The McKinsey Interview Process – What to Expect

The general interview process for university graduates at McKinsey typically involves several rounds of interviews. The process can vary depending on the office and practice area, but typically includes the following elements.

  • Resume and Cover Letter Review: The first step of the interview process is to submit your resume and cover letter. McKinsey’s recruiters will review your application and decide whether to move forward with the interview process.
  • Initial Screening Interview: This is usually a 30-minute phone interview with a McKinsey recruiter. The recruiter will ask you questions about your background and qualifications, as well as why you’re interested in McKinsey. The initial screening interview is often used if McKinsey is not yet absolutely certain whether or not a canidate could match its requirements, before investing more time (especially consultants time) in the interview process.
  • First Round Interview: This interview consists of the following main sub-components.
    • General Personal Fit Interview: Before starting with the core parts of the interview (PEI + case interview), your interviewers typically want to understand more about you as a person, as well as about your background. Be ready to give interviewers a solid, structured overview about yourself and how you fit into the consulting industry.
    • Personal Experience Interview (PEI): The PEI is a behavioral interview where you will be asked questions about your past experiences and how you have demonstrated leadership and personal impact.
    • Case Interview: This is a key component of the interview process at McKinsey. It is designed to assess your problem-solving skills and how you approach business challenges. During the case interview, you will be given a business case and asked to analyze and solve the problem presented.
    • Your own questions: During this stage you might have a couple of minutes at the end of your interview to ask your own questions. A hiring decision must fit for both parties – so make sure you ask relevant question to assess if McKinsey is the right firm to work for yourself.
  • Final Round Interview: If you are successful in the previous rounds, you will be invited to a final round interview. This is an opportunity for you to meet with McKinsey partners and practice leaders. Depending on how the previous interviews were going, you might face a very similar procedure as during first round interviews, or have a very targeted interview focusing on either the Personal Experience Interview or Case Interview.
  • Offer: If you are successful in the final round, McKinsey will make you an offer to join the firm as a consultant.

It’s important to note that the interview process can vary depending on the office and practice area, but these steps give you a general understanding of what to expect.

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What we typically do together during our coaching:

  • Choose the best stories out of all your experiences and match them with the McKinsey PEI dimensions
  • Define and structure the overall storyline of your primary and secondary stories
  • Crystallize the core challenges to highlight in your Personal Experience Interview (by the way, this is the core part of your evaluation)
  • Fine-tune the communication of your story to McKinsey expectations
  • Running mock interviews to get a real-life experience of your PEI

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