The text below provides a full candidate recruitment, assessment and preparation guide and practice for those applying to jobs, internships and graduate programs at McKinsey.
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If you are aiming to apply to McKinsey or have a McKinsey test coming up, our text below is the best place to start.
Not sure if you should practice to prepare for McKinsey assessments? Many large employers are leveraging gamified assessments as part of their recruitment processes (Institute of Student employers, 2018). A few of these major companies include Unilever, HSBC and RBS.
Applicants report higher levels of process satisfaction, perceived fairness and organizational attractiveness when the gamified assessment method are used compared to the traditional version (K. Georgiou & I. Nikolaou, 2020)
McKinsey Application Process Glossary
McKinsey recruitment process in a nutshell:
How to prepare for McKinsey assessment tests, PST, PSG, digital and get the job?
Here are our Key McKinsey Application Tips:
If your application to McKinsey gets shortlisted, you will be required to complete a game assessment, commonly known as the Problem-Solving Game developed by Imbellus as the second stage of your McKinsey & Company recruitment process.
For many years McKinsey has used the PST (Problem Solving Test) in their recruitment process. As of 2023 the PST has been gradually replaced across the globe by a McKinsey Problem Solving Game (PSG).
The first round of interviews with McKinsey may be conducted through telephone or video conferencing. However, the second interview will be conducted in a local McKinsey & Company office.
How to crack the McKinsey & Company Interview?
Here are a few pointers that will help you ace your McKinsey Interviews.
So, stay put and read on to know the answers to the most critical questions such as:
Throughout the course of this text, you will get answers to many more questions as well.
So, without further ado let’s get going!
Why do you need to practice for the McKinsey Assessment process?
According to research, only 20-30% of the candidates pass the McKinsey & company Aptitude tests, and only 1% of the 200,000 applicants receive an offer. It is proven that practice increases your chances of getting hired.
A recent study (Bradley et al, 2019) found that candidates who do not practise assessments, tend to fail at the first hurdle of psychometric assessments (54%-84%). This study looked at the Top 100 global employers.
How does GF help you to get a job with a leading management consultancy such as McKinsey?
GF offers a range of assessment tools such as aptitude tests, personality tests, video interviewing tool, question identifier tool, etc. Down below, you can see the various tests that you may come across in one way or the other in your McKinsey Assessment Process.
We will take care of all your requirements of practice tools for your coming McKinsey Assessments, but first let’s take a look at the table of contents.
Before we dive into the McKinsey interview process, let’s find out a little bit about the company first!
McKinsey & Company is a leading worldwide management consulting firm. It conducts qualitative and quantitative analysis in order to evaluate management decisions across the public and private sectors. McKinsey employs over 14,000 staff in 110 offices scattered all across the globe.
Since McKinsey is regarded as a top organisation for careers in management consulting, competition for each spot is fierce. This is why you need to perform your best at each stage of the recruitment process.
What job roles can you apply for at McKinsey & Company?
There are several roles that you can apply for at McKinsey & Company:
Now, let’s go into further detail of all the stages of McKinsey Recruitment Process
McKinsey & Company recruitment and assessment process consists of three stages:
The McKinsey Online Application is your first step of the McKinsey & Company assessment process. Your McKinsey Online Application form is your first opportunity to impress your employer, so make it count!
What should I include in my McKinsey Online Application?
The online application requires you to fill in the basic details such as:
Below are some questions that you need to answer while applying at McKinsey & Company.
How to improve your McKinsey & Company Online Application
To improve your McKinsey & Company Online Application it is crucial to have the following prepared.
When it comes to submitting your completed application, earlier is always better – often candidates are assessed on a rolling basis, so submitting early increases your chances. Always double-check the application form for any mistakes before submission.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you have a copy of all the information you have provided. You may be asked for details during the interview.
Know your CV inside out. If the information in your application and information shared during the call are different, your application may be disregarded for future processing.
In order to get selected at McKinsey & Company, you need to build a strong resume that stands out, because that’s what is going to sell you in the end. But how are we going to do that?
We’ve got you covered with our tips below!
6 Key Tips to get your resume shortlisted at McKinsey
To get your resume shortlisted at McKinsey, keep in mind the following tips.
