This McKinsey F1Y's story reminds us how important practice and prep work are in securing an offer.
I wanted to shoot you an email to let you know that I just received an offer for an Associate position with McKinsey. It was the culmination of nearly three months of near-constant preparation, not only to get comfortable with case interviews, but also to prepare my "fit" stories and to scrape the rust off my math skills. I used your LOMS program and your PST prep resources throughout the process, and found both of them EXTREMELY helpful.
I really enjoyed LOMS and listened to it religiously in the car on my way into class and work. I probably listened to each case 3-4 times total, and found that the more I listened, particularly to the exemplars, the better I became at articulating my thoughts during the cases. In fact, the feedback I received after getting the offer was that I had "nailed" the cases.
I am an MA candidate from a top-ranked international relations/public policy school and am thus from a fairly non-traditional background (in that even among the APD candidates at McKinsey, most seemed to be JDs, MDs, or PhDs).
A few other students from my school are also pursuing consulting--although its quite rare, as most want to work in government or policy--and I would say that the key difference between the students that have received offers and those that did not go far in the process is PREPARATION. One word.
The students that treated these interviews like normal interviews (a few days of preparation, let's say), were almost all rejected by 2nd round. The others, who prepared for at least a month, if not more, almost all made it to the final round or secured an offer.
I probably did over 100 live cases to prepare. It was hard at the time, especially when I didn't have an offer yet, but I noticed that by the time I had done about 75 cases, I was a machine. It had become a learned skill, a habit of sorts.
My overall advice to aspiring consultants is to prepare like it's your job, and to put school on the back burner for a few months while you prepare. "Keep your eyes on the prize" was my motto when I was tempted to focus on anything other than interview preparation. I won't care if I got a B+ in a class in a year, but I will care if I have an offer from McKinsey.
Anyways, wanted to drop you a line to say thank you from a soon-to-be consulting first year. It really is a dream come true.