McKinsey Interview Guide

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Text of McKinsey Interview Guide

Interview Experiencesby

Abhishek Poddar Prateek Singhal V. Bhanu Chandra IIT Kanpur - Class of 2007

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Table of Contents

How to use this Guide ........................................................................................................... 3 History..................................................................................................................................... 4 Organization ........................................................................................................................... 6 Recruiting................................................................................................................................. 8 McKinsey Interview an Insight .......................................................................................... 10 Basic Dos and Donts ........................................................................................................ 13 Standard Resume Format ................................................................................................... 18 Sample Interview Questions ............................................................................................... 21 Chronicle of our Interviews .................................................................................................. 23 Endnote ................................................................................................................................ 43

Interview Guide

McKinsey & Company

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Acknowledgements No words can express our gratitude to Pranjal Jain and Mukul Tuli from McKinsey&Company who spent a ton of time getting our resumes right and ensuringthatwearewellpreparedforthecaseinterviews,personalquestions,job related questions, etc. The Y3 batch truly appreciates your efforts. We would also like to thank everyone at the Student Placement Office (SPO), especially Jayasree ChatterjeeMam,fortheirconstanteffortstogetusstartedforagreatcareerahead. Last but not least we would like to thank all our seniors who have helped us at numerous points in time during the last four year addressing our concerns right from the counselling to taking the right courses and closer to placements making sureweputourbestfootintheinterviewroom. This is the first edition of the guide and the Y3 batch students would like the traditiontobecarriedforwardbythefuturebatchesandmakethecomingeditions ofthispublicationarichsourceofinformationforallconsultingaspirants.

Interview Guide

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How to use this Guide This guide is more about What to Prepare? rather than How to Prepare? The latter question, we believe, is for an individual to decide. As this guide is being written at the point of time when only one of the consulting company (McKinsey&Company) come, you may feel that that this guide would be only helpful for those aiming at McKinsey. But we would like to clear that all the top management consulting companies like BCG and Bain have a similar pattern of selectionandhavesimilarcasestudiesintheirinterviews. The purpose of this interview guide is to give you a head start for the consulting interviewspreparation.Wehavelistedmostofthecasesthatwewereaskedduring theinterviewshere.Someofthecaseshavesuggestedapproaches.Pleasetreatthese approaches as only representative. There are no right answers as far as cases are concerned. It is very much possible that you might think of different, more comprehensiveorevenbetterwaysofsolvingthecasesthatwewereasked. Therearealsoseveralcaseguidesofotheruniversitiesavailableinelectronicform.It isadvisabletoreadthoseprofessionalguidespriortogoingthroughwhatwehave written. The professional guides will help in getting started as they are very structured. Thatsallthefundathatwecangive.Havefunwiththepreparation.

Interview Guide

McKinsey & Company

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History McKinsey & Company is a privately owned management consulting firm that focusesonsolvingissuesofconcerntoseniormanagementinlargecorporationsand organizations. McKinseys top strategy consulting competitors include The Boston ConsultingGroup,Bain&Co.,andBoozAllenHamilton.Othercompetitorsinclude A.T.Kearney,MonitorGroup,DeloitteConsulting,AccentureandIBM. Known internally as The Firm, James O. McKinsey & Company was founded in Chicago during 1926 by James O. (Mac) McKinsey. McKinsey was a professor at theUniversityofChicagowhopioneeredbudgetingasamanagementtool.Marshall Fields became a client in 1935, and soon convinced James McKinsey to leave the firmandbecomeitsCEO;however,hediedunexpectedlyin1937. MarvinBower,whojoinedthefirmin1933andsucceededJamesMcKinseywhenhe left,oversawthefirmsrisetoglobalprominence.WhenMcKinseydied,theChicago andNewYorkbranchesofthefirmsplitup.In1939,withthehelpoftheNewYork partners, Bower resurrected the New York office and named it McKinsey & Company. While he always gave James McKinsey credit for the firms success, Bowerestablishedmanyofitsguidingprinciples.Inspiredbyhisexperienceatthe lawfirmofJonesDay,hebelievedthatmanagementconsultingshouldsubscribeto thehigheststandards,emphasizingprofessionalismoveranyotherconsideration.