Important: Your McKinsey application, i.e., your CV/ Resume is the first and primary evidence of your written communication skills, so present it in a thoughtful and compelling manner.
For more tips and tricks on how to write an eye-catching resume or CV for McKinsey, visit our website, or watch the video below:
So, with that we come to an end of the McKinsey & Company application process. Let’s move on to the next stage of the McKinsey Assessment process, which is the McKinsey Problem Solving Game.
What is the McKinsey Problem-Solving Game?
The McKinsey Problem-Solving Game is a game-based assessment developed by a company called Imbellus, which uses puzzle and strategy games with highly complex mechanisms, overwhelming data and uncertainties.
These McKinsey tests assist the recruiter with making unbiased decisions, as the traditional Problem-Solving Tests (PSTs) had more reasoning questions which were an added advantage for the candidates who were familiar with the standardized tests such as GMAT, GRE, SAT, etc.
How long is the McKinsey Problem Solving Game?
The McKinsey test takes around 60-80 minutes depending on scenarios included, which may vary per candidate. You will have 71 minutes on an average to complete the McKinsey digital assessment.
The PSG intends to measure the consultancy traits and qualifications of the candidates. These traits and qualifications are then compared to a real consultant in the company. If the traits are similar or better than those of the consultant, the candidate qualifies the PSG.
How does it measure these? We’ll cover this after the breakdown of the McKinsey PSG assessments.
Problem-Solving Game Scenario for Candidates
The McKinsey PSG will propose 2 of the 5 scenarios. You will have to solve each of the problems within these scenarios. Before you begin, you will have an untimed tutorial for each game. Make sure to read all instructions carefully!
The 5 game scenarios include:
Let’s get into a little detail on each of these PSG Scenarios.
Key tip for the McKinsey & Company Ecosystem Balance Game: Remember you have to take into account the terrain requirements of each species. For example, how much oxygen, calories, temperature, etc. is suitable for a particular species. Therefore, there is going to be a lot of data to deal with.
Below is a picture from the PSG Ecosystem Balance Game window, from which you can get an idea of what kind of information you are going to deal with.
3 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Plant Defence game 1. Use contingency planning to prepare for future invaders during later turns and adapt your strategies as the game progresses.2. Make multiple layers of defenders, wherein you put your resources closer to the plant first. 3. Use the inside-out approach to place defences closer to the plant. This method takes less resources.
3 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Plant Defence game
1. Use contingency planning to prepare for future invaders during later turns and adapt your strategies as the game progresses.2. Make multiple layers of defenders, wherein you put your resources closer to the plant first. 3. Use the inside-out approach to place defences closer to the plant. This method takes less resources.
Take a look at the picture below to understand the game better.
3 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Disaster Management game1. In this game you can diagnose the problem by making an issue tree. 2. Search for data to create a hypothesis and then test that hypothesis by mining all the data available in the game. 3. Ruling out specs similar to the disaster remains your second step. However, the remaining work can be done by using a spreadsheet where you list all the terrain requirements of the species.
3 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Disaster Management game
1. In this game you can diagnose the problem by making an issue tree. 2. Search for data to create a hypothesis and then test that hypothesis by mining all the data available in the game. 3. Ruling out specs similar to the disaster remains your second step. However, the remaining work can be done by using a spreadsheet where you list all the terrain requirements of the species.
2 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Disease Management mini-game 1. First, this is again a problem-diagnosis game and thus an issue tree will prove to be helpful2. Skim through the disease snapshots, (time 1, time 2 and time 3) to predict the next individual to get infected.
2 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Disease Management mini-game
1. First, this is again a problem-diagnosis game and thus an issue tree will prove to be helpful2. Skim through the disease snapshots, (time 1, time 2 and time 3) to predict the next individual to get infected.
3 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Migration Management game1. Plan the best route for each turn that sustains the greatest number of resources and animals. Adapt your strategy based on the multipliers and changes to the number of resources and animals.2. Refine your numerical reasoning skills to determine how many animals and resources you will have in advance of each turn. Use a calculator, a pen and some paper to make notes and calculations where needed.3. Collect additional resources and animals along the most favourable routes. Rule out incompatible routes using your notes to find the optimal path.
