Management Consulting company McKinsey was founded in 1926 and is the oldest and largest of the three big strategy consulting firms in the world.
With over 30 000 employees worldwide, its teams offer strategy consulting in multiple functions such as people and organisational performance, digital, sustainability, and risk and resilience. McKinsey operates across 22 industries such as financial services, agriculture, aerospace and defence, education, and oil and real estate. With a presence in over 65 countries, the firm's strategy consulting specialisms enable growth and transformation for every type of organisation globally.
As a firm, McKinsey focuses on sustainable growth, diversity, and inclusion within its business and driving this in society in general. The firm prides itself on investing in research and development of diversity, inclusion, and equality alongside the strategy services it provides its clients in this area.
McKinsey is a values-driven organisation. Acting responsibly in society and environmentally is reflected in the firm's values and code of professional conduct, behaviours that McKinsey's employees are expected to follow when working with both their clients and one another.
McKinsey Application Process
Competition for places at McKinsey is fierce. Understanding the recruitment process and what is expected of you at each stage is essential if you are to succeed in gaining a place at this prestigious firm.
The McKinsey recruitment process comprises five different stages:
- Online application
- HR screening interview
- McKinsey problem-solving test
- Case interview
- Fit interview
Each stage of the process assesses a different aptitude or behaviour to assess whether candidates demonstrate the skills and qualities shared by McKinsey's employees.
The first stage of the application process is the application form. Candidates need to complete the basic information such as their contact details. The application form also requests information on academic achievements and full employment history, including a description of the type of work. In addition, candidates can detail extracurricular activities such as voluntary work or sporting accomplishments.
There is a strict application window for undergraduate and graduate vacancies. Applications are taken from the beginning of September to the middle of October, with the exact deadline for applications detailed on the McKinsey website. When applying, candidates can stipulate up to four practices or locations on their application. Those applying for experienced hire vacancies may do so all year round in line with McKinsey's five application intake windows as detailed on the McKinsey website.
For UK vacancies, candidates do not need to complete a covering letter in addition to completing the application form.
HR Screening Interview
Those successful at the application stage are invited to attend an initial screening interview. This interview will be with a representative from the HR team and is designed to review the information detailed in the application form and determine whether candidates demonstrate the competencies required for a role at McKinsey.
Candidates are asked to provide examples using their previous experiences demonstrating their skills and behaviours as relevant to those required to work at McKinsey. These include problem-solving, entrepreneurial drive, inclusive leadership, and personal impact.
It is beneficial to use the STAR (situation, task, action, result) framework when sharing examples. The HR interview enables recruiters to evaluate a candidate's skills beyond those detailed in the CV to better understand how they demonstrate the qualities needed to succeed at McKinsey.
Candidates who stand out at the HR interview stage will sit the McKinsey problem-solving test.
What Is The McKinsey Problem Solving Test?
McKinsey Test is an online gamified assessment that evaluates a candidate's ability and approach to solving issues. Candidates are led through a set of different tasks that enable them to demonstrate their problem-solving abilities. Each task within the game is scenario-based, using situations or client cases that you will likely face when working in a role at McKinsey.
Understanding basic mathematical concepts such as percentages or ratios is needed when dealing with numerical information. Verbal reasoning skills will be required when analysing text-based passages of information.
Alongside this, logical reasoning and critical thinking skills are needed when evaluating the information given and determining the possible solutions before arriving at the outcome you believe to be the best.
The problem-solving test takes 60 minutes, so working well under pressure and remaining calm is essential when completing the assessment.
The case interview simulates a client situation and is designed to evaluate a candidates' problem-solving skills and how they approach business-related situations they will face as part of their role.
The case interview generally takes between 25 - 30 minutes. Candidates are presented with a case (client problem) and given time to prepare their response to the situation before discussing this with the interviewer. The case interview looks at how well you solve problems, deal with numerical information, approach the situation, and how well you can communicate your thinking and approach to solving the case.
The interview is interactive and takes the form of a discussion. The interviewer will ask questions to clarify their understanding; it is expected that you, as the interviewee, will also ask any questions you need throughout the interview if you need to clarify any points further.
The final interview in the McKinsey recruitment process is the fit interview.
This interview varies in length and involves getting to know you as a person, your skills, abilities, and achievements. Competency-based questions may be asked where you are required to share examples using your previous experiences and reflections on what you have learned from these experiences.
The interviewer will also want to understand why you want to work at McKinsey, your motivations for working in the industry and assess your commercial awareness.
Questions will be asked to determine whether you demonstrate the values and attributes shared by McKinsey employees, so reviewing the McKinsey website and having examples prepared on these are essential.
Candidates interviewing for technical positions may also be asked questions about their technical understanding or context behind any technical work they have previously completed. When answering these questions It is important to outline any challenges faced and what you have learned from these experiences. Keep in mind McKinsey's values and the behaviours their employees share when answering questions in this interview demonstrate your fit for the role and proficiency in the problem-solving and entrepreneurial drive.