

I will try to provide my piece of advice for other candidates and to summarize most valuable insights from CaseInterview.com materials, and I would like to express my personal gratitude.

I would like to point out that CaseInterview.com is, without a doubt, the most useful resource for an aspiring candidate.

Here are 5 particular key moments which transformed me from a rather poor performer to a McKinsey fresh hire.

1) Pay attention to the question. And do it once again. Always keep in mind WHAT exactly you are trying to solve or find, always do a recap, always ask the interview to explain something once again if you are confused, even slightly.

I can’t stress enough the importance of solving the right problem and, vice versa, the catastrophic consequences of not doing so.

2) Be careful with numbers and organize your data. One math error can ding you right away or spoil an overall positive impression. Remember: the math is never complicated during your case interviews, it’s actually easier compared to, say, GMAT.

The problem is your stress combined with messed data. Label your numbers, think out loud, COUNT out loud, and you will be fine. I had a moment where I was about to make a slight mistake but because I was speaking out loud, the interviewer just nodded me into the right direction and hasn’t penalized me at all. If they see you’re doing it right, they’ll help you.

3) Always segment everything and compare numbers. You know your revenue and costs? So what? It’s worth nothing most of the time if you don’t know the segments. You need to find a particular problem somewhere deep inside your client’s company, and that’s impossible with just the big picture, the overview. That’s what they call a “drilldown”.

However, a number by itself is still pretty useless; just do a comparison with both competitors and client’s prior performance and voila, you have your answer.

4) Always have a hypothesis in mind. If you are doing something, you better be sure why. Lay out the whole plan, or structure, of the case in`the beginning and say what you are looking for.

It can save you 10+ minutes if done right, as in my case the interviewers were so impressed that they actually guided me straight into the problematic zone saying “yeah, that’s a great structure, why don’t we just look at the revenues then.”

5) Case performance is just 50% of success. This suggestion is absolutely last but not least in my list. Remember: CaseInterview.com will teach you everything you need to pass any round and to get an offer, when combined with proper live training. But the real cases NEVER go by script.`

Okay, the first round might be somewhat standard, but be ready to talk about music, modern art, philosophy or whatnot with a partner. Sometimes there is actually no case at all, rather just a set of what seem to be totally random questions. However, if you keep your cool and apply all the rules stated in this letter and on CaseInterview.com, you should be fine.

Finally, you should look like a consultant. Get a haircut, dress properly – first impression is based on your looks. You may solve the cases better that Victor, but if the first thing a partner thinks about is “Gosh, the client will laugh if he sees that guy,” you can just walk away at that particular moment.

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The second part of this letter is more personal. Dear Victor, I would like to personally thank you for those priceless articles and pieces of advice. My life totally changed during the last couple of years, and your material was one the vital parts of success.

Two years ago I was pretty much nothing. Silly job, weak bachelor, low GPA. One day I decided that I will change everything, and, luckily, I had some willpower as I understand now. I managed to get into the best master’s degree program in my country, pass the GMAT, land an internship at P&G after my first year.

That was the time when I understood I can do everything if I try hard enough; and, at the same time, I was invited to a McKinsey business dinner. I didn’t know what consulting is half a year ago, no kidding.

After the dinner I set a new target: get a McKinsey offer (1% chance here in my country even for a top school grad). That’s how I came across your site.I had only six months or so to learn what other people learn for years.

I’ve decided to work extra hard, just as you did back when you were about to apply for a job. Every single day I’ve been practicing the cases, solving 100+ in the end; wherever I was going, I was doing it with your voice in my headphones. Truth is, your voice was somewhere in my head even during the final round at McK.

Moreover, I’ve managed to win one of the most prestigious business games’ national finals and place second in the world finals, first time for my country. The secret was: I’ve been making issue trees and solving the problem, rather than just throwing tons of ideas upfront.

Finally, I am sitting in my chair and writing you this letter. I’ve achieved everything I wanted so far and that’s just the beginning.

Happy as never, I am looking at the wall in front of me; there are some pictures, pictures of those who inspire me every time I look at them.You could see William Shatner, Sean Connery, Paul Newman and Bas Rutten there.

There is one new and fresh photo nearby; that’s you, Victor.

Thank you very much! My dream is to solve a case with you. Maybe some day it will come true.

Additional Resources

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1 comment… add one
  • M Oct 1, 2014, 4:30 pm

    Wow. I’m truly happy for BOTH of you, and wish you both the very best to come. Thank you writer, and thank you ever so much Victor.

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