3 key tips to crack the McKinsey & Company PSG Migration Management game
1. Plan the best route for each turn that sustains the greatest number of resources and animals. Adapt your strategy based on the multipliers and changes to the number of resources and animals.2. Refine your numerical reasoning skills to determine how many animals and resources you will have in advance of each turn. Use a calculator, a pen and some paper to make notes and calculations where needed.3. Collect additional resources and animals along the most favourable routes. Rule out incompatible routes using your notes to find the optimal path.
What does the McKinsey Problem Solving Game measure?
The McKinsey Problem Solving Test also aimed at measuring these skills, but it is being gradually replaced country-by-country by the McKinsey PSG (Problem Solving Game).
Why did McKinsey replace PST (Problem Solving Tests) with PSG (Problem Solving Game)?
What is the difference between McKinsey PST and PSG assessments?
As you can understand that the PSG will consist of overwhelming data, and you will be required to skim through that immense amount of data to find the meaningful information.
Thus, it is important that you prepare to process such a wide range of information. Other than that, there are some important pointers that will help you stay at ease while taking the PSG Assessment. What are these? Let us discuss.
6 key Tips to pass the McKinsey Problem-Solving Game
How can I practice for the McKinsey Problem Solving Games?
First, find out which types of game you could be playing. By knowing the main scenarios and demands of each game, you will feel more confident and familiar with the game, and therefore better able to focus on tasks.
We offer several practice games that can help you get familiar with how McKinsey’s PSG games assess your skills:
GF Practice Game Assessments
If you want to know more about game-based assessments such as how they’re used and what they assess, watch the video below:
How to pass the McKinsey PSG?
There are 3 key factors that you can do beforehand to increase your chance at success at digital assessments.
Discover a better understanding of solving data-based problems in game assessments used by McKinsey with our video below:
If you are successful with your McKinsey and Company PSG game assessments then you will move to the McKinsey & Company Interviews.
How long is the McKinsey interview process?
The McKinsey interviews collectively consist of 4-8 interviews, divided into two rounds. Each round of interviews has 2-4 interviews.
What is the McKinsey First Round interview?
The McKinsey First round interviews consist of 45-minute one-on-one interviews with Associates and Engagement Managers. These interviews may be conducted over the telephone, through Video Conferencing or face-to-face at a local McKinsey office.
Important Note: If you’re applying as an experienced hire or from a school which is not targeted by McKinsey & Company, you will have a short telephone call before the actual First round of Interview.
McKinsey’s First Round of Interviews will consist of two main parts:
Anything that you included in your CV might be discussed in the McKinsey Personal Experience interview. This is why it is so important to look through your CV and make sure that you are able to evaluate any points that you have made.
However, unlike the typical CV experience interview, the Personal Experience interview will not have a lot of questions related to your CV. The interviewer typically asks just one or two questions, and has a short 10 minute conversation with you.
Your interview will be competency-based (CBI). Be ready to discuss specific examples in which you demonstrated certain skills: determination, teamwork, leadership skills, etc.
Check out our short video below for how you can answer McKinsey interview questions:
Your McKinsey and Company interview questions will typically be around your previous projects and experiences – whether they stem from your professional, academic, private or fitness-related life experiences.
How to Prepare for my McKinsey Personal Experience Interview?
The best way to prepare for your McKinsey Interview is to practice.
For the best interview practice, use the GF video interview preparation tool. Here, you will get AI-based feedback and guidance on your emotional responses to critical competency and consulting industry questions in a video interview similar to McKinsey.
How to ace your Personal Experience Interview?
By tailoring the best response for these answers. How do we do this? Simple! Here are a few possible ways to answer some of the below example McKinsey PEI questions:
7 Common Questions asked in McKinsey Personal Experience Interview:
How to Answer why are you interested in McKinsey?
How to Answer why do you want to work in consulting?
How to Answer tell me about a time when you went above and beyond
Want to know more questions that could come up in your interview? Check out our video below:
Once you’ve impressed in your Personal Experience Interview, you’ll be invited to the McKinsey Case Interview.
The McKinsey Case Interview takes up 80% of the time of your interviewing process. Here, you will be required to demonstrate excellent problem-solving and critical thinking abilities by evaluating a business case study in front of your assessor.
Not many go beyond this stage, so you need to bring your best game to stand out. Preparation for the McKinsey Case Study exercise is key.