Interview Guide

McKinsey & Company

5 Formanyyears,McKinseywastheunchallengedleaderinconsulting,andmanyof itsalumniwentontoheadleadingcompanies,oftentheirformerclients,generating further business for the firm. It now maintains offices on all continents (except Antarctica) and in most majorcities; in the last few years, the majority of its work hasderivedfromnonU.S.clients. McKinsey claims its growth to date has been based less on an explicit growth strategythanonmeetingapparentclientneeds.Itsaysthatitwillnottakeonclient workunlessdoingsowillcreatevaluefortheclient. In 2003, McKinsey made headlines when it hired Chelsea Clinton, daughter of formerU.S.PresidentBillClintonandSenatorHillaryRodhamClinton. Former McKinsey consultants overwhelmingly speak of their experience at McKinsey in favorable terms. International renowned publications acknowledge McKinseys qualities: Newsweek called McKinsey the by far the most influential consulting firm in the world. The Financial Times stated McKinsey is the worlds leading management consultancy. The Economist magazine, on the other hand, alwaysreferstoMcKinseyasamanagementconsultancy.

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McKinsey & Company

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Organization

McKinseyisformallyorganizedasacorporation,butfunctionsasapartnershipin all important respects. (It dropped the Inc. from its company name in 2001.) Its managing director is elected for a limited term of three years by the firms senior shareholders,titleddirectors.Eachmanagingdirectorcanonlyserveforthreeterms. Several committees develop policies and make critical decisions. Geographically based offices act as the main organizing cells, but the Firm maintains cross geographical practices around industry sectors and management areas. Associates areinvitedtojointhepartnershipthroughanevaluationandelectionprocess,and shareholderswhoreachacertainageareobligedtosellbacktheirsharesaccording toasetformula. McKinsey operates under a practice of up or out, in which consultants must advance in their consulting careers within a time frame, or else are asked to leave thecompany. Today McKinsey has over 7,500 consultants in 84 offices across 45 countries. They help solve strategic, organizational, operational and technological problems, for some of the worlds largest organizations. Clients include three of the worlds five largest companies, twothirds of the Fortune 1000, governments and other non profit institutions. McKinsey also performs pro bono engagements for a number of charitableorganizationsandgovernmentagenciesworldwide.

Interview Guide

McKinsey & Company

7 AcontroversialaspectofMcKinseyspracticeisthatitisnonexclusive,andthusa conflictofinterestcouldariseasdifferentteamsofconsultantsmightworkfordirect competitors in an industry. This works to the companys advantage, as it does not require it to rule out working for potential clients; furthermore, knowing that a competitorhashiredMcKinseyhashistoricallybeenastrongimpetusforcompanies toseekMcKinseysassistancethemselves.ThepolicyalsomeansMcKinseycankeep its list of clients confidential. However, because of this there is great emphasis placed on client confidentiality within the firm, and consultants are forbidden to discussdetailsoftheirworkwithmembersofotherteams. Traditionally, McKinsey has only revealed involvement with a client either as a result of legal action, or when the company itself has publicly stated it, which the Firmdiscourages.

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Recruiting MarvinBowerbrokewithindustrypracticeinhistimebyfocusinghiringeffortson recent graduates from the best business schools, rather than among experienced managers.Thepremiseforthiswasthatanalyticalrigorandfreshinsightswereof greater value to clients than conventional wisdom. McKinsey has been known to makerareexceptionstothispolicybyhiringseniorstafffromindustry(JohnSawhill beinganotedexample). McKinsey is one of the most soughtafter destinations for graduates of top MBA programs, having been rated #1 in the Universum survey of most desirable employers for the past nine years (refer to http://money.cnn.com/magazines/ fortune/mba100/index.html). The firm is the largest single recruiter at the worlds topbusinessschools.ItisalsothelargestprivatenonlawrecruiteratHarvardLaw School and employs more Rhodes Scholars than any organization outside of the StateDepartment. Recently,McKinseyhasdiversifieditsrecruitingbasebysolicitingcandidatesfrom graduate programs in law, medicine, engineering, science, and the liberal arts as wellasbyrecruitingexperiencedhiresfromavarietyofprofessionalbackgrounds