Landing a dream management consulting job at any of the big-name firms, such as AT Kearney, Bain, BCG or McKinsey, is an exercise akin to a job itself (firms count on applicants perseverance as a part of judging the candidates dedication and drive). Nowhere is this tenacity more important than in applying for a consulting role at McKinsey, widely seen as the worlds top management consulting firm. McKinsey has its pick of the best of the best in terms of hiring new talent, so your best strategy is to go in armed with knowledge, information and preparation. Your interview and hiring process at McKinsey is going to be different from, for example, the process at Booz. You need to be prepared for the differences to make a successful run at getting hired.
McKinsey is known for their infamous case study interviews. You will want to start preparing for case study interview questions as early as possible. These questions are definitely a way for the firm to test your analytical and problem solving capabilities while under the pressure cooker. Being prepared in advanced is of the utmost importance.
To prepare for case study questions invest in some case prep guides, industry journals, and then practice, practice, practice. Also do plenty of mental math exercises. You will need to be able to compute numbers in your head rapidly when answering the case study interview questions.
A key to landing a job at McKinsey is performing due diligence on the firm itself. You will want to have an in-depth understanding of the company culture, methodologies, history, industrial expertise, and major achievements. As previously mentioned, each top management consulting firm has its own way of doing things. The McKinsey Way is something you will need to know about in great detail.
To learn about the company, leverage the companys website, industry publications, existing and past consultants, and McKinsey recruiting/information sessions. McKinsey has one of the best websites that provides excellent content for interested consultants. You will need to possess a comprehensive and nearly intrinsic knowledge of the company and its details. That will make the interview seem much more natural as the information about the company flows freely because you have an in-depth understanding.
To land a job at McKinsey you also want to develop you dialogue stating why you are a great fit for McKinsey and vice versa. That means knowing a lot about the firm, and being in tune with the personal attributes, skill set, and goals you possess as well. Early on in the process, you should focus on developing these stories, and continue to refine them by telling perfected variations of them. Finding out more about the company may change your perspective somewhat.
McKinsey places a premium on fit. That means you need to analyze your professional career, education, and personal life experiences through the lens of what McKinsey looks for in management consultants. Being armed with this information, and being able to articulate it, is valuable to your success in the fit interview process.
Having the right skill set comes in handy for getting the job as well as being able to do well on the job once you get it. McKinsey associates are excellent at Excel modeling. By no means do you have to be as proficient as they do, but that should be your goal. You will want to invest in some Excel learning materials or even take a training course so you can flex your Excel muscle during the interview process – or at least speak to it in an interview. Develop all the core skills you will need to perform the job and make them a part of your repertoire!
Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to landing your dream job at McKinsey as a management consulting professional.
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