Before we prepare for the McKinsey Case study interview…
What is the McKinsey Case Interview?
In the McKinsey Case Interview, you will be presented with a number of case studies which are simplified versions of problems that your assessors have been through and have solved. They will tell you about a situation and then ask questions about the situation.
You will need to show how you take into account the information presented, select key factors and show your reasoning. At the end, you will need to reach a conclusion and be able to defend your decision.
What does the McKinsey Case Interview assess?
The McKinsey Case Interview aims to assess the following 4 criteria:
Important: Solving case-studies is a very particular skill that is impossible to be mastered without practice. Ensure you practice as many case studies as possible to develop a consistent method. You can also practice these with your friend as that will offer you a different point of view. Ask your friend to critically assess you.
The following tips will help ace your McKinsey Case Interview!
4 Tips to practice and ace your McKinsey Case Interview
This interview is very similar to case-study exercises many employers use during their assessment centres. Get ahead with your McKinsey case study practice using our assessment center package.
McKinsey seeks candidates with excellent written and spoken communication skills. To ensure you stay ahead of your fellow candidates and stand out for your McKinsey Case Interview, refine your English communication skills with GF’s Spelling and Grammar tests and Word Checking tests.
Congratulations – you are almost there. The Final Interview is the last stage of the McKinsey application process. You just need to focus on a few more things.
For your Final McKinsey interview, do as much extensive research as you can about McKinsey and its corporate culture. You need to have a high level of understanding of McKinsey’s mission statement, any relevant recent big news and its future developments. Think about the industry as a whole too – do you see any structural changes that you could talk about?
Our Top 4 Tips to ace your McKinsey & Company Final Interview:
Practice for your McKinsey Interview using our Video Interviewing platform which is tailored to provide you personalised feedback to your responses to consultancy interview questions to improve your interview technique.
What questions will I face at my McKinsey interview?
What consultancy interview questions might McKinsey ask? Here’s 5 example McKinsey interview questions that you can use to practice:
Be aware, you may also be asked technical questions depending on the role you applied for!
McKinsey Interview Key Tip: Remember to structure your answers using the STAR method!
What questions can I ask in my McKinsey interview?
The Final Interview at McKinsey and Company is also your opportunity to find out more about the company and the team you might be working with. They want to see your genuine interest to work for McKinsey, rather than someone who comes across as just another ‘job seeker’.
A great way to show your genuine motivation and enthusiasm to work for the company is by asking thought-provoking questions to your interviewer. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their personal experiences with the company, as well as their career path.
Watch this short video below to discover our 5 best questions to ask during your McKinsey interview:
If you’ve followed all our amazing tips and aced your McKinsey interview, you’ll soon receive an offer. Congratulations!
Before you go…
Although there is plenty of space for experienced professionals at McKinsey, there are plenty of entry level opportunities for students and graduates too.
Let’s take a look at some of the Internship opportunities that McKinsey & Company offers.
McKinsey & Company offers student programs for students from all backgrounds and entry levels. Whether you’re a fresh graduate, student in your second or third year of college and or an undergraduate student, McKinsey has many opportunities for you to get a head start.
Let’s see some opportunities McKinsey has in store for you.
What will you gain?
The MBA program prepares you as a problem solver. These MBA graduates join as associates at first and work either as generalist or practice consultants in any area of their choice and later join the McKinsey analytics, digital or tech teams.
What is the Application process for McKinsey Student Programs
The recruitment process for McKinsey Student Programs is given below:
Look for more info on McKinsey Student Programs by visiting the McKinsey Student Careers website.
So, this was all about the McKinsey & Company recruitment process. With our comprehensive guide you are well on your way to success on your application journey.
Still have questions? We have answers to your key questions in our FAQs section below!
The McKinsey Problem Solving Game takes on average around 60-80 mins to complete with an untimed tutorial, depending on which 2 of 5 scenarios you are tasked with completing.
The McKinsey recruitment process usually takes around 5-8 weeks to complete from the application form to the final interviews. This may depend on the: number of applicants, location and entry level
McKinsey does not accept re-application up to 2 years after your initial screening. Therefore it’s important to impress in your application first time.
The McKinsey internship lasts for 10 weeks in summer. The applications for summer internship start at least 7 months prior to the commencement of the internship.
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