Interviewing

We want you to succeed

What we look for

While there’s no exact template for success at McKinsey, our people share some qualities that help make us successful–and that make working here fun.

Personal Impact

Working with clients on their toughest issues requires the involvement and support of many individuals. Interacting effectively with people, sometimes in challenging situations, is key to creating positive, enduring change.

Entrepreneurial Drive

Overcoming obstacles and achieving goals requires an innovative mindset, an openness to new approaches, and a continuous quest for learning and growth.

Inclusive Leadership

Harnessing the power of diverse thinking to drive results requires the ability to lead teams of people with different backgrounds and create a sense of belonging where everyone can be at their best.

Problem Solving Skills

Helping clients solve tough problems and implement solutions requires strong intellectual abilities and rigor, as well as a practical sense of what works and what does not.

Interview Tips

Getting ready for your interviews

There is not just one way to be successful at McKinsey, nor is there just one way to interview with us. We think of interviewing as a two-way process—it helps us learn about you as a person and a potential colleague, and it helps you learn about McKinsey, our people, and what you could do here. Overall, we look for personal impact, entrepreneurial drive, inclusive leadership, and problem solving, and we recognize there is not just one way to acquire those skills.

During your interview, you will be asked to share examples from your personal experiences. Some interviewers may use the exact language below, while some may use their own words. Your answers to these questions will allow us to further understand your accomplishments and challenges and to discover skills that will enable you to thrive at McKinsey. We want you to share who you are beyond your résumé.

Personal impact
Explain a challenging situation you encountered when working with someone with an opposing opinion to yours.

Entrepreneurial drive
Talk about a time when you had to work to achieve something in a limited period of time that was outside your comfort zone.

Inclusive leadership
Share an example of an instance where you effectively worked with people with different backgrounds.

How to best prepare for your personal experience interview?
We suggest you prepare two personal examples that demonstrate your skills in the above areas. You should be able to speak at length about these examples, in a conversational style. We want you to share details about the challenges, goals, and actions you took to create change. Many find it helpful to practice aloud with family or friends.

Problem-solving
We will discuss a hypothetical client scenario with you. Our goal is to understand how you structure tough, ambiguous challenges, identify important issues, deal with the implications of facts and data, formulate conclusions and recommendations, and articulate your thoughts.

How to best prepare for the problem solving discussion?
We encourage you to use the sample cases below, which contain the logic, thought processes and recommended answers. Practicing cases will help you get comfortable with the type of questions asked, and boost your confidence.

In addition, take some time to watch the videos below which further describe the elements of our interview process and provide additional guidance on how to prepare.

This is your interview and we want you to be comfortable so you can perform at your best. If you need further clarification of our process or more details on the support we offer (i.e. workshops, case coaching), please do not hesitate to ask your recruiter. We very much look forward to getting to know you better.

Interviewing at McKinsey

Interviewing is a big deal but it’s not as intimidating as you might think. You’ve already impressed us with your application, so take this opportunity to make a personal connection. Get to know your interviewer, ask questions, and above all be yourself.

Solve, McKinsey’s assessment game

We created Solve, a game set in an abstracted, natural environment to help you demonstrate problem-solving skills in a more interesting way than a traditional question-and-answer format. No prior business or gaming knowledge needed.

Experience interview

We like to hear about your experiences—accomplishments and challenges alike—to discover skills that will enable you to thrive at McKinsey. Come prepared to discuss some important experiences in a detailed way, focusing on your specific role and describing the key actions that were critical to success.

Problem solving interview

We believe the best way to assess your problem-solving skills is to discuss a real client scenario with you. This helps us understand how you structure tough, ambiguous business challenges, identify important issues, deal with all the implications of facts and data, formulate conclusions and recommendations, and articulate your thoughts in a fast-moving discussion. Our sample interview cases will help you get familiar with the format and test your problem-solving skills. And we’ve supplied some of the logic and thought processes behind the answers to help you practice.

Expertise interview

Each role may require its own area of technical or domain expertise, and interviews are tailored to best evaluate your mastery of that domain. Your interview could include coding tests and project discussions with product engineers, portfolio reviews with other designers, or discussions about coaching and agile methodologies with our agile coaches. Your recruiter will explain what you can expect for your role and how best to prepare.

Parting words

Practice the case studies. Prepare with a friend. Then take a nice long run, meditate, or do anything that helps you feel calm, confident, and collected. If you feel nervous, remember: we think you have what it takes to join McKinsey. And we’re looking forward to meeting you.

Learn more

Podcast

Amy and Caro on the Personal Experience Interview at McKinsey

What does McKinsey’s Personal Experience Interview (PEI) entail? How does it differ from other types of interviews? Caro, a senior business analyst and Amy, a senior expert in assessment share answers these questions and more.
Blog Post

McKinsey Recruiting Update February 2021

As a follow-up to our McKinsey Recruiting – Fall 2020 blog, we caught up with Brian Rolfes, the partner in charge of global... recruiting for McKinsey, for the latest on summer internships, hiring, and much more.
Blog Post

Tarina’s tips for successful interviews

Practice, perspective, and a personal approach can help you get a job with McKinsey.
Blog Post

Make connections and relax during interviews

Supportive colleagues during Linh’s interviews and internship make her excited to rejoin
Blog Post

My experience with the McKinsey Problem Solving Game

Two recent hires share their perspectives on the McKinsey Problem Solving Game

Practice Cases

Beautify

Evaluating whether a global beauty products company should be training in-store beauty consultants in the effective use of virtual channels to connect with customers.

Shops Corporation

Improving internal diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for a US-based retail company.

Talbot Trucks

Determining whether to invest in the production and sale of electric trucks for one of Europe's leading truck manufacturers.

Diconsa

Assessing the use of the Diconsa network in Mexico to provide basic financial services offerings to the rural poor for the Gates Foundation.

Electro-Light

Designing a product launch of a new flavored sports drink with reduced sugar content to help replace electrolytes for a major beverage company.

Transforming a national education system

Diagnosing problems and assessing ways to improve and transform a country’s national education system.

Conservation Forever

Prioritizing large-scale biodiversity protection projects for Conservation Forever (CF) – a conservation NGO.

Tests

As part of your recruiting process, you may be asked to take a test, depending on the role for which you apply. Our tests focus on job-related knowledge or abilities, such as problem-solving or coding skills.

To test intrinsic problem-solving skills, we created Solve, which is a gamified assessment. No preparation is required or expected for this game.

For certain technical roles, you will be asked to complete a test focusing on your coding abilities. These tests include programming challenges to determine your fluency in your preferred coding language.

You will receive detailed information from your recruiter if the assessment process for your role requires a test.

Meaningful Work

Careers Blog

Read stories, examples, and tips from our newest hires and interviewers so you know what to expect and how to prepare for interviewing with McKinsey.

McKinsey Recruiting Podcast

The McKinsey Recruiting Podcast aims to inform listeners about who we are and what we do. Tune in to get an insider's view of McKinsey, hear us answer common questions, and get to know some of our colleagues.
Your Application

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